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Hey, Kiddo

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Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn't know his father's name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddo traces Krosoczka's search for his father, his difficult interacti Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn't know his father's name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddo traces Krosoczka's search for his father, his difficult interactions with his mother, his day-to-day life with his grandparents, and his path to becoming an artist. To date, nearly one million people have viewed Krosoczka's TED Talk about his experience. Artwork from his childhood and teen years will be incorporated into the original illustrations for the book.


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Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn't know his father's name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddo traces Krosoczka's search for his father, his difficult interacti Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn't know his father's name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddo traces Krosoczka's search for his father, his difficult interactions with his mother, his day-to-day life with his grandparents, and his path to becoming an artist. To date, nearly one million people have viewed Krosoczka's TED Talk about his experience. Artwork from his childhood and teen years will be incorporated into the original illustrations for the book.

30 review for Hey, Kiddo

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lola

    I only realized I have read this author before (five times, actually) when I read the author’s note and realized that he’s the creator of Lunch Lady. No wonder I didn’t figure it out. This is not humorous, or light, or action-packed like Lunch Lady is. Because this is a memoir—the author’s. And a very honest one at that. It’s never easy to share your truth with the world, because what if your words are not well-received, what if you’re judged, what if you didn’t carry your message across? But it’s I only realized I have read this author before (five times, actually) when I read the author’s note and realized that he’s the creator of Lunch Lady. No wonder I didn’t figure it out. This is not humorous, or light, or action-packed like Lunch Lady is. Because this is a memoir—the author’s. And a very honest one at that. It’s never easy to share your truth with the world, because what if your words are not well-received, what if you’re judged, what if you didn’t carry your message across? But it’s still important you try. I’m glad this author tried, despite his initial reluctance. He mentioned becoming motivated to create this graphic novel after giving a TED talk and receiving an overwhelmingly positive response, and I’m so glad he did. In this book, we follow Jarrett from childhood to adolescence to graduating high school. We see him interact with his mother, who was a heroin addict, his grandparents, who raised him after witnesses their daughter’s decline into darkness, and later on his father. It’s not an easy story to read, definitely darker than most YA graphic memoirs that get published. Actually, graphic memoirs to begin with aren’t very popular, but those that I have read were nothing like this. I’m not trying to say it’s a depressive story. On the contrary, it is hopeful, family-focused, and will motivate you to do everything possible to accomplish your own dreams. But the child neglect, of course, affected me. The author wrote this book in hope that readers will be able to understand and perhaps connect. I say he has achieved his goal. I can’t wait for this book to come out and see it skyrocket to NYT bestselling status. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  2. 4 out of 5

    Malia

    Despite this being a graphic novel, Hey, Kiddo is not an easy or light read by any means. It tells a moving, sad, but also hopeful story of a family affected by addiction and loss. I had not known about this author before, as I don't read many graphic novels, but I would be curious to read his other work as well. This book was excellent, definitely among the best I've read this year. It's a memoir, and the author doesn't shy away from complex issues and being critical of himself and people he lo Despite this being a graphic novel, Hey, Kiddo is not an easy or light read by any means. It tells a moving, sad, but also hopeful story of a family affected by addiction and loss. I had not known about this author before, as I don't read many graphic novels, but I would be curious to read his other work as well. This book was excellent, definitely among the best I've read this year. It's a memoir, and the author doesn't shy away from complex issues and being critical of himself and people he loves. I would absolutely recommend this. Don't be put off by the medium if, like me, you don't often read a graphic novel, it's well worthwhile! Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Reads Ravenously

    4.5 stars! What a wonderful memoir! I honestly cannot remember what made me request this graphic novel from the library, it is so not my normal reading zone. But I am very glad I did. Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the kids graphic novel series Lunch Lady, tells the story of his childhood and teenage years. His mother's addiction and father's absence had an impact on his life, but not as profound as the grandparents who stepped up and raised him. This was unputdownable, I finished it within a few h 4.5 stars! What a wonderful memoir! I honestly cannot remember what made me request this graphic novel from the library, it is so not my normal reading zone. But I am very glad I did. Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the kids graphic novel series Lunch Lady, tells the story of his childhood and teenage years. His mother's addiction and father's absence had an impact on his life, but not as profound as the grandparents who stepped up and raised him. This was unputdownable, I finished it within a few hours. My favorite parts of the book were his grandmother who seemed to be a complex and lively woman who didn't always make the best choices, but she loved fiercely. I think this is a great book for teens to read to understand kids with this background. It's also a story too many kids are living themselves. Follow me on ♥ Facebook ♥ Blog ♥ Instagram ♥ Twitter ♥

