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Hey, Kiddo

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  7,981 ratings  ·  1,210 reviews
Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn't know his father's name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddo traces Krosoczka's search for his father, his difficult interacti ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Graphix
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Kristi Starr This isn't a book I would hand a 5th grader. In addition to the language, the content is pretty mature. Krosoczka's mother was a drug addict, and as a…moreThis isn't a book I would hand a 5th grader. In addition to the language, the content is pretty mature. Krosoczka's mother was a drug addict, and as a young man he was pretty bitter about it. The book briefly depicts violence and one image could imply sex (only imply - it's not explicit). It's pretty dark in places as he struggles with his mother's incarceration and feelings of abandonment. At the same time, it's hopeful. I'm adding it in my HS library for sure, but I wouldn't recommend it for the average 5th grader.(less)
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,981 ratings  ·  1,210 reviews

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I only realized I have read this author before (five times, actually) when I read the author’s note and realized that he’s the creator of Lunch Lady.

No wonder I didn’t figure it out. This is not humorous, or light, or action-packed like Lunch Lady is.

Because this is a memoir—the author’s. And a very honest one at that. It’s never easy to share your truth with the world, because what if your words are not well-received, what if you’re judged, what if you didn’t carry your message across?

But it’s
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Despite this being a graphic novel, Hey, Kiddo is not an easy or light read by any means. It tells a moving, sad, but also hopeful story of a family affected by addiction and loss. I had not known about this author before, as I don't read many graphic novels, but I would be curious to read his other work as well. This book was excellent, definitely among the best I've read this year. It's a memoir, and the author doesn't shy away from complex issues and being critical of himself and people he lo ...more
Rachel Reads Ravenously
4.5 stars!

What a wonderful memoir!

I honestly cannot remember what made me request this graphic novel from the library, it is so not my normal reading zone. But I am very glad I did. Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the kids graphic novel series Lunch Lady, tells the story of his childhood and teenage years. His mother's addiction and father's absence had an impact on his life, but not as profound as the grandparents who stepped up and raised him.

This was unputdownable, I finished it within a few h
Cassie Thomas
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I understand that when others read this book they may only focus on the fact that there is so much darkness, but from someone who experienced similar circumstances as a child and into adulthood - there was brightness in the fact that grandparents raised us, but the negative light that shone of biological parents was just that, negative. As someone who could relate to a lot of scenes in Hey, Kiddo, I am thankful to know that my experiences are who shaped me, just like Jarrett, I'm also thankful t ...more
Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This graphic novel came out of left field and hit me, it hit me hard.

Prior to receiving this to review, I had not heard anything regarding this graphic novel so although it was a happy surprise, I was somewhat apprehensive. I had my own preconceptions of reading a non-fiction graphic novel and now after reading this story.....I actually want to read more!

As for this specific graphic novel, I was absolutely captivated from start to finish. It was an amazingly raw and real story that I read thro
Jen Petro-Roy
Utterly phenomenal. Krosoczka takes his talent to a whole new and utterly personal level.
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hey, Kiddo is an amazing graphic memoir. I saw it listed as a finalist for the National Book Award, and I was drawn to Jarrett's story of his dysfunctional family.

Jarrett was raised by his maternal grandparents because his mother was a heroin addict. His mother, Leslie, was mostly absent from his life, occasionally showing up mysteriously for one day, and then disappearing again. Jarrett liked to draw, and as he grew older, art became a refuge for him, a way to try and understand things.

When I
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After just a few pages of this book, I wanted to find Jarrett Krosoczka and hug him. Just . . . hug him for a minute. I met him, got my book signed, he was so nice! And handsome, and well dressed! And I was like, Hey, what a great guy! Love those New Jedi Academy books! But now, having read this raw and wonderful memoir of his childhood . . . I just want to hug him. This book is every bit as amazing as you've heard. I want it to win all the awards, because I want everyone to read it. I want it t ...more
A tender story of how families can come in all kinds of shapes. I have to say, Jarrett is more generous to some of his family members than I ever could be in his situation.
David Schaafsma
I read this 300 page graphic memoir in one sitting. It's a fairly straightforward and simply sketched--which is to say intimate--tale of a boy growing up without a father and mostly without his mother, who was a heroin addict. He was raised by his grandparents, Joe and Shirley, who come to life as stiff drinkers, chain smokers, profane and loving, sacrificing what might have been their retirement and after raising a number of kids of their own to raise "Ja." They helped Jarrett survive, but so d ...more
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine what life would be like if you grew up not knowing who your father is. Imagine what life would be like if you grew up not knowing where your mother is. Imagine what life would be like being raised up by grandparents who couldn't care less about you. Jarrett J. Krosoczka expressed how hard and grueling life was for him as a child through this amazingly written and drawn graphic novel. In this book, it described how he lost his mother, found his father and dealt with family addiction. Conf ...more
Lauren Stoolfire
This graphic memoir is an absolute must read. It isn't an easy read, but it's worth the time.
Matthew Noe
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance copy of this at ALA 2018.

Hey, Kiddo is an incredibly timely comic about a addiction, family, and resilience. Drawn in an almost hazy style with purposeful use of burnt colors, the artwork makes you FEEL the story rather than reading-from-above. Jarrett is honest - at times unflatteringly so - and that honesty gives weight to the story, even if in the moment it might feel too much.

If no one else takes it up, I may write a more in-depth review for graphic medicine. But for n
Did you ever finish a book and immediately want to hand it to everyone you know?

This year, it's this one.

Jarrett's story is disquieting, genuine, and ultimately so full of hope my heart beat right out of my chest.

