Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Jarrett J. Krosoczka's HEY, KIDDO Featured for One Book, One Region!

Courtesy of: The Day
Posted September 13, 2019

The 17th "One Book One Region Eastern Connecticut" initiative concludes with a Tuesday appearance at New London's Connecticut College by this year's honoree/author/artist Jarrett J. Krosoczka. He was selected for his graphic memoir "Hey, Kiddo — How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction."

One Book One Region Eastern Connecticut aims to unite citizens of all demographics to discuss ideas and society through books and literature. Previous selections and authors include Pete Hamill ("Snow in August)," Khaled Hosseini ("The Kite Runner"), Yaa Gyasi ("Homegoing"), David Benioff ("City of Thieves"), Tori McClure ("A Pearl in the Storm"), and Reyna Grande ("Across a Hundred Mountains").

Since "Hey, Kiddo" was introduced as this year's choice, dozens of libraries, schools, book clubs and social organizations have participated in discussing the work.

"Hey, Kiddo" is the beautifully and poignantly written and illustrated account — often humorous, frequently sad — of Krosoczka's childhood, when he was raised in Worcester, Mass., by his grandparents while his mother struggled with heroin addiction. For years, all the young man knew, though, was that his mom was an affectionate but very infrequent presence in his life. Instead, his grandparents, who had several grown children of their own, provided love, comfort and support — albeit in a distinctively "old school" fashion typical of their own upbringing during the hard times of the Depression.

Krosoczka also had no idea who is father was for years. As "Hey, Kiddo" develops, the author uses flashback revelations to provide answers and context — a particularly effective way of conveying his own confusion and an ongoing sense of vague unease despite the security and reliability found through his grandparents, their home and the relationships with his aunts and uncles.

The most important development in his childhood was a fascination with and dedication to the craft of drawing. While certainly accepted in the school environment, Krosoczka's exploration of art, and the encouragement of his teachers and family, provided a life-force of creativity and expression that ultimately resulted in an enormously successful career.

Krosoczka was a well-established author illustrator of children's books and a husband and father of two young children when he finally decided to write "Hey, Kiddo." He's published more than 30 books including his Lunch Lady graphic novels. He's a two-time winner of the Children's Choice Book Awards Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year and has been a finalist for the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Award and National Book Awards 2018 for Young People's Literature. Krosoczka lives with his family in western Massachusetts and, earlier this week by email, answered a few questions about "Hey, Kiddo," his career, and the One Book One Region honor. Answers have been edited for clarity and space.

Read Jarrett’s Q&A with Rick Koster here!

HEY, KIDDO wins the NAIBA Carla Cohen Free Speech Award!

Courtesy of NAIBA
Posted Aug 8, 2019

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Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s ground-breaking graphic memoir wins another huge honor - the NAIBA Carla Cohen Free Speech Award! The idea for this award came from a desire to not only honor an amazing bookseller and past president of NAIBA, but to honor Carla as would be most fitting.

The NCCFSA will be awarded to a children's book, as awareness of constitutional rights needs to begin at the beginning of true consciousness. Educating children about their rights by putting the books into their hands that will allow them to question, imagine, and dream is essential to the survival of independent bookstores and dare we say, humanity.

Independent bookstores are the places where freedom of speech and anti-censorship are integrated into everything we do. We are spaces where difference-of ideas, sexuality, spirit, politics, and philosophy-is embraced and not feared. Politics and Prose has been exactly this kind of place for the past 27 years. Independent bookstores are essential to their communities and hence to a truly democratic nation. The survival of our bookstores relies on children becoming informed and engaged in our midsts. Only through the nurturing of this future community will we ensure having a customer base on which to rely.

Congrats, Jarrett!

A|U Monthly Muse - July 2019 (Reading with Kids)

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July 2019: Reading with Kids

Summer has officially arrived. The end of school brings wide open days to kids of all ages, days that seem to stretch longer than usual. Whether your children’s days are filled with camps or vacations, sports or sleepovers, summer jobs or family time, longer days mean extra hours for reading. From picture books to young adult graphic novels, this month’s featured writers bring humor and tenderness to topics serious and light. These award-winning and nationally-renowned authors serve up stories that have the power to instill a lifelong love of reading… and we don’t have to tell—you who likely have fond memories of spending July afternoons in the shade of a leafed out tree—what a wonderful gift this is.

