Monday, June 27, 2011

Boston Public Library Tuesday 6/28

I'll be kicking off summer reading with PBS and JetBlue:

Boston Public Library – Central Library
Raab Lecture Hall
700 Boylston Street
Copley Square
Boston, MA 02116


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sketchbook Saturday

15 years worth of sketchbooks have been visually edited down and scanned. Designer John Lind and I are putting something together that I hope you will love. It's a little something to say thank you for 10 great years, something that will benefit the Joe and Shirl Scholarships and something that will support independent book stores. More info soon. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at what we're working on:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

LL4 in Times Sq

Another HUGE thank you to all of my readers who voted Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown as the 2011 Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year. It's because of you that I was able to see my name in lights in Times Square!

Download a great PDF of all the entire list of Children's Choices list here!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Recess Monkey album available today

I am very proud to say that I contributed the interior artwork for Recess Monkey's latest album, Flying!

And the music ROCKS! We've been jamming to this one for some months now. Zoe loves it!

Pick up your copy today!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sketchbook Saturday

I am currently sifting through ten-plus years worth of sketchbooks with designer John Lind to make something incredibly cool for you.

No new sketch drawn this week, but I'm scanning in sketches like this:


Friday, June 17, 2011

Scenes from the '10-'11 school year

When I visit schools, the librarians and teachers thank me. But it is I who am truly the thankful one. It's a gift to get in front of these students and to everyone who hosted me in the 2010-2011 school year, a sincere thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your hard work in getting me to your school and getting your kids pumped! It was a fantastic year. I visited approximately eighty-gillion schools. I wish I could stop along the way to blog about each and every single one, but alas time gets the better of me. (As do deadlines.) So please enjoy this gallery of some of the awesomeness I experienced first hand this past school year.

Click here to view the 2010-2011 school visit gallery.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

my desk

When I turned fourteen, my big birthday present that year was a drafting table. My grandfather brought me down to CC Lowell art supply store on Park Ave in Worcester and I picked one out what looked like the ones used in all of the cartoonists books that I had. That night, we had Chinese food. My fortune cookie read, "You will be successful in your work." I taped the fortune to the top left corner of my desk.

I still work on that desk today.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thank you for ten outstanding years!


  On June 12th, 2001, my first book, Good Night, Monkey Boy, was published. It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years, but I remember the day, and the days leading up to it so clearly. Every step of the way, as materials would come back from Random House, I was gitty with excitement—my name would be on the spine of a book! I had an ISBN! The first round of color proofs came in and I marveled at how well the colors reproduced. I hadn’t seen the paintings since I had dropped them off in the previous summer, but these were my colors. The excitement was building. I would lay awake at night, staring at the ceiling. June 12th couldn’t come soon enough. It was like seeing your Christmas presents displayed under the tree in September and you still had to wait for December 25th to open them. Publishing was a slow process, I would, ironically, quickly learn.

    And then it happened—the first time I would ever hold a finished hardcover version of one of my books. I was living on Summer St in Somerville, MA at the time. I was meeting a friend for lunch in Harvard Square and made my way to the sandwich shop we agreed upon and waited. And waited and waited—my friend completely forgot we had set up a time for lunch. (Pat McKenna, I’m looking at you!) While I was in Cambridge anyhow, I stopped into the Curious George Bookshop in the heart of the Square. It’s the most amazing shop, filled to the brim with children’s books. It was at this bookstore that I would poke around in when I was first submitting work to publishers. I anticipated having a book of mine amongst the shelves. I arrived back at my apartment to find a large, padded yellow envelope on my doorstop. I instantly recognized the Random House logo, but I wasn’t expecting a package. I picked up the envelope and froze dead in my tracks, my blood pulsating at a breakneck pace. There was something sturdy in this envelope. It wasn’t floppy like all the previous packages. This was. . . a book!

   On the stoop, I tore open the package and there before me was my first child. Monkey Boy’s grin couldn’t compete with mine. The endpapers, the jacket flap, it was all there and assembled. I can’t even begin to put into words the thrill and excitement and joy that filled me from head to toe.
    In late May of 2001, I returned to work as a full-summer staff member for my 6th and last season as an employee at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Camp was in session when June 12th rolled around. I left my co-counselor, Chris Milmoe, and headed into town with old camp friend Erich Birkby. Birkby and I drove to the Buckland Hills Mall in Manchester, CT. When you’re in Ashford, CT, it’s the closest thing you can get to civilization. We made our way to a book store and I saddled up to the information desk. “Excuse me,” I said. “I’m looking for a book. I believe it came out today. I don’t know the author’s name, but I know the name of the book.”
    “What is it?” asked the store clerk, ready to help.
    “It’s called Good Night, Monkey Boy,” I looked at Birkby as if to say, can you believe this?!
    The clerk typed the letters into the computer, hit return and grimaced.
    “What’s the matter?” I asked.
    “The author. He has a really weird last name.”
    “Oh really? What is it?” I enjoyed watching the clerk struggle through and butcher my last name. But they had a few copies!