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cassie Thomas

    I understand that when others read this book they may only focus on the fact that there is so much darkness, but from someone who experienced similar circumstances as a child and into adulthood - there was brightness in the fact that grandparents raised us, but the negative light that shone of biological parents was just that, negative. As someone who could relate to a lot of scenes in Hey, Kiddo, I am thankful to know that my experiences are who shaped me, just like Jarrett, I'm also thankful t I understand that when others read this book they may only focus on the fact that there is so much darkness, but from someone who experienced similar circumstances as a child and into adulthood - there was brightness in the fact that grandparents raised us, but the negative light that shone of biological parents was just that, negative. As someone who could relate to a lot of scenes in Hey, Kiddo, I am thankful to know that my experiences are who shaped me, just like Jarrett, I'm also thankful to know that the emotions I felt/feel are completely justified and "normal". There will be teenagers and adults who will NEED this book and there will be others who don't understand, and that's OK. It doesn't take away from the fact that Jarrett shared what shaped him in a beautiful memoir for others to read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brooke — brooklynnnnereads

    This graphic novel came out of left field and hit me, it hit me hard. Prior to receiving this to review, I had not heard anything regarding this graphic novel so although it was a happy surprise, I was somewhat apprehensive. I had my own preconceptions of reading a non-fiction graphic novel and now after reading this story.....I actually want to read more! As for this specific graphic novel, I was absolutely captivated from start to finish. It was an amazingly raw and real story that I read thro This graphic novel came out of left field and hit me, it hit me hard. Prior to receiving this to review, I had not heard anything regarding this graphic novel so although it was a happy surprise, I was somewhat apprehensive. I had my own preconceptions of reading a non-fiction graphic novel and now after reading this story.....I actually want to read more! As for this specific graphic novel, I was absolutely captivated from start to finish. It was an amazingly raw and real story that I read through in one sitting. That may not seem like much of a feat as it is a graphic novel but this one definitely had some substance to it (in depth and in page length). Even though I had a totally opposite childhood and upbringing, this story had me feeling all of the nostalgia of youth which brought me back to memories of my own to reflect on. This alone was worth the read because I often can get caught up in the stresses of current daily life and not take a moment to reflect on happy memories from long ago. Everything about this graphic novel was thought out and meaningful. Although the illustrations were beautifully simplistic, there was still huge significance with the burnt orange undertones. The explanation of those burnt orange undertones broke my heart, but in the best way possible. Additionally, the mixed media used within this graphic novel was fantastically done! Jarrett, you speak to my memory-hoarding heart of keeping cards, letters, and anything physical that could be deemed a memory. I loved the inclusion of these to this story because it made it even more real, raw, authentic, and beautiful. Most mentionable, is the importance of this graphic novel. Unfortunately, I think this story may be a similar story for many children out there. I wish that wasn't true but it is the world that we live in. This story is not only inspiring and motivational for those going through similar circumstances currently but it's also a very important read for adults that also have been through these circumstances in their past. It's a graphic novel that is so necessary because it will make others feel less alone in their own struggles. I definitely will be looking for more in the future by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, whether it be fictional or non-fictional. He's truly talented in both the arts of illustration and writing. ***Thank you to Scholastic Canada for sending me an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review***

