Graphic novelist Jarrett Krosoczka presents a workshop for students. Photo by Zayra Salinas
More than 96 AHS students attended a workshop hosted by graphic novelist Jarrett Krosoczka, who visited the AHS library on Apr. 10 during Study Hall. Krosoczka shared his story about how he became an author and an artist for children’s books, and spoke about his bestselling book series, Lunch Lady, which details the daily antics of a lunch lady fighting crime.
As part of his presentation, Krosoczka talked about his most recent book called Hey, Kiddo. This book discusses his life growing up with a mother who was addicted to heroin, being adopted by his grandparents before he turned three, and not knowing about his father and siblings until he was 17. He also emphasized how writing and creating art saved his life when he was younger because he was surrounded by addiction in his family, and drawing and writing meant finding a way out of a dark place. Krosoczka showed students how his creative process works by creating a story of sock puppets going to the beach. He explained how he draws his pictures from left to right like you read a book, so that the reader will know where to look next.
Students and teachers enjoyed how Krosoczka shared information about his personal life, and he said that he hoped the images he drew on the board would inspire students to draw and write at every chance they get. Freshman Isaiah Lucio agreed. “I liked it,” he said. “I think his whole life is impressive, and I felt inspired to do better.” “I really liked it,” freshman Pamela King concurred. “It was really funny and it was just amazing his whole life experience.”
From a young age, Krosoczka had already started writing his own comics and his own simple books. He attended classes at the Worcester Art Museum, while also going to a private school from sixth through twelfth grade. In ninth grade he became the cartoonist of his school newspaper, a position he held for three and a half years. His first professional book was inspired by a little boy with lots of energy, hence the title Goodnight, Monkey Boy. From that point on he started writing his own books and creating his own art.
District librarian Ms. Bell, who organized the event, said, “I really enjoyed the presentation; I have been a huge fan of his books for many years, and I loved his most recent book Hey, Kiddo. After speaking to many students afterwards, I was impressed by how much his presentation inspired them. I think his whole life is inspiring.”