Hey, Kiddo
In kindergarten, Jarrett Krosoczka's teacher asks him to draw his family, with a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett's family is much more complicated than that. His mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett's life. His father is a mystery -- Jarrett doesn't know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents -- two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along.Jarrett goes through his childhood trying to make his non-normal life as normal as possible, finding a way to express himself through drawing even as so little is being said to him about what's going on. Only as a teenager can Jarrett begin to piece together the truth of his family, reckoning with his mother and tracking down his father.Hey, Kiddo is a profoundly important memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, and finding the art that helps you survive.

Hey, Kiddo Details

TitleHey, Kiddo
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 9th, 2018
PublisherGraphix
ISBN-139780545902489
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Young Adult

Hey, Kiddo Review

  • Lola
    January 1, 1970
    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’
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  • Malia
    January 1, 1970
    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 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
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  • Rachel Reads Ravenously
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 ♥
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  • Cassie Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • David Schaafsma
    January 1, 1970
    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 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...
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    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 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?
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  • Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
    January 1, 1970
    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 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***
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  • Tatiana
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    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."
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  • Jen Petro-Roy
    January 1, 1970
    Utterly phenomenal. Krosoczka takes his talent to a whole new and utterly personal level.
  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes I get a little tired of graphic memoirs. I think in an effort to legitimize the genre the publishing companies and bookstores have a tendency to push them harder to convince us that not every one of them is a glorified Superman comic. But this is something special.Jarrett J. Krosoczka, the award winning author and illustrator of the "Jedi Academy" and "Lunch Lady" series, didn't have a typical upbringing. When his grand parents decided that his mother, who spent her life wrestling with Sometimes I get a little tired of graphic memoirs. I think in an effort to legitimize the genre the publishing companies and bookstores have a tendency to push them harder to convince us that not every one of them is a glorified Superman comic. But this is something special.Jarrett J. Krosoczka, the award winning author and illustrator of the "Jedi Academy" and "Lunch Lady" series, didn't have a typical upbringing. When his grand parents decided that his mother, who spent her life wrestling with a terrible heroin addiction, wasn't stable enough to give him a good home anymore his grandfather assumed custody and the two of them took on the task of raising a four year old Jarrett just as their own children were finally leaving the home. Though deeply loving and devoted to him they struggled with their own demons. Still they encouraged Jarrett's creative urges, ensured that he was able to take art classes and have everything he needed to succeed in life. He grew up surrounded by a loving, if disfunctional family, and this memoir is a bittersweet, messy love letter to them.I really, really loved this. It was honestly something of a revelatory experience to read about a family that had a lot of problems with drinking, drugs and anger management who were still really good and loving people. I don't know why that should be such an surprise to me but it was. I think we tend to view people with "issues" as being totally defined by them. Intellectually I understand that just because you have a drug problem that doesn't mean you don't love your children and want the absolute best for them and that you won't do everything you can to help them be happy. But, Jarrett spells it out in such a way that I suddenly understand that on a much more emotional level. Making bad decisions doesn't make you an inherently bad person. It just makes you a person. I love it when what the author intended is exactly what I experience when I read their book. Jarrett has the same realizations I did as he grows up. He knows his family has a lot of problems and that he's missing things other kids take for granted but as he grows up he starts to understand that he's been so lucky in so many ways. He's had unconditional love and support from people doing their absolute best and yes they made mistakes and even hurt him badly sometimes but that doesn't cancel out the love or all the other things they did that were truly wonderful and important to his life. Jarrett's artistic style takes a little getting used to but I like it, especially for this kind of story. There's a messy quality to everything that really suits the haphazard chaos that makes up a lot of his life. But the faces of his characters are always very clear and he says a great deal about who all these people are to him through their eyes and the tiny little adjustments he makes to a dimple or an eyebrow raise. There's a surprising amount of detail amidst all the chicken scratchy looking pencil drawings.Jarrett's youth wasn't conventional but you can feel that it was a good and wonderful one in so many ways. My oldest son Oliver, who's ten, asked if he could read this when I was done and I turned it over to him without too much thought. Yes, it deals with some harsh realities and I'd recommend having a good talk about it once they're done with it but this is a really good book for young readers. The message of understanding and acceptance is a powerful one, but so is the idea that mistakes don't have to define us. We can keep loving the people who hurt us and know that they love us back even if they can't quite express it the way we wish they would. There isn't just one definition for what "family" is, a standard that we all have to reach for or something that you either succeed at or fail. It will always mean something to different to everyone. Jarrett's family was a little, sometimes a lot broken, and messy and ugly but it was also loving and forgiving and a safe place for him to come back to when he needed it most. This is a wonderfully crafted, very moving memoir that I sincerely recommend to anyone interested in watching a crazy, sometimes scary, but oddly wonderful family's journey through the daily struggles of just being a family.
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  • OliviaK_C2
    January 1, 1970
    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. 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.
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  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    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!
