Via Publishers Weekly, “Hey Kiddo” author Jarrett J. Krosoczka has unveiled his second graphic memoir, “Sunshine,” due out next year. The book, published by Scholastic, takes place when Krosoczka was 17, while he was working at Camp Sunshine, a week-long camp for critically and terminally ill children. “You can read up to page 262 of ‘Hey, Kiddo,’ stop, read all of ‘Sunshine,’ then resume ‘Hey, Kiddo,’” Krosoczka told PW.
He elaborates in the interview that working at Camp Sunshine was “a crucial turning point” in his life, partly as it inspired him to consider writing for children. Despite the subject matter, Krosoczka stated “Sunshine” has a more optimistic tone than “Hey Kiddo,” explaining, “People often assume that working at a camp for kids with cancer is sad, but it was actually really inspiring. One of the themes in the book is how the mathematics of volunteerism never seem to work out because no matter how much you put in, you always get so much more out of it.”
The names and likenesses of many of those Krosoczka knew were changed for the book, although a few of the real campers have been included with their blessing, or that of their family. “Some of the kids featured are alive and some aren’t,” he said. “The family members who are bereaved have been moved by this story. Here we are 26 years later, and that kid is being remembered; it’s a powerful way to keep people alive in memories and hearts. It seems like such an oft-used phrase but there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about these kids.”