2019 Indies Choice Book Award Winners Announced!

Courtesy of BookWeb
Posted May 1, 2019

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Today, the American Booksellers Association announces the winners of the 2019 Indies Choice Book Awards and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards, as voted on by independent booksellers nationwide.

Earning yet another accolade is our very own Madeline Miller, and her breath-taking novel, Circe, which was named the Adult Fiction Book of the Year - and the Audiobook of the year!

Also recognized this year:

Thrity Umrigar for The Secrets Between Us - Audiobook Honor
Jarrett J. Krosoczka for Hey, Kiddo - Young Adult Honor Book

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San Luis Obispo Libraries Announce Book to Action - HEY, KIDDO!

Courtesy of New Times SLO
Posted Feb 28, 2019

Hey Kiddo, a graphic memoir by author Jarrett J. Krosoczka, has been selected as the 2019 Book to Action pick by the County of San Luis Obispo Public Libraries. The book, a National Book Award finalist, illustrates Krosoczka's childhood growing up in a family grappling with his mother's heroin addiction. The book is intended for young adults and also recounts how an art class and a sketchbook brought much-needed positivity to Krosoczka's life.

"This book breaks your heart and cracks you up," Erica Thatcher, a collection development coordinating librarian, said in a press release. "It's such a timely topic. We think it will resonate with both teens and adults."

Thanks to funding from Friends of the Atascadero Library, SLO Friends of the Library, and the California Center for the Book in Los Angeles, Krosoczka will host presentations for students at Atascadero High School, SLO High School, and the SLO County Juvenile Hall. A book signing and discussion, open to the public, takes place on Wednesday, April 10, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the SLO Library.

Hey Kiddo is available at SLO County libraries for checkout. A book club kit is available as well. Visit slolibrary.org for more information.

HEY, KIDDO a Finalist for YALSA Award for Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction!

Courtesy of Young Adult Library Services Association
Posted Dec 12, 2018

Congrats to Jarrett J. Krosoczka, who’s powerful graphic memoir Hey, Kiddo has just been named a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults!

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A raw graphic memoir, author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka depicts his complex upbringing - including a search for his father, difficult interactions with his heroin-addicted mother, and day-to-day life with his grandparents. Illustrations–ample in gray, burnt orange, and earth tones–conjure the feeling of vague memories.

We’re working on Jarrett’s Fall 2019 Speaking schedule now (filling quickly), so if you’re interested in hosting him for an event, get in touch with us right away!

The Story of Grit and Determination Young People Need to Hear - HEY KIDDO

Courtesy of Baird Middle School
Posted November 4, 2018

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In partnership with Ludlow CARES Coalition, Baird Middle School kicked off Red Ribbon Week this year with an author’s visit by New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka. During his talk Krosoczka spoke to students about his latest graphic novel, Hey, Kiddo; a  memoir about being raised by his grandparents and growing up in a family dealing with addiction.  He reflected on his childhood and adolescence, as well as sharing how art has kept him engaged and motivated throughout his life.

“Addiction crosses all boundaries -- gender, race and socioeconomic status,” said Krosoczka as he spoke to the audience. “Addiction affects students, parents, family members and friends of all ages. My hope in writing this book, Hey, Kiddo, was to help readers better understand how addiction affects all of us, and to provide an example of how to persist through difficult times by focusing on personal interests and talents.”

Like an estimated eight million children in the United States, Krosoczka  told the audience that he too is the child of a parent who struggled with addiction; first speaking publicly about his mother's addiction to heroin, and being raised by his grandparents, in a widely shared 2012 TED Talk (How a boy bcame an artist).

I feel incredibly fortunate that we were able to have a nationally renowned author like Jarrett Krosoczka share his inspiring story to all of our students and staff. His story is one our middle school students need to hear- how grit and determination helped him succeed, in spite of a complex childhood.
— Stacy Monette - BMS Principal

Krosoczka is a two-time winner of the Children's Choice Book Award, an Eisner award nominee, and the author/illustrator of more than 30 books for young readers. He is best known for his Lunch Lady series and his picture books, including Punk Farm, and Star Wars Jedi Academy books.

