Friday, December 21, 2012

Thank you all! Signing off for the duration of 2012

I wouldn't even know where to begin, so I'll simply say, "thank you". Thank you for every ounce, second, moment of support in 2012. Before I sign off, I leave you with...

The best Birthday greeting (and by a great fan that I share a birthday with):

A wonderful Punk Farm Christmas picture from my final school visit of the year. (Thanks Pleasant Valley!)

And my pledge to my family for the duration of the holiday season:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Christmas memory in School Library Journal

School Library Journal asked me to contribute to their annual series in which authors and illustrators share a holiday memory.

You can read my piece here!

And while you're there, check out their extensive archives.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Make Magic, Preserve Wonder

Like all of you, I have been searching for something to grasp on to since the horrific events that occurred in Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. When the news flashes first appeared, I instantly recognized the school. Not because I had ever been to that school—I have visited schools in Newtown, CT, even schools called Sandy Hook in other states. But I recognized the school because it looked incredibly familiar, like so many of the elementary schools that I am welcomed into every year. I thought of the librarians I have visited with over the years, every single person who has ever buzzed me in at the front door, had me sign in at the front office and asked to scan my driver's license. I thought of the principals who take time out of their busy schedules to welcome me to their school. I thought of all of the teachers that I have met, all of the teachers that I know. And of course, thought of all of the young faces in my audiences over the years. Every single school that I have ever visited has taken great pride in their community and I have always been so thankful that they have granted me the distinct honor to speak at their schools.

As the weekend went on, my heart ached to do something. But the community in Newtown, CT doesn't need boxes of stuff and they don't need to reconstruct buildings. They need to rebuild their lives, which are unfathomably changed. Like all parents, I hugged my children more tightly and focused on the small moments like never before. On Sunday evening, Gina and I were scheduled to play the role of Elf and Conductor at Santa's Trains at Look Park here in Northampton. It's a marvelous display of miniature trains and a holiday display that is the stuff of Norman Rockwell paintings. And of course, Santa is there to listen to the children's greatest hopes for Christmas morning. My job was to punch every child's "magical ticket" as they entered. As each child approached, I got down on one knee so that I could be on their level and asked for their ticket. I then asked their age and would punch a hole for each of their years. And I always looked directly into their eyes. In each set of those eyes, be the kids three or thirteen, I saw the same two things—magic and wonder.

We as a people need to make magic for our children. We need to preserve their wonder. We of course need to put pressures on our legislatures to ensure that such a tragedy never again occurs in our schools, but on a daily basis—it's magic and wonder that we need to foster.

I salute the faculty, staff and administrators of our nation's schools today more than ever. It is surely a challenging morning to be returning to school. But I know that this group of people is what keeps our nation moving forward. They are creating life long learners and will stop at nothing for our children.

They are making magic, they are preserving wonder.

I posted a high resolution version of the "Make Magic, Preserve Wonder" image on my website. Please feel free to print it out for your classroom, your teachers' lounge, wherever it might bring you comfort:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

a few December events

I rarely have book signings in December, but a few local pals asked me to participate in some great area events. So if you are looking for an autographed book for Christmas, here's your chance! If you can't make it, you can always call the stores listed. I know that the Odyssey will be happy to ship books if you can't pick them up in store.

December 1st - 1 pm - 2:30 pm - Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA
It's the store's annual Holiday event and I'll be joined by Jane Dyer, Mordicai Gerstein, Natasha Lowe and Leslea Newman.

December 15th - 5:30 pm - Barnes and Noble in Holyoke, MA
This group event with Kevin Markey, Diane deGroat and Shelly Rotner is a fundraiser for the Northeast Center for Youth and Families.

I also have a virtual event and will be joining fellow kids' comics creators Matt and Jenni Holm on the Scharp/Schu Book Club. This will be Twitter chat on December 12th at 8 pm. Click on over to Mr. Schu's website to learn more!

And on December 17th, Gina and will be helping out Santa at Look Park's nightly train display. I'll be playing the part of the conductor, while G will be the elf who calls to Santa to see if he's ready to receive you at the North Pole. If you haven't been to the trains at Look Park in Florence, MA and you live within driving distance, this is a must-see holiday spectacle. (This isn't a book-related event, but if you are panicked for last minute gift giving and you bring a book, I'm sure the conductor could forge a JJK signature...)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

from the staff of the Worcester Art Museum: stories of kids who have benefitted from the Joe & Shirl Scholarships

BID NOW on auction items to support these scholarships!

