Saturday, November 09, 2019

Star Wars Music

Plugging away on the art or a Jedi Academy deadline and as I often do in these times, I listen to the John Williams score of the Star Wars movies. It gets me amped. And then...I notice that the playbar is a lightsaber. Well done, Spotify. WELL. DONE!

Hey, Kiddo Updates

‪So how does one adapt a graphic memoir for audio? This is how Scholastic and I did it...‬

SO psyched that teens across Iowa will be reading Hey, Kiddo as a part of the All Iowa Reads! Just astounding to think about. ‬

AASL 2019

I am preparing my slides for my keynote address to the American Association of School Librarians conference in a few weeks and waxing nostalgic on my visits to the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD days of 2003 and 2004. And you better believe I am including a photo of AASL National Conference Committee Chair, Heather Jankowski, on her first-ever author visit!

And to give you a scope of how long ago this was, I presented using legit slides in a slide carousel, and the initial invitation came via telephone.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloweeeeeeen! Blink and you’ll miss it...

‪The voice actor who read as Middle School Jarrett in the Hey, Kiddo audiobook went trick-or-treating as Dwight Schrute from The Office. ‬
‪But everyone seemed to think he was dressed as Middle School Jarrett from Hey, Kiddo... ‬

EXT: Downtown Halloween celebration. Steady stream of rain and drizzle.
RANDOM PERSON: What are all those gadgets for?
ME: Catching ghosts!
RANDO: herd goats?
ME: *considers explaining*...Uh...yeah. Yes, I’m a goat herder.

Here are a bunch of the pumpkins that I painted for Halloween 2019!

‪Shout out to all of the teachers on the morning after Halloween...‬

More Hey, Kiddo Audiobook Samples!

Did you know that you can get audiobooks from your public library directly to your device?! If your local library doesn't have the Hey, Kiddo audiobook, consider putting in an ask to your librarians.
While I use the Libby app with my local library, I'm wondering what other apps your public library might use in your neck of the woods...

Here is another clip from the upcoming Hey, Kiddo audiobook. In this scene, young Pat is played by Pat’s kid, opposite my kid playing young me. And Pat’s mom is played by...PAT’S MOM!
How amazing to have these connections, and what a beautifully surreal way to relive life in my childhood neighborhood.

How utterly amazing for me to have my teachers and mentors from high school come on into the recording booth to play themselves in this production...

Having a parent who is dealing with addictions can be unpredictable, heartbreaking, and deflating. This scene depicts one of the many times I thought my mother was back on her feet...‬


I had such a wonderful day with all of my new friends in Fayetteville, Arkansas! When I’m speaking to a giant group of a thousand students, I take questions starting in the very back of the room—“Phil Donahueing” it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Hey, Kiddo audiobook sample!

I got to tell my story with words and pictures—now I get to tell my story with sound and time. Here’s a sample of what my graphic memoir sounds like as an audiobook. Hey, Kiddo is available to preorder, wherever audiobooks are sold. The entire audiobook publishes on October 29th from Scholastic Audiobooks.

ICYMI: I was on WICN’s Inquiry, talking about what went into adapting my graphic memoir as an audiobook:‬

Mark Lynch has listened to the audiobook of HEY, KIDDO. He shares his thoughts, and I get into how we adapted a piece of graphic literature for audio. ‬
‪Also, the potential stage adaptation and the TV offer that I walked away from. ‬

Las Vegas Book Fest

‪What a great time at the Las Vegas Book Fest Thank you to Nevada Humanities, all the sponsors, and volunteers who made this book party happen. And OF COURSE—thank you to the readers! ‬

Now and Then Exhibit

‪December 14th! We will celebrate the opening of NOW AND THEN: Contemporary Illustrators and their Childhood Art at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art with this incredible crew!‬

NAIBA Carla Cohen Free Speech Award

‪So honored to receive the NAIBA Carla Cohen Free Speech Award—which is why I was so frustrated by the nor’easter that kept me away from the ceremony. I was about 90 minutes into my drive and couldn’t see out my window, so my editor David told me to go home—and I shared my appreciation via speaker phone. ‬
Again, so sorry I couldn’t be there in person —but odds are I will be in your bookstores real soon for a school or library visit. I am so very thankful for what you all do, indie booksellers!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Hey, Kiddo Anniversary

Photo by Susan Polos

October 9th marked one year with Hey, Kiddo; and I have so many thoughts. It’s been a wild and at times exhausting year, but what has made all of this so very worth it—talking to the readers, young and old, who share their stories with me. Sometimes they are teens who share harrowing and heartbreaking tales. When they don’t use words, they just give a knowing nod—and I know. Sometimes, grandparents or other caregivers share worries for their children’s futures. They have all made me feel so less alone.

We all have our special intelligences, and I encourage these readers to embrace the innate gifts they were given—even if they have yet to identify what those talents are. And to those caretakers, you are making a difference that will live well beyond your time on this good earth. To all of the educators who have supported my graphic memoir, I thank you for letting this book serve as a beacon to these readers. You give them agency to understand that they aren’t alone and the shortcomings of our parents don’t dictate our futures. And to the parent who stood up at a back-to-school night and deemed Hey, Kiddo inappropriate for 8th graders, thereby getting the book removed from readers’ hands...well, I know what my grandmother would say to you. And if you actually read the book, you would too. And if you took a moment to look around, you’d also see that what you deem as inappropriate is a reality that too many kids live with. In fact, I looked up the statistics in your state—within the top 5 for opioid-related deaths in our country.
Well, Year One with Hey, Kiddo is behind me. Here’s to Year Two and beyond because I am so far from done. There is work to do.

