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.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Brand New Jedi Academy!

Christina Starspeeder takes the next steps to becoming a full-fledged Jedi in ATTACK OF THE FURBALL, the latest in the Jedi Academy series. Super fun to collaborate with Amy Ignatow on these books!

Now & Then

After having several top-secret meetings over the past year, Grace Lin and I can finally announce that we are co-curating an exhibit at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art!
Now & Then: Contemporary Illustrators and their Childhood Art
December 14, 2019 - May 10, 2020

Audiobook Update

‪We are in the final stages of production for the HEY, KIDDO audiobook. We needed the sound of a Nintendo cartridge getting placed into the console. So also making an appearance: my old Nintendo!‬

It’s a testament to how much work the pictures do to tell the story. When adapting HEY, KIDDO for audiobook, we did an audit of all the story elements being told with the illustrations, and I then wrote a significant amount of text to expand the narration. After listening to the first pass, there were still story details missing, and I wrote an additional 25 passages, which were recorded this week.

‪The “character” of Jarrett was split between three performers for the Hey, Kiddo audiobook. Zoe voiced Kid Jarrett, Jaiden voiced Tween Jarrett, and I voiced Teen Jarrett. Since I also voiced Narrator Jarrett, we needed to differentiate the sound of the narration from the dialogue. So I performed Teen Jarrett with my Wustah accent when delivahring my lines, and the pitch of the recording was increased to make me sound younger. ‬
All looks as though the audiobook will launch at the end of October. Stay tuned...

One Book, One Region

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

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Hey, Kiddo Audiobook

‪Listening to the first pass on the final chapters of the HEY, KIDDO audiobook. The production quality that Scholastic Audio is putting into this production is astounding!‬

Hand-Painted Classroom

This is astounding.
Honored beyond words that students will have the spines of our books on their lockers.

At the Library of Congress

A single photo, even if taken in panorama, will never adequately portray the magnificence that is The Library of Congress. It’s physical beauty, however, is minuscule compared to the magnitude of its importance as a cultural institution. I will never take for granted any of the time that I get to spend in this building.

Cartoonists gawking at the fancy ceiling and fancy floor at the Library of Congress.
With Gale Galligan and Raina Telgemeier at The Library of Congress.

G and me outside of The Library of Congress ahead of the National Book Award Gala. Everything is better with her by my side.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

PBS Books - Live Interview

In which I discuss writing memoir and the complicated struggles of my mother’s addiction:

Friday, August 30, 2019

Hey, Kiddo Audiobook: First LIsten

That look you make when you wake up to review the audiobook of your graphic memoir.

Hey, Kiddo will be getting released across audiobook platforms later this fall!

A Quiet Moment

Sketch Wallet keeping me sketching while I wait for take-out. Way more fun to be observational than to be fiddling with my phone in these in-between moments. ‬

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Daily Sketch: Beach Day

Building sandcastles with the impending tide.

Remembering Richard Williams

Who Framed Roger Rabbit inspired my imagination beyond words when I was a kid. I spent many hours drawing the cast of that movie. Rest in peace to animator Richard Williams, and thank you for all of that brilliant work.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Harvey Awards

‪I am beyond thrilled to have HEY, KIDDO land as a multiple Harvey Awards nominee! HK is up for Book of the Year and Best Children’s or YA Book. Winners will be announced at NY Comic Con in October. ‬

Upcoming Events!

I have some exciting events lined up for the fall! Hope to see you at one of these stops if you live nearby. More info for each stop on my website: StudioJJK.com
(Although I will have a new Jedi Academy book in September, these talks will all be centered around HEY, KIDDO.)