When the folks at The Atlantic asked me about kids who benefitted from The Joe and Shirl Scholarships, I asked the folks at the Worcester Art Museum if they could share some stories with me. I was aware of some kids who were getting connected to courses via the scholarship, but I didn't know specifics. I've enjoyed just knowing that there were kids out there who were enjoying the same arts education that I did as a kid. I didn't need details.

I hope that these stories will move you as much as they have me.

One energetic 8 year old boy from Vietnam has started to take classes here at WAM thanks to your scholarship.He is always so excited every Saturday and has begun recruiting his cousins and friends to come take classes.He is the only person in his family that speaks English so he has to translate for us but it has been a great experience for him.

 Another recipient – 12 years old - has had a history of bad experiences in the traditional school system.She has some special needs and has always struggled with both academics and social skills.Her mother has told us how important the classes have been for her and she considers WAM to be her “safe spot”.

Another person affected by the scholarships is a mother of three (6, 8 and 13 year old children).Her husband left her and she is raising the three kids on her own.This mother cried when we told her we could give her kids scholarships.She was so excited, saying “We had no other options…”. 

BID NOW on auction items to support these scholarships!

Mo Willems on The Book Report with JJK -- today at 5:40!

My pal and neighbor, Mr. Mo Willems, is today's guest on The Book Report with JJK. I stopped by his studio and we talked Pigeon, creativity and what we avoid drawing. Plus, the original artwork from the Elephant and Piggie books makes a special appearance.

Tune in today, Wednesday November 28th, at 5:40 pm est / 2:40 pm pst. SiriusXM Kids Place Live, channel 78!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thanksgiving Day feature in THE ATLANTIC!

I am thankful that I was home on a Friday afternoon when the phone rang. I'm thankful that there was a last minute cancellation for a TEDx talk and I was invited to step in. I'm thankful for the 100 people that were in the room and the 5,000 people who have viewed the video online in the past week. And I am very, very thankful for this Thanksgiving Day feature in THE ATLANTIC! Especially because I get to champion all of the folks that I am so very thankful for!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tony DiTerlizzi is on The Book Report with JJK on Wednesday at 5:40 pm EST / 2:40 pm PST

My old buddy and neighbor, Tony DiTerlizzi, is next up on The Book Report! I visited his Amherst studio and talked goblins, spacecrafts and pinball machines. Be sure to tune in to SiriusXM's Kids Place Live, channel 78. If you're traveling for Thanksgiving, this will make for one entertaining trek to grandma's house!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The third annual auction to benefit the Joe and Shirl Scholarshipsstarts one week from today!

I wanted to first say a heartfelt thank you to all who have been sending me messages about my TEDx talk. Your kind words have meant the world. Also, a big thank you to those who have been sharing the video. Thanks to you, the video has amassed more than 4,000 views in just a few short days!

As you know, I remain committed to helping kids in my hometown obtain a quality education in the arts. The 3rd annual auction to benefit the Joseph and Shirley Krosoczka Memorial Youth Scholarships at the Worcester Art Museum begins one week from today!

Bidding will happen here:

Here is what will be up for grabs:

- original art from my impending chapter book debut, Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked, along with an autographed advanced copy

- a one-on-one phone conversation with me on breaking into children's publishing

- your kid's likeness drawn into the 10th and final Lunch Lady graphic novel

- I will design YOUR holiday card as a four page mini-comic and you get to keep the original art

- a tour of the SiriusXM's Kids Place Live Studios as well as an on-air experience with Mindy from The Absolutely Mindy Show

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My TEDx talk: Imagining Beyond Your Circumstances

Hi folks,

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may already know this story. Last month I had the great opportunity to give a TEDx talk. And it was completely unexpected. Gina and I were planning the rest of the Friday workday and then the evening when around 2 pm the phone rang.  It was a friend who worked at Hampshire College. She ran the TEDx talks at the school and would I like to give a talk? Of course, I would. In a few months? Somebody had cancelled and they were hoping I could fill in . . . for a TEDx talk that started in FOUR HOURS! 

