Mesa Student’s Illustration Featured In ‘Jeremy Jackrabbit’
October 8, 2018
By Connor Dziawura
Attorneys Rodney and Sasha Glassman are back with a new installment in their ongoing Jeremy Jackrabbit children’s book series.
As was the case with previous installments, Jeremy Jackrabbit Hops on Board includes illustrations from children throughout the Valley as the book discusses public transportation. Las Sendas Elementary second grader Tucker Smith was chosen.
Why is Smith, 7, excited to have a drawing featured in Jeremy Jackrabbit Hops on Board? “I get to share my talent” is his succinct answer.
Smith contributed illustration No. 1, which kicks off the book with titular character Jeremy Jackrabbit in the desert. Students like Smith earned a spot in the book through an illustration contest. The drawings were done two years ago.
The Glassmans’ new book is the sixth installment in the series, which began in 2010. Every kindergartener in Maricopa County will receive a free copy.
The Glassmans raise over $100,000 per book to cover the cost of producing copies. Sponsors include ASU Gammage, local philanthropist John O. Whiteman, UFCW Local 99, the cities of Tempe and Phoenix, Valley Metro and the Arizona Coyotes, who recently hosted a launch event for the book at Gila River Arena.
Over 40,000 copies of the new book are being produced and distributed. Aside from freely distributed copies, all six installments of the Jeremy Jackrabbit series can be read online for free.
“We don’t sell it. We give them away,” said co-author Rodney Glassman. “We distribute it digitally at our website, jeremyjackrabbit.com, where if you have an iPad, you can read it on the iPad.
“If a school that didn’t receive the books – because they’re outside of Maricopa County – is interested, we usually have enough left over that we’ll just provide them to them for free as well.”
The series amounts to 250,000 donated books, Glassman said. As with past installments, the subject matter is important. Past books have covered recycling, harnessing the sun’s rays and harvesting rain, while Jeremy Jackrabbit Hops on Board’s transportation themes tie in well with Valley Metro’s involvement.
“It’s about connectivity,” explained Scott Smith, Valley Metro CEO. “It’s about being a good citizen and understanding that you can have it all. You can go anywhere, you can be good for the environment and yet you can be part of the community. That’s what it’s all about.”
Except for Jeremy Jackrabbit Harvests the Rain, each book tells its story in English and Spanish.
As far as the illustration contest, Glassman said around 1,000 entries were submitted. Fifty-seven students made it into the book. He takes care of raising the funds, while his wife leads the illustration contest.
Smith, who said he previously took art classes, enjoys drawing due to its allowance of him to flex his creative mind. When asked if he wants to be an artist, he gives a meek yes.
The launch event featured an autograph signing from Smith and various other child participants. Celebrities, like Johnjay Van Es and Shane Doan, read portions of the book via video.
“I think the coolest thing about this book, project, is that Sasha and I, my wife, we want to give away free books so that every child in Maricopa (County) has a book at home,” Glassman said.