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jen Petro-Roy

    Utterly phenomenal. Krosoczka takes his talent to a whole new and utterly personal level.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    After just a few pages of this book, I wanted to find Jarrett Krosoczka and hug him. Just . . . hug him for a minute. I met him, got my book signed, he was so nice! And handsome, and well dressed! And I was like, Hey, what a great guy! Love those New Jedi Academy books! But now, having read this raw and wonderful memoir of his childhood . . . I just want to hug him. This book is every bit as amazing as you've heard. I want it to win all the awards, because I want everyone to read it. I want it t After just a few pages of this book, I wanted to find Jarrett Krosoczka and hug him. Just . . . hug him for a minute. I met him, got my book signed, he was so nice! And handsome, and well dressed! And I was like, Hey, what a great guy! Love those New Jedi Academy books! But now, having read this raw and wonderful memoir of his childhood . . . I just want to hug him. This book is every bit as amazing as you've heard. I want it to win all the awards, because I want everyone to read it. I want it to be assigned to students. This is the perfect marriage of words and pictures, in addition to being such an engrossing story. I'm just so glad that Jarrett had his grandparents, his extended family to love him. I'm so glad that he has a wife and kids of his own now. I just think he deserves all the hugs, okay?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    A tender story of how families can come in all kinds of shapes. I have to say, Jarrett is more generous to some of his family members than I ever could be in his situation.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Hey, Kiddo is an amazing graphic memoir. I saw it listed as a finalist for the National Book Award, and I was drawn to Jarrett's story of his dysfunctional family. Jarrett was raised by his maternal grandparents because his mother was a heroin addict. His mother, Leslie, was mostly absent from his life, occasionally showing up mysteriously for one day, and then disappearing again. Jarrett liked to draw, and as he grew older, art became a refuge for him, a way to try and understand things. When I Hey, Kiddo is an amazing graphic memoir. I saw it listed as a finalist for the National Book Award, and I was drawn to Jarrett's story of his dysfunctional family. Jarrett was raised by his maternal grandparents because his mother was a heroin addict. His mother, Leslie, was mostly absent from his life, occasionally showing up mysteriously for one day, and then disappearing again. Jarrett liked to draw, and as he grew older, art became a refuge for him, a way to try and understand things. When I was a kid, I'd draw to get attention from my family. In junior high, I drew to impress my friends. But now that I am in my teens, I fill sketchbooks just to deal with life. To survive. This book is beautiful and moving and inspirational. The sincerity of Jarrett's work shines through every page; in the Acknowledgments, he mentions that this is his "dream book," one that was years in the making. The book includes snippets of letters he exchanged with his mother, and recreations of photos and earlier drawings. I had an incredible emotional experience reading it. Highly recommended for anyone who appreciates graphic memoirs. Meaningful Quotes [from the dedication] "For every reader who recognizes this experience. I see you." "With my comics, I was in charge of what happened. I could escape fully into these worlds that I created. But the real world, it kept coming for me, and I controlled none of it." "Well, I hate to tell ya, kid. The world is filled with assholes. And you know what? Sometimes, when you talk to assholes, you get shit on. Just try to focus on the good aspects." "I was raised to always say 'I love you' before leaving the house. It was something my grandfather had done with his parents and he instilled it in me. Because (he said) you never know when you're going to see your loved ones again." [from the Author's Note] "When you're a kid and a teen, you're not in control of your circumstances. But the beautiful thing about growing up is that you get to create your own reality and your own family. That family might be a group of tight-knit friends, that family might be a spouse and children of your own. But ultimately, your childhood realities do not have to perpetuate themselves into adulthood, not if you don't let them. It for sure takes work." "It is said that books save lives, but I also say that empty sketchbooks save lives too. I filled up many, and there is no doubt they saved mine."