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  • Skip
    January 1, 1970
    This is author-illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka's memoir of his childhood. He was raised in Worcester, MA, adopted by his grandparents, because his mother could not raise him as she was either in prison or a halfway house, convicted of crimes to support her heroin addiction. His grandparents provided a loving home, but they were hardly model roles for him. Jarrett's only escape was art, his next-door neighbor, and several teachers along the way, who provided much needed support, especially classes This is author-illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka's memoir of his childhood. He was raised in Worcester, MA, adopted by his grandparents, because his mother could not raise him as she was either in prison or a halfway house, convicted of crimes to support her heroin addiction. His grandparents provided a loving home, but they were hardly model roles for him. Jarrett's only escape was art, his next-door neighbor, and several teachers along the way, who provided much needed support, especially classes at the local art museum, when school funding for the arts was slashed and joining the high school newspaper as the cartoonist at parochial school. His reunion with his unnamed father and half-siblings at the end was heart-warming as were his several postscripts. The graphic format was well done.
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  • Ken
    January 1, 1970
    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 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!
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  • DaNae
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Lauren Stoolfire
    January 1, 1970
    This graphic memoir is an absolute must read. It isn't an easy read, but it's worth the time.
  • Matthew Noe
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Rick
    January 1, 1970
    This was a 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 developed. I cannot praise this book enough. Beautiful. Touching. Powerful. This is definitely a Rickommendation. This was a 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 developed. I cannot praise this book enough. Beautiful. Touching. Powerful. This is definitely a Rickommendation. Update: I recently had the privilege to meet the author and I have to say I only want to praise this book even more.
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  • Carol Tilley
    January 1, 1970
    Most definitely deserving of the praise it's receiving.
  • Rod Brown
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Elizabeth A
    January 1, 1970
    The subtitle "How I lost my mother, found my father, and dealt with family addiction" says it all.This graphic memoir relates the tough childhood of a kid raised by his grandparents because his Mom's an incarcerated heroin addict and his Dad is unknown. This book is targeted for teen readers, and I think would be a powerful book for kids with tough home lives, as it is a hopeful story of survival and being successful. I liked the exploration of family and how it comes in many forms. I'm happy The subtitle "How I lost my mother, found my father, and dealt with family addiction" says it all.This graphic memoir relates the tough childhood of a kid raised by his grandparents because his Mom's an incarcerated heroin addict and his Dad is unknown. This book is targeted for teen readers, and I think would be a powerful book for kids with tough home lives, as it is a hopeful story of survival and being successful. I liked the exploration of family and how it comes in many forms. I'm happy that the author's life turns out well, and this ode to his grandparents is clearly heartfelt. There are however too way too many anecdotes, that while the author clearly loves, do not add to the point he's making here. The art is strangely colored and muted, but maybe that evokes the lack of light and color in his childhood. I liked it, but think that his TED talk covering these topics might be more engrossing.
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  • Sara Boscaino
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Christina
    January 1, 1970
    ....gutted me.
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    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 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?
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  • Carol (Reading Ladies)
    January 1, 1970
    Normal is a setting on the dryer….Jarrett Krosoczka knows from a very young age that his family is complicated. His mom is an addict and unreliable; his father is absent in every way and Jarrett doesn’t even know his father’s name. Jarret’s grandparents rescue, adopt, and raise him. As a teenager, Jarrett gains a deeper understanding of his complicated family and embraces his love of art as a lifeline.I think teens who love graphic novels, teens who live with complicated families, or teens who Normal is a setting on the dryer….Jarrett Krosoczka knows from a very young age that his family is complicated. His mom is an addict and unreliable; his father is absent in every way and Jarrett doesn’t even know his father’s name. Jarret’s grandparents rescue, adopt, and raise him. As a teenager, Jarrett gains a deeper understanding of his complicated family and embraces his love of art as a lifeline.I think teens who love graphic novels, teens who live with complicated families, or teens who love to draw might be the perfect audience for Hey, Kiddo. Of course, adult readers can also enjoy memorable graphic novels!Graphic novels do not fall into my usual genre of reading…..but memoirs do! Hey, Kiddo is the perfect format for an author/illustrator’s memoir. His family saved all his works of art and letters from his mom, so it’s especially poignant to see his first artwork and actual letters from his mom incorporated into the book’s illustrations. Don’t miss the author’s notes at the end!Even though Hey, Kiddo is a sad story of addiction, loss, and abandonment, it’s also hopeful. God bless the grandparents who rescue children! The grandparents weren’t perfect…in fact they were loud and opinionated, sometimes gruff, and enjoyed their liquor and cigarettes…but they loved him, sacrificed for him, and provided a stable environment for him. (Reminded me of Hillbilly Elegy in this way) In addition to his grandparents, Jarrett had his art which helped him survive. Certain teachers also provided encouragement and safe places for Jarrett.Hey, Kiddo is a candid and heartfelt memoir that traces Jarrett’s journey through childhood, elementary and high school, and