"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday Quotes and nonfiction review: Hey, Kiddo

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
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e Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56.

This is the book I'm reading right now---


Title: Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction by Jarret J. Krosoczka

Book Beginning:

Friday 56:

Review: Leslie, Jarrett's mom, is young and unmarried when he is born. She is also an addict who is always getting into trouble with the law because of the drugs. Jarrett doesn't know his father, not even his name. Fortunately, Leslie's parents/ Jarrett's grandparents, Joseph and Shirley, live nearby and become his surrogate parents. Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction is a graphic memoir by a talented artists and illustrator, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, about his early life, illustrating very clearly what it is like growing up with so much dysfunction.

For several years of his early life, Jarrett lives with his mother. But things are not easy for him. On the Friday 56 page we see his mother shoplifting with Jarrett in tow. She gets arrested and his grandparents have to come to his rescue. Later, on the Book Beginning page we see it is grandpa who is teaching the teen Jarrett to drive. His first drive is in a local cemetery where Joseph and Shirley already have paid for their spot and their headstone. The reader becomes aware, almost immediately, how surreal events in Jarrett's life often seem.

By the time that Jarrett is school-aged, he is living with his grandparents full time. With his mother in and out of treatment or jail his home situation became too tenuous. Jarrett loves his grandparents but he is also embarrassed of them. His grandmother cusses like a drunken sailor and is often very disagreeable, especially toward Leslie. He feels like a loner at school and doesn't want his peers to know he lives with his grandparents not his mom. Finally however, he does make a friend, Pat, who accepts him and his family.

His grandfather is especially nurturing and encouraging and pays for special art lessons since the local school doesn't have an art program. It is at this program where Jarrett starts learning about expressing himself through art and to be himself as a unique artist. In one scene he tells the art teacher, Mark, that he has just finished reading a book about how to be a cartoonist like those working for Marvel. Mark tells him to forget everything he just read, to continue to explore his own style.

When Jarrett entered high school he found his place in the journalism department, drawing cartoons for the school newspaper. With the encouragement of his grandparents and his teachers, the shy loner was finding his way. Around this time Jarrett finally meets his real father and his two half-siblings. though he never lives with them, the relationship with his brother and sister becomes very important to him. By the time he is ready to graduate high school, Jarrett realizes something---family isn't about a prescribed set of relationships, but it is about the love you gain from the people around you. His grandparents weren't perfect, but they loved him and raised him. His dad was absent for all those years, but finally came around and he got some siblings out of the deal. His mom tried, but never conquered drugs, but she loved him in her way. Jarrett made peace with himself and with his family. His coming-of-age message is a very powerful message for children growing up in similar situations today.


This book is my top choice for Printz, Newbery or Cadecott Awards this year. I haven't read that many books that would qualify, as in years past, but this book is so good. When I started reading I was so uncomfortable then I realized that was the point, so was Jarrett and through his art he was able to convey this to his readers. Everything about his experience was so real and so relatable. As the graphic (illustrated) portion of the book closed, Jarrett left the reader with a few pages of end notes. He told us what he has done since he graduated high school and what happened to his mom and his grandparents. He is still in touch with his good friend Pat. The second note was about the artistic decisions and techniques he used to create the book. Both notes seemed so helpful. One for children who are also growing up with addicted parent(s) and living with grandparents or other family members. And the other for those students who enjoy art and wonder if there is a future for them in it.

I highly recommend this book for young and old teens and anyone who has a family or wants one. I promise you there are several cringe-worthy moments (and swear words) usually supplied by Shirley, but, hey, that's life, too!






17 comments:

  1. I don't usually read graphic novels, but this one sounds like a good one. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

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  2. I just finished this and really liked it. I thought the drawings worked well with the story.

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    1. At first I was a little put off by the sepia tones, but then he explained why he used that color palette and I understood. What do you think? Does it hae a chance at the Printz Award?

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  3. Oh I love the artwork! I haven't read a graphic novel in ages, but must change that! Swear word don't bother me in a book if it's right for the character. :)

    Here's my Friday post, and I'm carrying on with the madness of posting mostly non-fiction all month, and actually really enjoying it! Happy weekend!!

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  4. Sounds like a heart-wrenching story--but very worth the read.

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  5. I do not read graphic novels either, but I hope you enjoy them.

    Thanks for coming by my blog earlier.

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  6. Looks like a good graphic novel, I often enjoy them in a reading slump. :-) Happy weekend!

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  7. I haven't read any graphic novels, but it does look like a good one.

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  8. His art and this book sound like they were/are very therapeutic for him.

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  9. Doing a memoir as a graphic novel must have been quite a challenge, but it sounds like Jarret really pulled it off. I admire people who can both create art and write.

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  10. Sounds like a fascinating piece, and I like the illustrations.

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  11. I forgot to tell you. Your link on Rose City only comes to your blog, it doesn't reach a post.

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    1. Thanks for telling me. I am not sure what happened but I was able to fix the 2nd try.

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  12. This sounds like a very emotional read. I really like the artwork!

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  13. Sounds like a powerful and poignant read. I've not seen a memoir as a graphic novel before so that's really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. I don't read grpahic novels, but I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by Girl Who Reads.

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  15. I haven't read any graphic novels. It looks well done even if it is uncomfortable to read!

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