  10. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    I read this 300 page graphic memoir in one sitting. It's a fairly straightforward and simply sketched--which is to say intimate--tale of a boy growing up without a father and mostly without his mother, who was a heroin addict. He was raised by his grandparents, Joe and Shirley, who come to life as stiff drinkers, chain smokers, profane and loving, sacrificing what might have been their retirement and after raising a number of kids of their own to raise "Ja." They helped Jarrett survive, but so d I read this 300 page graphic memoir in one sitting. It's a fairly straightforward and simply sketched--which is to say intimate--tale of a boy growing up without a father and mostly without his mother, who was a heroin addict. He was raised by his grandparents, Joe and Shirley, who come to life as stiff drinkers, chain smokers, profane and loving, sacrificing what might have been their retirement and after raising a number of kids of their own to raise "Ja." They helped Jarrett survive, but so did art. We know Krosoczka's work in this house and a million others through his children's graphic novel series Lunch Lady. And he's done other popular works, a middle school level series, but this is the most important work--The Work--he has accomplished so far. It's honest--sometimes brutally so--but never sentimental as mom fails to show for key event after another in his life. Missing graduation after promising to be there seems to stay with him as hurting a lot. But after a life of growing up, Krosoczka conies to intermittently connect with his mother, who does in fact love him, and he finally makes contact with his (birth) father. And makes his dream life of an artist, though in his afterword he makes it clear that making a stable life for his family, given his own abandonment, is his most important accomplishment. I loved his author's note telling of his life after college, and what happened to his mother and grandparents, and so on, and his careful story for artists about how the book got done. As to the art, I like how he uses some actual letters from his mom, and actual artwork he did when growing up. I rate this book somewhere between 4-4.5, but then I listened to the TED talk and in tears, I bump up that ol' rating. I encourage everyone to read it. Krosoczka was inducted into the Holy Name Central Catholic High School's Hall of Fame, where he was cartoonist for the school newspaper, and where the mural he was commissioned to do Light Switch Napoleon, still hangs (he worked it out so the light switch is also Napoleon's zipper). Here is Krosoczka's TED talk, seen by more than a million viewers: https://www.ted.com/talks/jarrett_j_k...

  11. 5 out of 5

    OliviaK_C2

    Imagine what life would be like if you grew up not knowing who your father is. Imagine what life would be like if you grew up not knowing where your mother is. Imagine what life would be like being raised up by grandparents who couldn't care less about you. Jarrett J. Krosoczka expressed how hard and grueling life was for him as a child through this amazingly written and drawn graphic novel. In this book, it described how he lost his mother, found his father and dealt with family addiction. Conf Imagine what life would be like if you grew up not knowing who your father is. Imagine what life would be like if you grew up not knowing where your mother is. Imagine what life would be like being raised up by grandparents who couldn't care less about you. Jarrett J. Krosoczka expressed how hard and grueling life was for him as a child through this amazingly written and drawn graphic novel. In this book, it described how he lost his mother, found his father and dealt with family addiction. Confusion. Scared. Lost. When I read this book, I couldn't help but feel sorry for Jarrett, and admire how he handled with the whole situation. This book showed me how tough life can be for other children. Handling things like this can't be easy. Overall, this Graphic Novel taught us that sometimes, the truth can be hard to handle, but the only way to get through these dark times, is to not give up and make the best of everything around you.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    Heartwarming (hold the cinnamon sticks) fare to finish on the Eve. Yeah, some dark issues to grow up with, having a mom with a drug addiction and an absent father, but the grandparents, Joe and Shirl, steal the show. Shirley is especially hysterical, even if she does smoke and drink too much. Which, oddly, sends me back. When I was a kid growing up like Jarrett, most every parent smoke and drank too much. But they worked hard, too, most of them. And knew right from wrong. And loved you without sm Heartwarming (hold the cinnamon sticks) fare to finish on the Eve. Yeah, some dark issues to grow up with, having a mom with a drug addiction and an absent father, but the grandparents, Joe and Shirl, steal the show. Shirley is especially hysterical, even if she does smoke and drink too much. Which, oddly, sends me back. When I was a kid growing up like Jarrett, most every parent smoke and drank too much. But they worked hard, too, most of them. And knew right from wrong. And loved you without smothering you with all that 21st century chopper-wing wind. In that sense, nostalgia, too. Great story, enjoyable art. If you don't feel like reading the book, you can get the gist from Jarrett's TED talk. Just Duckduckgo his name along with TED Talk and pull up a seat for 18 minutes. Worcester pride, baby! Worcester pride!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    This graphic memoir is an absolute must read. It isn't an easy read, but it's worth the time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Noe

