Books: Q&A with local author Jarrett Dapier

Evanston author Jarrett Dapier, with some of his books. Credit: Submitted

Evanston resident Jarrett Dapier is an author, librarian, and lifelong drummer. His debut picture book, Jazz for Lunch!, illustrated by Eugenia Mello, published by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, received a starred review in Kirkus Reviews.

Dapier’s second picture book, Mr. Watson’s Chickensillustrated by Andrea Tsurumi, received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and was chosen by NPR and Bookpage as one of the best books of 2021. His third picture book, The Most Haunted House in Americaa goofy, ghostly, rhythmic romp based on his experience drumming at the White House in 2009, is illustrated by Lee Gatlin and is out now from Abrams Kids.

Wake Now in the FireDapier’s debut young adult graphic novel, is about student resistance to book censorship in Chicago Public Schools and will be published by Chronicle Books in 2023.

Please give us your cocktail-party description of your books:

Mr. Watson’s Chickens is the story of two men who have way too many chickens that cause a whole lot of chaos and silly antics in their house. When it all becomes too much, they have to figure out what to do with them, but before they can, the chickens escape and they have to find them all (with a little help from the reader).

Jazz For Lunch is the story of a boy whose Auntie introduces him to cooking and jazz. They spend a long afternoon together inventing new dishes and desserts and naming them after famous jazz greats. A surprise ending gets the reader dancing.

The Most Haunted House In America is the story of three skeleton drummers who played the drums at First Lady Obama’s Halloween celebration at the White House. When they go inside and take a wrong turn, they run afoul of a real ghost party and learn just how haunted the White House actually is.

All three books are beautifully and comedically illustrated by three different up-and-coming talents in the children’s book illustration world and emphasize the joys of music, community, and togetherness.

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