Fortunately, I had a slideshow filled with childhood artwork at the ready. The talk, however, was unlike any I had given before. I talked very candidly and openly about growing up as I did.

I really love how TEDx summarived my talk: "Jarrett J. Krosoczka tells us how imagination and the encouragement to pursue artistic expression transformed his life."

I hope that you all enjoy the video.

Most sincerely,

Monday, November 12, 2012

Eric Carle on The Book Report with JJK - Wednesday at 5:40 pm!

On 11/14/12, Eric Carle will be on The Book Report with JJK. My mind is boggled that I'm even typing that, let alone that it is actually happening! I sat down with Eric at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and man, what a conversation we had. Tune in to SiriusXM's Kids Place Live on Wednesday at 5:40 pm EST / 3:40 PST to listen in!

(OK, so I don't really wear suits for these interviews, but check out the photo below!)

Friday, November 09, 2012

Jenny DeVivo, School Lunch Superhero

I recently met Jenny DeVivo on a school visit. As often is the case, I get to meet the folks who run our schools' cafeterias in a very meaningful way. But this time it was different. Ms. DeVivo started at the school as an employee in the cafeteria, but quickly saw that the corporation running the program wasn't offering a nutritional diet for the kids. So what did she do? She organized and worked with local officials to change the way things operated. She quite literally kicked the company out of town. And what really affected me personally, was that she told me that she drew upon my books for inspiration. If Lunch Lady could kick some tail, so could she! And man, did she ever. Here is Jenny with her copy of Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute. Notice the "J" on Lunch Lady's apron? I absolutely love it!

I salute this School Lunch Superhero!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Carle Museum's 10 year anniversary party and the annual illustration show at R. Michelson Galleries - both this weekend!

It's a busy weekend for the kid lit literati this weekend in Western Massachusetts. If you can get to the area this weekend, you may want to bring your paparazzi camera!

First, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is celebrating its 10th anniversary. I made a star for their special constellation exhibit. Here's a glimpse of my contribution. It will hang in the Great Hall along with stars by Scott Fischer, Jeff Mack and Eric Carle himself!

Check out the full list of weekend activities at The Carle here.

On Sunday, from 4-6, head on over to the R. Michelson Galleries' annual Illustration Show. I am in awe of the artists that will be represented and am proud and honored to be included. When I received the invite to the opening reception, I had to let Ralph down easy -- dogs aren't allowed. He had already planned his outfit...

Hope to see you around the Happy Valley this weekend!

Peter Brown on The Book Report with JJK today at 5:40 pm EST

Tune in to SiriusXM channel 78 and listen for a new episode of The Book Report with JJK on Kids Place Live! My old buddy, Peter Brown, will be the guest! Pete is the very talented author/illustrator of picture books like The Curious Garden, You Will Be My Friend and so many more!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Text a donation to the Red Cross and you could win a free virtual author visit for your classroom

Like everyone who was unaffected by Superstorm Sandy, my heart has broken for the folks who have lost so much. Donating to the Red Cross is incredibly easy. I just donated $10 to Red Cross Disaster Relief by texting "redcross" to number 90999.

I want to encourage everyone to do so. For those that do, tweet, Facebook, Instagram or email me a screen shot of your donation and I will enter you into a drawing for a free virtual author visit with me. Let others know just how easy it is to give a little bit. Together, we can make an incredible difference!

I'll take entries through Friday at 5 pm EST and announce a winner that evening.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! Skelton flamingos and Lunch Lady pumpkins

We are feeling incredibly grateful here in the Krosoczka house to be celebrating Halloween this evening. The hurricane's fury avoided us completely. Our hearts go out to all of the folks in the affected areas. And I feel lucky to even be home. I had been in Austin for the Texas Book Festival. I had already canceled Sunday's appearances, but was scheduled on a flight out on Sunday morning. On Saturday afternoon, while signing books with Dav Pilkey, Lisa McMann and Mac Barnett, I glanced at my phone and saw that Massachusetts was in a state of emergency. I took off to pack my bags and head to the airport and got on the last flight of the evening. Sadly, many of my Northeast author friends are still stuck in Austin. Not a bad city to be stuck in, but I would far rather be home with my kids. Not only to shelter them from the storm, but to decorate pumpkins like this:

My three year old drew this. So proud!