    I received an advance copy of this at ALA 2018. Hey, Kiddo is an incredibly timely comic about a addiction, family, and resilience. Drawn in an almost hazy style with purposeful use of burnt colors, the artwork makes you FEEL the story rather than reading-from-above. Jarrett is honest - at times unflatteringly so - and that honesty gives weight to the story, even if in the moment it might feel too much. If no one else takes it up, I may write a more in-depth review for graphic medicine. But for n I received an advance copy of this at ALA 2018. Hey, Kiddo is an incredibly timely comic about a addiction, family, and resilience. Drawn in an almost hazy style with purposeful use of burnt colors, the artwork makes you FEEL the story rather than reading-from-above. Jarrett is honest - at times unflatteringly so - and that honesty gives weight to the story, even if in the moment it might feel too much. If no one else takes it up, I may write a more in-depth review for graphic medicine. But for now, I have two claims to make. First, this is going to be one of my picks of the year for the field. Few comics targeted to young adults are this honest and open about addiction. And as the "opioid crisis" and long overdue national attention kn addiction ramps up, we need honest stories. There's already enough fearmongering, misinformstion, and downright ill-will toward addiction. Maybe stories like Hey, Kiddo can bring some humanity back into the conversation. I hope. Second, because the comic doesn't shy away from drug use, teenage misadventures, and includes cursing, I'm expecting this book will face serious challenges from parents who think kids should be sheltered. I hope I'm wrong but given how much more appealing a banned book becomes maybe I want to be right - then it's sure to be read. Full disclosure: I live in Worcester and seeing the place depicted in comics positively is certainly making me enjoy this even more.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carol Tilley

    Most definitely deserving of the praise it's receiving.

  16. 4 out of 5

    MissFabularian

    ....gutted me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    DaNae

    Did you ever finish a book and immediately want to hand it to everyone you know? This year, it's this one. Jarrett's story is disquieting, genuine, and ultimately so full of hope my heart beat right out of my chest. This acknowledges that childhood is hard and ordinary. That families are important and toxic. That everyone is a factor of their biology but not the summation.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    This was wonderful graphic novel memoir. Complex characterizations. Gorgeous art. Striking colors. All around a great package. The author's use of materials saved from though out his life added tremendously to the authenticity of the narrative. Even the use of his grandmother's wallpaper as background for the chapter headings helped evoke the feelings and sensations that were being evoked. I cannot praise this book enough. Beautiful. Touching. Powerful. This is definitely a Rickommendation.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    If you find a puddle on the floor, don’t step on it because it’s me after finishing this story. When I went to the Scholastic Graphix party at SDCC, everyone was talking about Hey, Kiddo, the graphic novel memoir from a well-loved graphic novelist. I’m a fan of telling personal stories in this medium, because the art just adds a layer of depth that you wouldn’t get otherwise, especially when the storyteller is also the artist. Honestly, if I had to tell you my favorite part of this book, it would If you find a puddle on the floor, don’t step on it because it’s me after finishing this story. When I went to the Scholastic Graphix party at SDCC, everyone was talking about Hey, Kiddo, the graphic novel memoir from a well-loved graphic novelist. I’m a fan of telling personal stories in this medium, because the art just adds a layer of depth that you wouldn’t get otherwise, especially when the storyteller is also the artist. Honestly, if I had to tell you my favorite part of this book, it would be the author’s note and note about the art. These pages give us closure and insight into Krosoczka’s process, something I am always interested in learning about. It’s easy to get caught up in the sorrowful pieces of Krosoczka’s life, with addiction and family dynamics at the center. Throughout the story, I found hope and a sense of love and support, even when things were tough. Adults who encouraged young Jarrett. Friends who stuck around for the long term. Grandparents who provided stability. I loved the inclusion of real life drawings from young-Jarrett’s past. Hey, Kiddo is a book that could open old wounds for those of us with family addiction in our past but I left feeling rekindled and reminded that through the bad, there is good. The message of hope and resilience is strong. I hope everyone finds room in their heart and libraries for this book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    A few years ago, children's author Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Punk Farm picture books; Lunch Lady graphic novels) did a TED talk with 4 hours' notice, about his unusual upbringing: "How a Boy Became an Artist" (https://www.ted.com/talks/jarrett_j_k...) This book is the graphic novel memoir of that experience. Since his mom was addicted to heroin and he didn't know his dad, he was raised by his grandparents. His portrait of them was my favorite part of the book: the measured look at how, even with thei A few years ago, children's author Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Punk Farm picture books; Lunch Lady graphic novels) did a TED talk with 4 hours' notice, about his unusual upbringing: "How a Boy Became an Artist" (https://www.ted.com/talks/jarrett_j_k...) This book is the graphic novel memoir of that experience. Since his mom was addicted to heroin and he didn't know his dad, he was raised by his grandparents. His portrait of them was my favorite part of the book: the measured look at how, even with their flaws, they saved his life and were true parents. Be sure to read all the backmatter and be ready to cry. There are many dark events in this book, some of which are explained, and some of which happen in the background, with the limited understanding of a small child. Younger and older teens (and adults) will find a lot to ponder here. For those who may be in a similar situation, there is the important connection that JJK writes in his dedication: "For Joe and Shirl. For Leslie. For every reader who recognizes this experience. I see you." And for those who are lucky enough not to have had this experience with a parent, there is the empathy factor: almost everyone knows someone. The part where Jarrett's class was asked to draw "their mommies and daddies" is an important illustration of how the world makes assumptions about people's home life. It turns out he and I are just a couple years apart, and I recognized some things with a smile, like the choir singing the "Lean on Me" remix that my choir also sang ("we be jammin! we be jammin!"). I appreciated the inclusion of real letters and drawings -- especially how the drawings showed the growth in Jarrett's artistic ability (and even his initial rejection from art school). This is worth pointing out to young artists. Also, I hope he got to meet Jack Gantos again as an adult and a children's book author himself. :) "I knew in that moment, when my grandfather told me the plain truth, that life wouldn't be the same for me. It didn't change the circumstances, but it shifted my perspective." <--- This, too, could be an important discussion point. When does a change in perspective make us feel worse? When does it make us feel better? Is it right to hide some things from kids?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mrs.