    Birkby and I followed the clerk into the children’s section and under “K”, he pulled out a copy of my book. It was official. I was a published author/illustrator with a book in a store. Birkby and I brought our copies to the cashier. I put the book down on the counter and placed my credit card just above my name on the cover. I pushed the book over to the woman working the register.
    “Well this looks like a cute book,” she said with a smile.
    My instincts were to say, “THANKS!” I was eager for positive reinforcement. But instead, I played it cool. “Yeah—it looks pretty good.”
    She ran my card, bagged my book and handed it over. I’d have some time before I’d be recognized at airports. . . (For the record, even though I have been recognized at airports after conventions, the previous sentence was meant as a joke.)

    The next big date I had to look forward to was Monday, June 25, 2001. My first book signing was scheduled at the fabled Tatnuck Booksellers in my hometown of Worcester, MA. It was such a remarkable store, in an old mill with creaky floors and high ceilings and a full restaurant. My Uncle Steve called me at Camp. “Hey J-baby! They’ve got your name up in lights!” Steve drove by Tatnuck Booksellers everyday on his way to work and they had put my name on the marquee. Even spelled “Krosoczka” correctly. Leading up to the event, I was interviewed on WICN, Worcester’s NPR affiliate, by old friend and former Worcester Art Museum instructor, Mark Lynch. When the radio program aired, my camp friends and I huddled together in my counselor’s room with an old radio with an antennae and managed to find some reception. I did then, as I do now, get queasy by the sound of my own voice. But still—my voice was coming out of this machine through airwaves. How surreal! I still have the interview on an old cassette tape. I was also interviewed by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. This is the paper that printed a comic of mine when I was in the 9th grade and the paper I used to tear apart on a daily basis for my Calvin and Hobbes fix.

Read the article here.

      On the day the article was published, I took an hour away from my counselor duties to pick up a copy of the newspaper. I traveled East on Route 44, stopping at every gas station until I found one that carried the Worcester paper. I flipped through the sections and was bowled over—they had placed the article on the front of the People section and it was huge! I called my grandparents, who were at their summer home in New Hampshire, to see if they had gotten the paper. “Your father, I mean your grandfather, oh what the heck—I mean he is your father anyhow. . .” This is how every conversation with my grandmother, Shirley, began. “. . . Grandpa cried. He won’t admit it, but when he came into the house with the paper under his arms, he had tears in his eyes.” They were so proud of me and I was so happy they were a part of this.

    The article was pinned on the bulletin board on the Admin building at Camp, so I was at least guaranteed to have some of my camp friends at my first book signing. I drove up to Worcester with a carful of friends and we stopped at my grandparents' house in Worcester. They had returned to Worcester for the event. Grandma had made a meal for all the weary counselors I delivered at her door. We are and then were all off. When I arrived at Tatnuck Booksellers, what did I expect? Not what I experienced. It was beyond anything my wildest dreams could have conjured. I arrived at the store twenty minutes early and they had already sold out of the two-hundred copies they had in stock. Everyone I had ever known was there. My entire family, counselors and campers from Camp, friends from growing up and their parents, high school teachers, college friends, my pediatric dentist and my first grade teacher, Mrs. Alisch. Mrs. Alisch barged in, pushed herself to the front of the line and proclaimed, “I taught him how to read!” People cheered. She planted a kiss on my cheek and in true Mrs. Alisch style, left lipstick in its wake.  And in the center of all the chaos and the commotion, sat Joe and Shirley, holding court and beaming with pride.

    Birkby described the whole evening as a wake, but happy. There were all these people that I knew, waiting in line to congratulate me and get a book signed. Worcester’s Channel 3 News was also on the scene. Watch that broadcast here.

    In the fall after Good Night, Monkey Boy was published, I received a letter in the mail that would forever shift my perspective on what I did for a living. It was from a mother whose son’s favorite book was mine. In fact, he loved it so much, that he requested a Monkey Boy birthday cake. Included with the letter was a photograph of her two-year old son, blowing out the candles on a cake that was a recreation of my book in frosting. The cake looked delicious. With this, I realized something. My books were no longer just for me. They weren’t just something I’d show to my grandparents, family, friends or the campers at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. They were out there and they had the power to affect kids’ lives. Choosing the style of your birthday cake was a big decision—this kid would have this photograph in his family photo album for all time. I framed the picture and put it above my drafting table to remind me just who I was working for. I don’t know what became of the boy, the letter, but he’d be twelve now. The photo remains hung in my studio with pride.

