Hey, Kiddo is a graphic memoir, so this story is true. The author captures his most formative experiences and memories from childhood through his high school graduation. Central to his story is his complicated relationship with is mother, who struggled with addiction and spent a good portion of his childhood in prisons or treatment facilities. His mother's absence led Jarrett to be raised by his grandparents, who were not without their own flaws, but provided him a safe and healthy home. They also encouraged him to pursue his love of art, paying for classes at the Worcester Art Museum and sending him to art school after graduation. This book perfectly captures Krosoczka's inspiring story (and incredible artwork), allowing readers to see how family, friends, challenges, and artistic passion came together in a imperfect, but beautiful eddy to make him the person that he is today.
Why It's Worth Reading:
What could make a powerful memoir even better? A graphic format. The artwork has a somber feel to it, largely in part to the limited color scheme of black, white and rusty orange. Krosoczka includes scanned images of objects and artifacts from his childhood, including many letters and drawings received from his mother, that add further depth and sentimentality to his drawings. And his story! Watching young Jarrett make sense of the big things that were happening in his small world, seeing the expression expertly drawn on his face, just touched my heart. I felt the full mix of emotions though Jarrett's troubles and triumphs, and then I read the Author's Note. Full on crying may have occurred. This memoir is a remarkable example of a young person coming through tremendous adversity and a perfect specimen of the power of art in our lives. Read it now.
Title: Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction
Author: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Awards/Accolades: National Bood Award finalist, YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction finalist, & at least 7 starred reviews
Does the NHS Library Own a Copy?: Of course.