    Powerful. Honest. Beautiful. The author’s note had me in tears. I believe this book is powerful beyond measure. It gives a voice to children of addicts, and it’s a voice of hope and courage.

  22. 4 out of 5

    G.

    Every once in a while, a seminal reality-based graphic novel hits with profound impact. Fun Home. Stitches. March. Persepolis. Maus. Blankets. Hey Kiddo can now sit at that table. Bravo, Jarrett.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tam_ the_ med_bookie

    After two hours of alternate crying and laugh-out-louds, here I am sitting up to write a short review about this book. I picked up the book without knowing anything about it. It turned out to be a memoir! A heartbreaking yet an uplifting one! Jarrett did everything himself regarding this book because (Surprise! Surprise! To me at least) it is a memoir of an artist and well, a graphic memoir with the author doing all the illustration and the art work. It starts with the story of his maternal grandpa After two hours of alternate crying and laugh-out-louds, here I am sitting up to write a short review about this book. I picked up the book without knowing anything about it. It turned out to be a memoir! A heartbreaking yet an uplifting one! Jarrett did everything himself regarding this book because (Surprise! Surprise! To me at least) it is a memoir of an artist and well, a graphic memoir with the author doing all the illustration and the art work. It starts with the story of his maternal grandparents as they were the ones who basically brought him up inspite of having a mother(who he sees rarely) and a father(who he has never known exists). Inspite of having a big family with many to feed and take care of, his grandparents supported him in taking up art in every way possible. This memoir is so worth reading in the sense that this proves that 'art speaks more than words can do' kind of way. The writing style as well as the art were so moving. I realized it was a memoir straightaway (high time I have some idea before picking up a book) And at the end of the first chapter, I was in tears. I so wanted to hug the little Jarrett, be there for him when he felt so low. But his life with his grandparents were the best part. The way they taught him about the realities of life without saying much was worth reading. The highlights of this memoir include the flawless art, the significant memories so crisply depicted in the form of real pictures (yes, at the beginning of each chapter, real pictures and related items to the ongoing chapters marks the beginning of each) The teachers who influence him in taking a different turn from the rest, the support of his uncles and aunts, specially his dear aunt, Holly; his childhood best friend, Pat; his first and only pet, the Hamster; the heartbreak after breaking up with his first girlfriend; getting the first letter a little too late from his real father; the journey of his mother who was a heroin addict all her life; the struggle through it all and facing bullying - everything made me clutch my heart. Everything about this memoir is so damn endearing. I loved how the last few chapters ended the most. There were tears of all kinds : sadness, happiness, grief, relief, acceptance, rejection, abandonment, hope, love, death, new life and most of all, gratefulness. This is easily one of my favorite reads of 2019. I am so glad I read this at the beginning of the year. So worth it!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    I've long been a fan of the Lunch Ladies graphic novel series and wondered about the imagination behind such comics. Thanks to the honest, often gut-wrenching content of this memoir, now I know more about Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Like so many youngsters, Jarrett's idea of family wasn't the typical one. He didn't meet his father until he was old enough to drive, and his mother was a heroin addict, often trying to kick her habit. Although she loved him, she just wasn't able to be there for him. She h I've long been a fan of the Lunch Ladies graphic novel series and wondered about the imagination behind such comics. Thanks to the honest, often gut-wrenching content of this memoir, now I know more about Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Like so many youngsters, Jarrett's idea of family wasn't the typical one. He didn't meet his father until he was old enough to drive, and his mother was a heroin addict, often