He was also very proud to share with the audience that, Hey Kiddo, has been selected as one of the five finalists for the 2018 National Book Awards for Young People's Literature. The winner will be announced on November 14 at the 69th National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

Sprinkled throughout his presentation Krosoczka shared personal family photos and videos, played music from his youth, showed clips from his TED Talk, read excerpts from his book, and shared both difficult and rewarding experiences from his childhood with his “not so perfect” family. His conversation was impactful and inspiring on a multitude of levels. Keep reading…

A|U Monthly Muse - November 2018 (Books for Young People)

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November 2018: Books For Young People

With Thanksgiving break right around the corner, it's a great time to gather books for kids to read while off from school. We've got three amazing authors to suggest this month, who's books not only entertain, but provide inspiration, teachable moments, and important topics for further discussion around the dinner table.  It's a great time to schedule Spring 2019 school visits - be in touch with us soon to arrange an event!

What's Appropriate for Kids to Read? National Book Award Finalist Jarrett J. Krosoczka Weighs In...

Courtesy of The Washington Post
Posted October 26, 2018
Written by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author of National Book Award for Young People Finalist  Hey, Kiddo

Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author of National Book Award for Young People Finalist Hey, Kiddo

There are books for young people that hold difficult truths, and we gatekeepers — writers, parents, teachers, librarians — often find ourselves trying to sort out just what is appropriate for our kids to read about. When I was writing and illustrating “Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction,” a graphic memoir aimed at readers 12 and up, I didn’t pull any punches because of one simple realization: There are difficult truths in our books because there are difficult truths in children’s lives.

For me to write this harrowing tale of my upbringing, I needed to write openly and authentically so young people dealing with similar situations would feel less alone. This included some tough scenes dealing with my mother’s opioid addiction and some less tough scenes involving my grandmother’s salty language. To offer up a watered-down account of how addiction affected me as a young person would have been disingenuous. There are, according to the two recent National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 8.7 million children ages 17 or younger in the United States who live in a household where at least one parent has a substance-use disorder — involving drugs, alcohol or both. Those young people deserve to be seen.

I told my story from the perspective of my 17-year-old self because that is an incredibly interesting time for a person — that moment you’re about to be launched into the world on your own, just as you’re trying to sort out who you are. There are some facts that I learned about my mother in my adult life that I didn’t give to my teenage narrator — not because it would have upset the reader but because it would have dramatically altered the narrator’s relationship with his mother, thereby steering the memoir away from actual events. Read more!

HEY KIDDO Aims to Help Kids With Addicted Parents Feel Less Alone

Courtesy of NPR, Fresh Air with Terry Gross
Posted October 16, 2018

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When author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka was in the fourth grade, his grandparents called him into the living room. "I remember thinking: Oh maybe we're going to go on another family vacation," he says. (The last time they called a family meeting he learned they were going to Disney World.)

But this wasn't that kind of family meeting. Krosoczka's grandparents had insisted on taking legal custody of him as a toddler — and they were about to tell him why.

"My grandfather sat me down on the couch," Krosoczka recalls. "And he said: 'It's time we tell you the truth about your mother. She's in jail and she's a drug addict and that's why she's been gone all this time.' "

Krosoczka had seen his mother only sporadically since age 2. He had never met his father.

Throughout his childhood, Krosoczka kept this painful information hidden. "I didn't tell anybody for the longest time ..." he says. "When you have these addictions in your families, you sort of live this duality. You have this thing that you hold back from people and you put your best face forward." Read more and listen to Terry Gross’s interview with Jarrett!

HEY KIDDO - Jarrett J. Krosoczka's YA Graphic Novel Takes a Personal Look at the Opioid Crisis

Courtesy of The New York Times
Posted Oct 5, 2018

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The popular author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka has explored a lot of terrain in his inventive stories for young readers. There’s “Punk Farm” where the livestock has hidden musical talents and the school where the “Lunch Lady” serves sloppy joe’s and justice. But with his latest book, a graphic memoir, Mr. Krosoczka, 40, has mined his childhood to tell a story that is very much relevant today amid the opioid epidemic plaguing the country.

“Hey, Kiddo,” which arrives in stores on Oct. 9, (Today!) is about being raised by his grandparents in Worcester, Mass., because Mr. Krosoczka (pronounced crow-sauce-KAH) did not know his father, and his mother was battling a heroin addiction that eventually claimed her life. It is a story that the author has seen resonate with audiences at schools around the country. “There are so many kids out there whose parents do terrible things,” he said during a telephone interview while on a family vacation away from their home in western Massachusetts. “It’s important for kids to know that it doesn’t make them a bad person.”

The book, published by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic, is aimed at a young adult audience and may sound like heavy reading, but the story is a true reflection of the seesaw of life: There are moments of hardship and conflict, but also scenes of joy. Keep Reading…