And with the storm behind us, the yard decorations are back out on display:

Not only to I feel fortunate to have my house in order, I feel so lucky that folks like my work enough to use my characters as inspiration for their Halloween celebrations. Check out the awesome Nash family below! I had to pick myself up off the floor when I saw how they decked themselves out for their Halloween shenanigans.

And remember Lunch Lady super fan who drew this awesome comic? Her librarian sent in this photo of her storytime pumpkin!

And this morning, third grade teacher Kerry Ciccone tweeted this photo to me:

And that's not to mention that her son made this awesome project for his literacy parade project!

If you are celebrating Halloween and using any of my characters, I am so incredibly honored! And I would love to see your creativity in action! Please email them to me (props at or Tweet or Facebook them to me!


Laura Lintz, who shares the same initials as Lunch Lady, sent in this awesome picture from the Arlington Library!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

lucky me in Lucky and Squash!

I do believe I failed to blog about this earlier in the year. But my dear friends and neighbors Jeanne Birdsall and Jane Dyer teamed up on an amazing book called Lucky and Squash.

During the making of the book, Jane called Jeanne. She needed photo reference of a man holding a dog. As luck would have it, Jeanne had a drawer full of just that! Huh?  You see, Jeanne took a series of author photos of me holding Ralph. She passed them on to Jane. So if you are reading Lucky and Squash to your kids, and you think you see me, you're not going crazy. That is indeed me in the book playing the part of Mr. Bernard!

Here is a photo of the talented duo reading from the book at last spring's launch at nearby Broadside Bookshop!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tra-la-laa! Dav Pilkey on The Book Report with JJK this Tuesday!

This Tuesday (October 22) at 5:40 ET / 2:40 PT, Mr. Underpants himself will be chatting with me on The Book Report with JJK! Tune in to SiriusXM's Kids Place Live, channel 78, to hear Dav Pilkey tell me all about where Captain Underpants came from! SPOILER ALERT: It's a character he's had since elementary school!

Where I'll be this weekend at the Texas Book Festival

I'm very excited to return to the Texas Book Festival in Austin, TX at the end of the week! And it'll be a busy few days for me. Below is my full schedule. Do come out and say hello! Or, uh...howdy!

And if you follow me on Twitter at @StudioJJK, perhaps you can win some fun things throughout the weekend!

10 AM
Lunch Ladies, Mummies & Class Clowns 
Saturday, October 27
Texas State Capitol: Capitol Extension Room E2.012

Captain Underpants! 
JJK will be giving a dramatic reading in celebration of Dav Pilkey's latest Captain Underpants book!
Saturday, October 27
Family Life Center (1300 Lavaca)

Due to the impending "frankenstorm" that's due to hit the Northeast, I'll be leaving the Texas Book Festival a bit early to batten down the hatches at home. I'm sad to miss out on the fun on Sunday, but I hope that I get to see many folks at the festivities on Saturday!

Friday, October 19, 2012

PBS Kids Go! Writers Contest

Earlier this fall, I was honored to serve as a judge for the PBS Kids Go! Writers Contest for young writers. It was certainly a difficult task to choose from the selections, they were all so amazing! Fortunately, I didn't go it alone. Buddies and neighbors Tony DiTerlizzi and Mo Willems also served as judges, as well as an amazing cast of folks like Lisa Henson and Jewel.

The winning books have been posted to PBS's website here. Definitely give them a read! I found them all so inspiring.

When I was reading all of the entries, I couldn't help but think of the first book that I ever wrote back when I was on the 3rd grade.

Congratulations to all of the winners and to all who entered! I look forward to reading future books of yours!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lucy Cousins on The Book Report with JJK this Wednesday!

This week, Lucy Cousins will be featured on The Book Report with JJK! The Maisy creator was visiting from across the pond and I caught up with her ahead of her event at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Her exhibit at the Carle, which features many originals from the Maisy books and my family's favorite -- Hooray for Fish, is up until November 25th. More info on the Carle's current exhibits is here.

Tune in to SiriusXM's Kids Place Live, channel 78, on Wednesday October 17th at 5:40 ET / 2:40 PT.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Picture Day Peril worksheet

Can you match the school picture with the author photo?

Download the PDF of the Picture Day Peril worksheet here!

