Cover image for Hey, kiddo : how I lost my mother, found my father, and dealt with family addiction
Title:
Hey, kiddo : how I lost my mother, found my father, and dealt with family addiction
ISBN:
9780545902472

9780545902489
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
294 pages, 18 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 22 cm.
Contents:
Prologue -- Chapter 1: family history -- Chapter 2: life with Leslie -- Chapter 3: skipping a generation -- Chapter 4: disclosure -- Chapter 5: pen to paper -- Chapter 6: hard work -- Chapter 7: ghosts -- Chapter 8: lost and found -- Author's note.
Summary:
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.
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Summary

Summary

The powerful, unforgettable graphic memoir from Jarrett Krosoczka, about growing up with a drug-addicted mother, a missing father, and two unforgettably opinionated grandparents.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.


Author Notes

Jarrett J. Krosoczka is a New York Times best-selling author/ illustrator. Two-time winner of the Children's Choice Book Awards Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 6

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

Krosoczka offers a graphic memoir that is altogether more mature in style, theme, and content than his previous work for younger audiences (the Lunch Lady series; the Platypus Police Squad series). Raised by his grandparents, Krosoczka recounts the triumphs and tragedies he experienced from infancy through his high-school years. Regularly left in the dark regarding his familyincluding his fathers identity and mothers transient whereaboutsKrosoczka eventually learns of his mothers addiction to heroin and of her habitual incarceration. Other serious hardshipsverbal abuse, violent crime, family alcoholismpunctuate Krosoczkas childhood and adolescence, shifting his interest in art from something to impress his friends to a way to deal with life. To survive. Krosoczkas actual childhood artwork (from early crayon drawings to high-school gag comics) and handwritten letters to and from his mother and others are seamlessly inserted into the gracefully rendered ink illustrations. Applied with a brush pen, the emotive line work fluctuates between thick and thin, while blurred panel edges allow moments to blend into one another. A limited palette of gray and orange washes positions the story in the past, as memory. Krosoczka has meticulously crafted an uncompromisingly honest portrayal of addiction, resilient familial love, and the power of art, dedicated in part to every reader who recognizes this experience. Heartfelt and informative author notes, art notes, and acknowledgments provide narrative closure. patrick gall (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

*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 a hard-drinking couple who bickered constantly wasn'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.--Sarah Hunter Copyright 2018 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

PERHAPS THE FIRST WISH of every child in an unstable home is to disappear. To be anywhere but where the family is coming unraveled. The second wish, probably the fiercer of the two, is to be seen. To be understood and to make others understand what's going on. In his inspiring graphic memoir, HEY, KIDDO: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt With Family Addiction (Graphix, 320 pp., $24.99; ages 12 and up), Jarrett J. Krosoczka makes visible - and poignant and funny - what is most important about that experience: Somehow, you can still love your imperfect family and survive with your spirit unbroken. It's clear from Krosoczka's expressive illustrations that young Jarrett loves and needs his mercurial, unreliable mother. What's not clear to Jarrett, but will be to readers, is that she is a drug addict. When he sleeps at his grandparents' house, he's amazed they serve him breakfast. "As a 3year-old, I was getting my cereal on my own because I was waking up in an empty house," he writes. He doesn't know where, or who, his father is. When his grandparents step in to raise him, Jarrett is still within range of a formidable amount of drinking and fighting, but these adults love him in their own rough - and sometimes tender - way. In particular, his grandfather, who lifts his bangs and kisses him on the forehead every day before leaving for his factory job, recognizes and nurtures Jarrett's talent as an artist. Three panels show the evolving role art plays in Jarrett's life. "When I was a kid, I'd draw to get attention from my family," he says in the first. "In junior high, I drew to impress my friends," says another. "But now that I am in my teens, I fill sketchbooks just to deal with life. To survive." Jarrett yearns for his mother and wonders about his father through years of missed birthdays, visits to rehab and jail. But he has a loyal best friend, and his talent for conveying the absurdity of life in his drawings saves him from the invisibility that's the fate of so many children in similar situations. His teachers, fellow students - even a few bullies - take note. Eventually, he gets a driver's license and finds and connects with his father and the siblings he didn't know he had. He leaves for art school and, after a lot of hard work, has a spectacularly successful career as a writer-illustrator of children's books. Krosoczka's TED Talk about becoming an artist has almost a million views. He is especially beloved by young readers (and cafeteria workers) for his hilarious Lunch Lady series. This book, however, ends with some sadness. In an author's note, Krosoczka tells readers that his mother eventually died of a drug overdose. He also makes clear throughout that he and his grandparents weren't perfect. But "Hey, Kiddo" is a testament to the power of art and creativity - and a chain-smoking grandfather - to save your life. Rendered in shades of gray with touches of burnt orange, the drawings are not lovely, but they are perfect. Their hectic lines convey the chaos and complexity of a life where addiction is a backdrop. The crowded panels portray the constant drama. And the characters' facial expressions communicate a world of confusion, anger, shame and, ultimately, resignation. They are eloquent in a way that mere words are not. That's not to say that the words in this book fall short. The language is understated, wry and knowing. The most beautiful line is perhaps the first, in the dedication. "For every reader who recognizes this experience," he writes. "I see you." PATRICIA MCCORMICK is the author of many books for young adults, including "Sold" and "Never Fall Down."


School Library Journal 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 around-until 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 © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

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) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.