trying to kick her habit. Although she loved him, she just wasn't able to be there for him. She has the best intentions, but just cannot seem to follow through on her promises, something her son eventually comes to realize. She isn't even able to take care of him properly, missing important moments in his life as he grows up. Thus, he was reared by his maternal grandparents. They themselves were argumentative, often gruff and full of opinions, and drank and smoke quite a lot. But they loved him, cared for him, and nurtured his artistic talent. Had it not been for them and his aunts and uncles and his friend Pat as well as a supportive teacher or two, it's hard to say how he might have turned out. This graphic novel makes it clear that humans and relationships are complicated and that no one is perfect. It also goes to great pains to describe some of the shame associated with addiction as well as the mixed blessings associated with being reared by an older couple. While I don't know Joe and Shirl--his grandparents--or his mother--Leslie--I felt as though I did from the wonderful stories he shares here as well as some of the letters and artwork that he includes. They made plenty of mistakes, and surely, he would have benefited from therapy, but they still loved him. It's clear that art saved him as it surely has saved others. While it's clear that the book deals with heavy subject matter, it is also told with grace, humor, and self-awareness, and reading it just might help others in similar situations to get through them. I finished the book filled with admiration and respect for the author/illustrator and hopeful that his story will touch others as deeply as it touched me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    At the end of the book, the author mentions that he originally told this story in an 18-minute TED Talk. I'm guessing at that length, it was actually fairly engrossing. But while the sub-title declares that this book is about "How I lost my mother, found my father, and dealt with family addiction," I found way too much time spent on day-to-day mundanity and pointless anecdotes. Raised by his grandparents, Krosoczka's biological parents are basically reduced to cameo appearances sprinkled through At the end of the book, the author mentions that he originally told this story in an 18-minute TED Talk. I'm guessing at that length, it was actually fairly engrossing. But while the sub-title declares that this book is about "How I lost my mother, found my father, and dealt with family addiction," I found way too much time spent on day-to-day mundanity and pointless anecdotes. Raised by his grandparents, Krosoczka's biological parents are basically reduced to cameo appearances sprinkled throughout the book, while way too much time is spent in elementary school lunchrooms and strip mall parking lots. I'm sure these little moments are fond memories for the author, but for me they did little to serve the ostensible point of the book. Also, an unfortunate choice was made to color the book in shades of gray and burnt orange, giving even a family living room the foggy atmosphere of a twilight London street. The murky and morose tone of the coloring sank the already low-key story to the level of tedium for me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Leonard Kim

    After reading the author’s note, I am not rating this one either, on similar considerations for not rating Echo’s Sister. I would have given this a good rating too. The graphic memoir is an interesting genre to discuss audience. It’s been suggested this book is a contender for children’s book awards. It may be award-worthy, but I don’t see what makes it a book for children: its format? that it ends with high school graduation? the fact that Krosoczka makes children’s books?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeanie Phillips

    This brutally honest memoir is a gift! Krosoczka shares his complicated growing up, doing justice to both the joys and the sorrows. I was reminded of The Glass Castle and the concept of radical acceptance. Krosoczka extends the generosity of forgiveness and acceptance to his addict mother, his absent father, his alcoholic grandmother, his enabling grandfather, and even himself.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mattson

    Best graphic novel ive ever read. Some bad words, but super sad in general.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Glatt