    It’s hard to believe it has been a decade since my literary debut. Since then, I have traveled the country a dozen times over, visited countless schools, libraries and bookstores. I have made the most incredible friends while on this journey. It’s a list that is both staggering and humbling, filled with passionate educators, avid book lovers, dedicated book sellers and fellow authors—both those whose work inspired me as a kid and those who have risen in the ranks alongside me. For those of you reading this, I cannot even begin to thank you enough for your support. Whether you’ve been there since the start or only just recently, your enthusiasm for my work has made my boyhood dreams a reality. I am a truly fortunate man who gets to use his imagination as his full-time job. I look forward to many more years of bringing you my words and pictures. It’s funny—ten years in and I feel like I’m only getting started!

June 12, 2011

Read the blog post about getting the contract for that first book here.

Friday, June 10, 2011

best present ever

This Sunday, my first book turns ten years old. unknowingly has given me the most amazing anniversary present ever. Check out "The JJK Reading Experience".

And check out the awesome postcards sent from Mrs. VanRaepenbusch's 2nd graders. They made 50 postcards for me in honor of the postcards I sent to publishers when I was trying to break into publishing. (This is a part of the author study found in the above link.)

Thursday, June 09, 2011

OLLIE - book trailer

You won't formally meet Ollie until October, but in the meantime, get to know him in this video.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011



Variety has broken the latest Punk Farm movie news! There's a legendary studio! A Simpsons director! A new screen writer on the team!

Read all about it!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Funny Kid Quote - Tomie dePaola edition

Gina and I came home from a date night to hear our two year old screaming from her crib. Very unusual at that hour and very unlike our daughter. I went into her room to comfort her and not only was she crying, but she was wailing, "Tomie daPola! Tomie daPola!" Huh? Was she having a weird dream? No. Her babysitter forgot to put the Tomie books in the crib.

You see, our daughter sleeps with books at night. She selects different books every evening and she reads them as she drifts off to sleep and reads them when she wakes up. She was indignant that there were no selections from Tomie for her to choose from.

By coincidence, our dear friend Tomie was just in town, too—just a few days after this incident. He was interviewed by WRSI's Monte Belmonte on the radio. You can give that a listen here! 

Monday, June 06, 2011

Lunch Lady Field Trip Photo Contest


Enter to win original Lunch Lady artwork by Jarrett J. Krosoczka! All you need to do is snap a picture of yourself dressed as Lunch Lady in an exotic location, in front of a famous landmark or really, anywhere other than a school cafeteria! Get creative! It’s totally up to you! So before you head out on your summer vacation, pack some rubber gloves and a yellow apron for your chance to win!

There will be two categories:
1) Best Grown-Up Entry and 2) Best Kid Entry.

Entries must be submitted to contest at lunchladycomics dot com by September 1, 2011.*

Entries will be judged on creativity of location and ingenuity of costume. A panel of celebrity judges will review all entries and the winning entries will be announced on September 13, 2011, the day that Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco hits bookshelves everywhere!

*By submitting a photograph, you give Jarrett J. Krosoczka and his representatives the rights to reprint the photograph online and in print throughout all territories.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Friday, June 03, 2011

Funny Kid Quote

During a Q&A period at a school visit:

Kid: "Do you know how in Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta, Dee says that she's excited that the author is coming because it gets them out of math? Well right now, we're supposed to be in math, but we got out of it because you're here. It's pretty awesome."

Glad I could help!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Reading is Fundamental kick-off event with new sponsor Carl Buddig & Co

During Children's Book Week, I had the great pleasure and honor of helping Reading if Fundamental kick-off their partnership with new sponsor, Carl Buddig & Co. The lunchmeat brand has already committed $100,000 to RIF! It was an amazing day at Jenner Elementary Academy. Thanks to the generosity of Random House Children's Books, every single kid at the school walked away with a brand-new free book. And I signed every single one of them! To see some photos of the day, check out RIF's Flickr page. And please do check out the video below.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Virtual Author Visit How-To Brochure from Random House Children's Books

The fine folks over at Random House Children's Books created this great brochure about connecting with authors via video chat services, like Skype. Download it here. They interviewed Daniel Rolo, a teacher from Catham, Ontario, and me about the experience of my visiting his classroom virtually.

Last week I had the pleasure of zooming into St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Maryland where librarian Anne Macdonell donned a Lunch Lady costume and her students and I had a snappy conversation about writing, illustrating, reading and creativity. The students had already viewed the lecture videos that I provide on a password protected website, so they had lots of questions!

Here's what the chat looked like from my view:

After our video chat,  I sent Ms. Macdonell signed book plates and the drawing that I drew in our video chat. Not only do the students get a physical reminder of our interaction, the schools are also welcome to photocopy the drawing for each student.