Author Spotlight: Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Hello reader. My name is Lucas Laliotis and welcome to the 1st installment of Author Spotlight. For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, I will highlight a living author who has impacted the literary world in a unique way. Our 1st highlight is an author from New England, Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Born and raised in Worcester Massachusetts, Krosoczka has written some great books, most notably, his graphic novel series Lunch Lady. In some of his books, his Worcester life is evident. I actually have one of the Lunch Lady books signed by him and it’s very close to my heart. In his 1st book, Good Night, Monkey Boy, the book is dedicated to his grandparents. At 1st glance, it may seem that he was very attached to them, but if you read Krosoczka’s graphic memoir Hey, Kiddo, the truth is revealed. I will touch upon that in a minute, but for now, here’s some more information. Though he is in his early 40s, he looks much younger. From posts on his Instagram and TikTok, he is a charming, funny and humble man. But he has a history not many readers know. In Hey, Kiddo, we learn about his childhood. The dedication isn’t a metaphor on his attachment to his grandparents, but is a literal statement. Jarrett was raised by his grandparents because his mother was a heroin addict. She had made many poor decisions in her life. When I 1st read this and realized that this was the guy who wrote Lunch Lady, I was very, very taken aback. The book, unlike most memoirs of this style such as Smile or El Deafo, starts with the life of his grandfather Joseph and grandmother Shirley during the Great Depression and the war.  Through the book, there is a timeline that is evident, going from the Depression era to Jarrett’s birth and finally to his graduation from high school. But he still has questions. Near the end of the book, he meets his birth father. I’m not going in depth because I want you to read it or at least listen to the audio book. The writing is great. But nothing compares to the art. Krosoczka’s other books have a very clean art style, with flat, crisp lines. But in this book, rather than using traditional digital work, uses ink. The book has a dedicated section to the art at the end. These lines make everything smeared and chaotic while making the characters and set pieces clear, which is a perfect metaphor for his childhood. I felt emotional after reading this book. Next time you’re in the library, head over to the graphic novel section and if it’s available, check it out or ask the librarians to place a hold for you because this is one book you do not want to miss.