Recording Hey, Kiddo pt. 6

One last session for the HEY, KIDDO audiobook. Recorded a few pick-ups, a piece about the audiobook, and end credits. All is getting sent out into the universe for an October 29th publication date to all places where audiobooks live. ‬
(Look closely and you’ll see the songs that are getting licensed for this production!)‬

We have an audiobook cover!‬
And so wild to see Jeanne Birdsalls's name on it. Did you know that she was the one to encourage that TEDx producer (her daughter) to call me to sub. Jeanne reassured her that I would be no means be insulted to be a last-minute replacement. 

Paul Gagne of Scholastic is the engine behind this audiobook adaptation of Hey, Kiddo. What an absolute joy to work alongside this guy, co-producing and co-directing. This photo was taken last summer, shortly before he battled Russian spies in Stranger Things Season 3.

Thank you!!!

Through the roof to receive this Harvey Award at New York Comic Con!

^ For Joe & Shirl. ‬

My acceptance speech for Book of the Year from The Harvey Awards ceremony at New York Comic Con.
Librarians, this is especially for you.

What I was most proud of that night? Listening to my daughter accept a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award on my behalf. I’m a little misty-eyed over here. ‬
Also, this is so outside of Gina’s wheelhouse, and I couldn’t be more impressed by her!

New Kiddo and Hey, Kid both took home New England Book Awards! ‬

Here is my acceptance speech from the New England Book Awards. There were a few of the “characters” from the book in the audience, and I loved having the opportunity to publicly thank them. 

Thank you so much to the booksellers all across New England for citing Hey, Kiddo as the YA Book of the Year in the New England Book Awards. I appreciate all of your support over the years and I especially thank you for getting behind this book that was such a departure for me.


When you find a coffee shop that has outdoor seating overlooking a stream—that’s where you go to revise your latest manuscript. ‬

Halloween Planning

Kids are planning out their Halloween costumes... Slimer, a vampire and their bat, and a goth unicorn.

The Krosoczka Pumpkin Class of 2019 pt. 2

Follow along via the #krosofamilypumpkin hashtag on Instagram:

Swipe over on the posts to watch time-lapse videos! 

Saw these gourds, they looked like eyes. Keeping it simple with just one painted smile.

Gotta look for beautiful imperfections before you start to paint! I made the eyes more realistic to give this one a more unsettling vibe. 

There’s always one in the group.

When you draw closed eyes arching downward, you give the character a sense of content happiness. When arched upwards—unbridled enthusiasm!

(Also, chose stems to give those emotional sensibilities.)

This pumpkin is for Sia. The singer recently revealed that she has been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Gina also suffers from EDS. It can be debilitating and demoralizing, and Gina lives with constant pain from this every single day. Each individual will have different reactions from EDS, but it is typically categorized as a syndrome that affects connective tissue, skin, joints, and blood vessel walls. For Gina, it is chronic pain and extreme fatigue.
It’s ironic, Gina has been asking me for weeks to make a Sia pumpkin. She also asked me to share her story so that others with EDS may feel less alone, as she now feels less alone with Sia’s announcement.

Our three-year-old is so obsessed with painting faces on pumpkins, we had to institute a rule of the sun being up before we start painting

Like father, like son....

If anyone was looking to get their hearts melted, my kid carved a pumpkin to be a faerie house, complete with a welcome mat for wiping feet...‬

Spend some time with me as I walk you through how I paint my pumpkins. This is part painting lesson, part cartooning workshop!
Acrylic paints used:
Cadmium Red Medium
Burt Sienna
Cadmium Orange Medium
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Naples Yellow
Titanium White
Quinacridone Red

Monday, September 30, 2019

Hey, Kiddo Webcast

Tell your friends -- on Wednesday, I will host two free webcasts for HEY, KIDDO. I'll talk about my creative process and then take questions live:

Also, look for info in the above link on how you can get signed books from my local indie!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Happy Birthday, Batman!

Reading Batman comics got me excited to read, which got excited to write, which got me excited to draw. And imaginative play with those childhood action figures was an entry into storytelling.
Happy 80th, Bats!

One Book, One Region

Nearly a thousand people came out last week. Unbelievable. Thank you to everyone who helped put together the One Book One Region event at Connecticut College!

Remembering the Past

‪This was my walk to school for grades K-8. I visited my old school, Gates Lane, and when I walked to get a coffee, I did the reverse of my daily childhood routine. ‬

Never forget where you came from or how you got to where you are. I stopped by to pay my respects to family members’ final resting places today.

A Better Future

Thank you for having me, DA Early. And to the entire team at the Worcester County Opioid Task Force—you are doing such important work. Let’s not give up hope for a better future for those we love.

The Krosoczka Pumpkin Class of 2019

It is full-on pumpkin season here! Follow along on Instagram, where I’ll be posting a daily pumpkin between now and Halloween. Find me @studiojjk or follow #krosofamilypumpkins over on Insta.

Swipe over on the posts to watch time-lapse videos!

Gotta look for beautiful imperfections before you start to paint! I made the eyes more realistic to give this one a more unsettling vibe.