college. I love seeing how art helps him survive and provides something positive in his life. Also, I appreciate hearing how he reconciles with his mother, eventually connects with his father, and honors his grandparents. It offers a great deal of hope for kids in similar situations.A slight disappointment is that Hey, Kiddo contains profanity which is typical for YA, but I might be hesitant to recommend this for some Middle-Grade readers and I would NOT recommend it for elementary readers (who are his main audience). It’s a bit confusing that this memoir is not written with his primary audience in mind. However, it seems that this might be an important read for teens that share similar challenges at home. Definitely, YA and mature MG readers who love to draw and who grew up loving his Lunch Lady graphic novels might be the ideal readers for this memoir.As a novice graphic novel reader, I enjoyed Hey, Kiddo and recommend it for mature Middle Grade (7-9), for YA readers, (especially if they are fans of Lunch Lady), and for those who appreciate memoir.I wish publishers would release a profanity-free pversion for elementary age readers! Content Considerations: some Language, discussion of addiction, a parent in rehab and jailFor more reviews visit my blog www.readingladies.com
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    I'm only aware of Krosoczka's comics -- never have read them but know how popular they were in the library -- but this memoir was a total gut punch and will be for readers who aren't familiar with his work at all. This is a book about growing up with a mother who is addicted to heroin, who is in and out of jail and treatment, and it's about having a father who isn't in the picture at all. Jarrett grew up with his grandparents, in a situation that is all too familiar to so many young people I'm only aware of Krosoczka's comics -- never have read them but know how popular they were in the library -- but this memoir was a total gut punch and will be for readers who aren't familiar with his work at all. This is a book about growing up with a mother who is addicted to heroin, who is in and out of jail and treatment, and it's about having a father who isn't in the picture at all. Jarrett grew up with his grandparents, in a situation that is all too familiar to so many young people today. I could not help thinking about the opioid crisis and how this will resonate with those kids living with grandparents and how those grandparents raising their grandchildren will find so much here. And more, this is the kind of book that will build tremendous empathy for those who aren't in those situations.I especially connected with the end of this book, where Jarrett meets the half-siblings from his father. I have never reconnected with mine -- my father, too, was absent from my life but for different reasons than this -- but I do think about what it'd be like to know my half-sisters sometimes. I don't think it's the right thing in my life, but I love the outcome it had in Jarrett's. The art here is wonderful, as is the author's note about his life and the choices he made for the art in this memoir.
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  • Francesca Forrest
    January 1, 1970
    The art, especially the characters' expressions, really enhanced the story; it's beautiful the shades of feelings Krosoczka is able to capture, and I like his overall painterly style.Early on in the story, Krosoczka shows his grandfather, who, along with his grandmother, raised him, lovingly tending the grave of his own father, and that same love shines in Krosocska's picture of his grandparents--and even his much more problematic parents--without sentimentalizing. The memoir really clearly The art, especially the characters' expressions, really enhanced the story; it's beautiful the shades of feelings Krosoczka is able to capture, and I like his overall painterly style.Early on in the story, Krosoczka shows his grandfather, who, along with his grandmother, raised him, lovingly tending the grave of his own father, and that same love shines in Krosocska's picture of his grandparents--and even his much more problematic parents--without sentimentalizing. The memoir really clearly shows both this family has serious problems and this family loves each other. Love isn't always enough--that's clear. But sometimes it is. That's clear too. It's heartening to see Krosocska not be pulled down by things that could have pulled him down--great to see him on his way to becoming who he is today. And all the small details of his life feel very real--if you've been to the Worcester Art Museum, you'll recognize it in his pictures.The samples of his actual childhood art and the letters and cards he received from his mother and grandparents were a great addition to the book.
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  • Rob Baker
    January 1, 1970
    Memoir of the author's childhood growing up with his chain-smoking, heavy-drinking, brusk-but -loving grandparents who took over raising him from his heroin-addict mother.So many touching, sweet, sad, funny, finely realized moments perfectly accented and expanded by the illustrations. The author often includes real artifacts from his life at the ends of chapters that also add to the poignancy of his story.
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  • Lata
    January 1, 1970
    A deeply moving memoir of Jarrett Krosoczka's childhood, growing up with his grandparents because his mother was a heroine addict. Though they'd already raised their own kids, seeing Jarrett's situation and their daughter's inability to care for her son, the two took him in, and provided him with a stable and very loving environment in which to grow. Actually, not just to grow, but to dream and to work towards those dreams. I really liked the style Krosoczka used to illustrate his memoir, and I A deeply moving memoir of Jarrett Krosoczka's childhood, growing up with his grandparents because his mother was a heroine addict. Though they'd already raised their own kids, seeing Jarrett's situation and their daughter's inability to care for her son, the two took him in, and provided him with a stable and very loving environment in which to grow. Actually, not just to grow, but to dream and to work towards those dreams. I really liked the style Krosoczka used to illustrate his memoir, and I particularly liked the use of letters and other images. The letters from his mother were heartbreaking, as it's clear that she deeply cared for her son.I've never read anything else by this artist, but now I'm interested in checking out some of his other works.
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