    This memoir is every bit as good as people have been saying--a powerful true story of the artist growing up in a family that was so severely affected by addiction. Stunning artwork accompanies raw, real, moving text. I just booktalked this to students and have lots waiting in line to read it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Richie Partington

    Richie’s Picks: HEY, KIDDO by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Scholastic/Graphix, October 2018, 320p., ISBN 978-0-545-90247-2 “I’ve seen the needle and the damage done A little part of it in everyone But every junkie’s like a setting sun” -- Neil Young (1972) “My mother started using when she was just thirteen years old. Joe and Shirl tried to help her, but things just got worse and worse. For everyone. Things were bad at home--things were bad wherever Leslie went. She would run away from home and then turn up Richie’s Picks: HEY, KIDDO by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Scholastic/Graphix, October 2018, 320p., ISBN 978-0-545-90247-2 “I’ve seen the needle and the damage done A little part of it in everyone But every junkie’s like a setting sun” -- Neil Young (1972) “My mother started using when she was just thirteen years old. Joe and Shirl tried to help her, but things just got worse and worse. For everyone. Things were bad at home--things were bad wherever Leslie went. She would run away from home and then turn up again without warning. My grandfather got her an apartment downtown when she was sixteen, thinking that would help her. It didn’t. It only made it worse. She’d steal anything to sell it for heroin. She’d walk into a store with a trash bag, fill it with batteries, and then run out of the store--selling the batteries on the black market to fuel her addiction. She’d shoplift from TJ Maxx and then have her unsuspecting baby sisters return the merchandise for cash. They had no idea the goods were stolen. They thought they were just running errands for their big sister. And Leslie would steal from Joe and Shirl--all the time. One time, Grandma had her purse sitting out on the kitchen table. Leslie grabbed it and ran. Shirley chased her down the street. but it was no use. She had to go out and get a brand-new license and cancel her credit cards. That’s why my grandmother was always hiding her purse in cabinets. But the most heartbreaking moment came when Shirley was washing the dishes one night. She took her wedding ring off and placed it to the side of the sink. Leslie knocked her down, grabbed the ring, and disappeared into the night. On nights that she would return, she wasn’t let in to the house. Leslie banged on the door until it cracked. The only time that Leslie didn’t use was when she got pregnant with me. I was lucky not to be born addicted to heroin. And I was told that--often. But after I came into the world, Leslie started using again. And again and again. My grandfather swooped in, gaining legal custody of me so that I wouldn’t become a ward of the state. Leslie tried halfway homes, trying to recover. But nothing worked. She always went back to that poison.” Cartoonist and author Jarrett J. Krosoczka has a successful career, having created such illustrated children’s books as the LUNCH LADY series and PUNK FARM. HEY, KIDDO is a graphic memoir, told from his teen perspective, of growing up living with his maternal grandparents, Joe and Shirley. This, because his mother was a heroin addict and his father was unknown to him--at least until he was nearly out of high school. For Jarrett, it was tough to have been birthed by an addict who never showed up, even when she promised to, even when she wasn’t in jail. That’s a tough hand to be dealt. But HEY, KIDDO is Jarrett’s own story, not his mother Leslie’s story. That’s why this is actually a really sweet and memorable memoir about the author being raised by his colorful and loving grandparents. I get to regularly visit my own grandkids. I sing, read, and recite poems; run around, take them to the park, build tall towers, give them piggyback rides, and put them down for their naps. Then I’m able to head home and kick back. It’s a much more rewarding gig than when I was an under-appreciated 24/7 parent. That’s why I really admire how Joe and Shirley stepped up big time, in their golden years, to raise Jarrett as his substitute parents. Many of us grow up with wonderful grandparents. But as tweens and teens, we rarely have to negotiate with them, two generations away from our own sensibilities. That Joe and Shirley did such a great job of bridging that multigenerational divide makes me doubly appreciate their efforts and success. I’m also impressed by what a great kid Jarrett was to accept the differences between his own home situation and that of his friends who lived in “normal” parent-child households. Both a joyful, feel-good story of love in the family, and a cautionary tale about addiction, HEY, KIDDO is a first rate graphic read. Richie Partington, MLIS Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com https://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/ richiepartington@gmail.com

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