New York Comic Con: kids' comics panel this Sunday

This Sunday, I'll be moderating a panel on kids' comics at NYCC. Moderating! I feel like not only was I chosen for the team, but made team captain. Take that every gym class ever!

Here's all of the info:

Sunday, October 14th
10:45--11:45 AM, 1A08
Description: Want to raise a comic book aficionado? Start here! With characters ranging from a neurotic rabbit to a crime-fighting lunch lady, these authors are masters at penning comics for the youngest age group. Look forward to a discussion about presenting the comic book format to the littlest readers in an accessible and often downright hilarious way guaranteed to have them reading AND writing comics in no time at all.

1. Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Lunch Lady Series) - moderator
2. Patrick McDonnell (Mutts comic strip; The Monster’s Monster)
3. Scott Campbell (East Dragon, West Dragon)
4. Peter Brown (Creepy Carrots)
5. Matthew Reinhart (Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-Up Adventure)
6. Philip Amara (So You Want to Be a Comic Book Artist)
7. Ben Hatke (Legends of Zita the Spacegirl)
8. Zack Giallongo (Broxo)
9. Orpheus Collar (The Red Pyramid: Graphic Novel)

Monday, October 08, 2012

Grace Lin on The Book Report with JJK this Wednesday at 5:40 pm ET!

On Wednesday, October 10th, Grace Lin will hit the satellite radio airwaves on The Book Report with JJK! Are you as excited to read The Starry River of the Sky as I am?

Tune in to channel 78 at 5:40 pm ET / 2 pm PT!

Upcoming shows:
October 17: Lucy Cousins
October 24: Dav Pilkey

Friday, October 05, 2012

Find me in Augusta, GA this Sunday

I'll be reading at the Westobou Art Festival this Sunday at 2pm. My event will happen at the Augusta-Richmond Public Library. More info can be found here!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Find me at the National Book Fest in DC on Sunday!

This Sunday I'll be reading and signing at The National Book Festival, right on the mall in Washington, D.C.. I look forward to hanging out with the readers in our nation's Capitol!

I'll be on the Target Storyteling Stage on Sunday at 3 pm. It's an incredible festival with lots going on! All of the info is here!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

LL8 Book Tour — odds are, I'm coming to a town near you!

Sept 18: 
LL8 Virtual Comics Workshop - tune in from across the country to make a collaborative comic!

Sept 22: 
Steward, NE
Plum Creek Literary Festival

Sept 23 @ 3 pm: 
Washington D.C. 
National Book Festival 

Oct 7 @ 2:30 pm: 
Augusta, GA
Westabou Festival

Oct 14 @ 10:30 am: 
New York, NY
New York Comic Con

Oct 27-28: 
Austin, TX
Texas Book Festival

Dec 12: 
Holyoke, MA 
Barnes & Noble, benefit for Northeast Center for Youth and Families

The annual Children's Illustration Exhibit at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, MA will run from November 1-January 31, with an opening reception on November 11 from 4-6 pm. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

LL8 Virtual Comics Workshop this coming Tuesday!

I just wanted to sent out a reminder that the LL8 Virtual Comics Workshop will be happening on Tuesday! We'll be making a comic together from across the country!

All of the info can be found here!

Tomie on The Book Report! Today at 5:40 ET / 2:40 PT!

Today on The Book Report with JJK, an author/illustrator so famous, so renowned, he needs but one name—TOMIE! As in Mr. dePaola!

Listen in at 5:40 ET / 2:40 PT, SiriusXM Kids Place Live, channel 78! We'll talk about the origins of Strega Nona and whose side he's on in the Madonna/Lady Gaga feud!

Monday, September 10, 2012

painting Baghead

Today is Baghead's 10th birthday!

An old friend from the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp recently scanned and sent me this photo. Here I am at camp in the summer of 2001, at age twenty three, painting a scene from Baghead. (I put the finishing touches for the book in-between camp sessions.)

It's been a joy to see the below scene repeated again and again at school visits:

It gets me every time!

Perhaps I'll update the book for current times. Reusable-Tote-bagHead?

It's been an honor to read this book to kids over the past decade. I'm truly touched that kids are still into it and it is still in print. Here's a photo of some Bagheads and me the from just the other week:

And here are a few pictures of the Baghead book tour in 2002!