Hey, Kiddo
Hey, Kiddo

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Annotation: This memoir traces the author's journey as a child growing up in a family fractured by addiction, and tells how he found a way to express himself--and confront his truths--through art. Contains Mature Material
Catalog Number: #170497
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel Mature Content Mature Content
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 294 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-545-90248-7 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-2958-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-545-90248-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-2958-1
Dewey: 921
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
In this sophisticated graphic memoir, Krosoczka recounts the triumphs and tragedies he experienced being raised by his grandparents. Regularly left in the dark regarding his family, Krosoczka eventually learns of his mother's addiction to heroin and of her habitual incarceration. Krosoczka's actual childhood art (from early crayon drawings to high-school gag comics) and handwritten letters are seamlessly inserted into the gracefully rendered, limited-palette illustrations.
Publishers Weekly
Jarrett-s mother, Leslie, is a heroin addict-though he doesn-t know it until later in his childhood-so Jarrett-s grandparents, Joe and Shirl, step in to raise him. Evoking a great sense of people and place, Krosoczka (the Jedi Academy series) conveys the joys and complications of his young life in Worcester, Mass.-his childhood nightmares, his relationship with his mother through letters and sporadic visits, his grandparents- tense relationships with one another and their children, and their great care in fostering Jarrett-s talent for art. Krosoczka portrays his mother empathically, showing her affection for him even as she struggles to be a reliable presence (in one scene, she takes him and his friends to celebrate a missed birthday). His father is absent, until, at 17, Krosoczka writes him to ask about possible half-siblings, and a relationship develops. Photographed family artifacts appear throughout the grayscale-and-burnt-orange panels, marking moments significant and everyday: his early art (all saved by his grandparents), letters from his mother, a comics class taken at the Worcester Art Museum. This nuanced graphic memoir portrays a whole family and tells a story of finding identity among a life-s complications. Ages 12-up. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Oct.)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 7 Up In this intimate graphic memoir, Krosoczka looks back on his childhood and adolescence. His mother was a heroin addict, who was incarcerated or in rehab for much of his young life, and his father wasn't arounduntil Krosoczka was in the sixth grade, he didn't even know the man's first name. The author/illustrator was raised by his loving but often amusingly coarse maternal grandparents, who were well past their child-rearing days. Though growing up without his biological parents was painful, Krosoczka had a supportive network of extended family and friends, and his art became both his passion and his salvation. The visuals beautifully re-create his early memories, with fluid lines depicting the figures and hand-painted washes of gray with burnt orange highlights in the backgrounds. Borderless panels and word balloons deftly draw readers into the action. Artifacts from the Krosoczka family's past are inserted into the story, such as artwork and letters, and even the pineapple wallpaper from his grandparents' home is included between chapters. VERDICT A compelling, sometimes raw look at how addiction can affect families. A must-have, this book will empower readers, especially those who feel alone in difficult situations. Kelley Gile, Cheshire Public Library, CT
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A childhood beset by generations of family addiction is revealed in this raw graphic-novel memoir from a well-known children's author and illustrator. Though he doesn't realize it until later, Krosoczka's (The Principal Strikes Back, 2018, etc.) mother suffers from addiction, which brings turmoil into their family's life. Basic needs go unmet, promises are routinely broken, and the stability and safety most take for granted are never guaranteed. Krosoczka is raised by his grandparents when his mom can no longer care for him. The contradictions prevalent in his childhood will resonate with readers who have experienced addiction and educate those who have not. Yes, there is chaos, but there is also warmth, seen, for example, when Krosoczka's mom fakes his birthday for an impromptu party at a fast-food chain, or in the way his grandfather never misses an opportunity to tell him he is loved. Krosoczka learns self-reliance as a survival strategy. He also learns to express himself through art. The palette, awash in gray and earth tones, invokes the feeling of hazy memories. Interspersed are tender and at times heartbreaking images of real drawings and letters from the author and several family members. Krosoczka as an author generously and lovingly shows his flawed family members striving to do the best they can even as Krosoczka the character clearly aches for more. Honest, important, and timely. (author's note, note on the art) (Graphic novel memoir. 14-adult)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* In this deeply vulnerable, moving graphic memoir, Krosoczka, well known for his popular Lunch Lady series, recounts his sometimes troubled childhood, spent largely with his grandparents; his struggle to maintain a relationship with his heroin-addicted mother; and his gradually developing love for making art and comics. His grandfather officially took custody of Krosoczka when he was not yet five years old, and it wasn't until much later that his learned about his mother's heroin addiction and imprisonment. Life with his grandparents hard-drinking couple who bickered constantly sn't always easy, but his grandfather was a stalwart supporter of his artistic aspirations, and he slowly realized that the atypical family he ultimately collected (even eventually his father, whom he finally met late in his teen years) could be enough. Krosoczka's brushy, expressive artwork, incorporating snippets of his childhood drawings and letters, beautifully conveys the difficult circumstances of his upbringing. There's a tender quality to his graceful line work and muted color palette, which adds to the compassionate way he depicts his family, even when he can't count on them. A closing author's note fills in additional backstory and helpful context, including the ultimate, heartbreaking result of his mother's addiction. There have been a slew of graphic memoirs published for youth in the past couple of years, but the raw, confessional quality and unguarded honesty of Krosoczka's contribution sets it apart from the crowd.
Word Count: 16,162
Reading Level: 3.5
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.5 / points: 2.0 / quiz: 198847 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.8 / points:6.0 / quiz:Q75147
Lexile: GN510L
Guided Reading Level: Z

A National Book Award Finalist!

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.

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