This week, award-winning illustrator and author Jarrett Lerner visited Lake Tahoe School for some very special time sharing his creativity, his experiences, and his heart with our students in a series of presentations throughout the school day.

Our 4th through 8th grade classes have been reading Jarrett’s graphic novel, A Work In Progress – an amazing and eye-opening story about a child’s journey to self-acceptance. Jarrett spoke with 4th and 5th graders about the book being based on his own experience, and wrapped up student presentations with a powerful and honest talk with middle school students about the importance of self-love, kindness, and being a friend.

For the lower grades, Jarrett prepared interactive presentations. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students joined him in creating a comic panel where they chose the character and the story. Then, our kindergarteners were in for a treat when Jarrett did a read aloud of one of his ready-to-read books, “Nat the Cat Takes a Bath.” He then taught them how anyone can draw with three simple skills: shapes, lines, and letters!

In the evening, Jarrett gave a free community presentation in our Bobcat Treehouse Library Media Center where he engaged parents in a discussion about how graphic novels contribute to literacy. In a world where children are inundated with visual stimulation, graphic novels allow kids to use their imagination in a different way. While books without pictures tell a story that allows visual imagination, graphic novels give the opportunity to fill in the “gutters” with information using critical thinking, observation, and discernment.

Our librarian, Aly Nugent, says, “The students were so engaged and excited, and [Jarrett] did a phenomenal job of inspiring all of our learners and educators.” We are grateful to Jarrett for giving our students the confidence to read, write, and draw, as well as equipping our families with an understanding of and confidence in their children’s literary journeys!