This acknowledges that childhood is hard and ordinary. That families are important and toxic. That everyone is a factor of their biology but not the summation.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is author-illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka's memoir of his childhood. He was raised in Worcester, MA, adopted by his grandparents, because his mother could not raise him as she was either in prison or a halfway house, convicted of crimes to support her heroin addiction. His grandparents provided a loving home, but they were hardly model roles for him. Jarrett's only escape was art, his next-door neighbor, and several teachers along the way, who provided much needed support, especially classes ...more
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heartwarming (hold the cinnamon sticks) fare to finish on the Eve. Yeah, some dark issues to grow up with, having a mom with a drug addiction and an absent father, but the grandparents, Joe and Shirl, steal the show. Shirley is especially hysterical, even if she does smoke and drink too much.

Which, oddly, sends me back. When I was a kid growing up like Jarrett, most every parent smoke and drank too much. But they worked hard, too, most of them. And knew right from wrong. And loved you without sm
Carol Tilley
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Most definitely deserving of the praise it's receiving.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was wonderful graphic novel memoir. Complex characterizations. Gorgeous art. Striking colors. All around a great package. The author's use of materials saved from though out his life added tremendously to the authenticity of the narrative. Even the use of his grandmother's wallpaper as background for the chapter headings helped evoke the feelings and sensations that were being evoked. I cannot praise this book enough. Beautiful. Touching. Powerful. This is definitely a Rickommendation.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
....gutted me.
Tam_ the_ med_bookie
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After two hours of alternate crying and laugh-out-louds, here I am sitting up to write a short review about this book.
I picked up the book without knowing anything about it.
It turned out to be a memoir! A heartbreaking yet an uplifting one!
Jarrett did everything himself regarding this book because (Surprise! Surprise! To me at least) it is a memoir of an artist and well, a graphic memoir with the author doing all the illustration and the art work.
It starts with the story of his maternal grandpa
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you find a puddle on the floor, don’t step on it because it’s me after finishing this story.

When I went to the Scholastic Graphix party at SDCC, everyone was talking about Hey, Kiddo, the graphic novel memoir from a well-loved graphic novelist. I’m a fan of telling personal stories in this medium, because the art just adds a layer of depth that you wouldn’t get otherwise, especially when the storyteller is also the artist.

Honestly, if I had to tell you my favorite part of this book, it would
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Powerful. Honest. Beautiful. The author’s note had me in tears. I believe this book is powerful beyond measure. It gives a voice to children of addicts, and it’s a voice of hope and courage.
A few years ago, children's author Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Punk Farm picture books; Lunch Lady graphic novels) did a TED talk with 4 hours' notice, about his unusual upbringing: "How a Boy Became an Artist" (

This book is the graphic novel memoir of that experience. Since his mom was addicted to heroin and he didn't know his dad, he was raised by his grandparents. His portrait of them was my favorite part of the book: the measured look at how, even with thei
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was so good. It should totally get the award. It was written so well. I would recommend it to everyone.
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while, a seminal reality-based graphic novel hits with profound impact. Fun Home. Stitches. March. Persepolis. Maus. Blankets. Hey Kiddo can now sit at that table. Bravo, Jarrett.
I've long been a fan of the Lunch Ladies graphic novel series and wondered about the imagination behind such comics. Thanks to the honest, often gut-wrenching content of this memoir, now I know more about Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Like so many youngsters, Jarrett's idea of family wasn't the typical one. He didn't meet his father until he was old enough to drive, and his mother was a heroin addict, often trying to kick her habit. Although she loved him, she just wasn't able to be there for him. She h ...more
Rod Brown
At the end of the book, the author mentions that he originally told this story in an 18-minute TED Talk. I'm guessing at that length, it was actually fairly engrossing. But while the sub-title declares that this book is about "How I lost my mother, found my father, and dealt with family addiction," I found way too much time spent on day-to-day mundanity and pointless anecdotes. Raised by his grandparents, Krosoczka's biological parents are basically reduced to cameo appearances sprinkled through ...more
Leonard Kim
After reading the author’s note, I am not rating this one either, on similar considerations for not rating Echo’s Sister. I would have given this a good rating too. The graphic memoir is an interesting genre to discuss audience. It’s been suggested this book is a contender for children’s book awards. It may be award-worthy, but I don’t see what makes it a book for children: its format? that it ends with high school graduation? the fact that Krosoczka makes children’s books?
Joanne Kelleher
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Krosoczka's graphic memoir. His family was far from perfect, but through his drawings and text the reader could tell that his family members loved him the best they knew how, and a mature Krosoczka came to accept this. His portrayal of his family's addiction issues is honest without being overly graphic; he relates situations in the context of how they affected him growing up. The back matter enhanced the story for me. Loved the pineapples!
Jeanie Phillips
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This brutally honest memoir is a gift! Krosoczka shares his complicated growing up, doing justice to both the joys and the sorrows. I was reminded of The Glass Castle and the concept of radical acceptance. Krosoczka extends the generosity of forgiveness and acceptance to his addict mother, his absent father, his alcoholic grandmother, his enabling grandfather, and even himself.
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Mock Printz 2019: November: Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka 14 95 Jan 08, 2019 07:28PM  
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Jarrett J. Krosoczka used to be a goofy kid that liked to draw. Now, he is a published author/illustrator with many books to his credit. Growing up in Worcester, MA Jarrett drew relentlessly and always had a cast of characters that he wrote stories for. In 9th grade, Jarrett won a contest with The Worcester Telegram & Ga
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“Stories keep memories alive and people real to us.” 3 likes
“It is said that books save lives, but I also say that empty sketchbooks save lives too. I filled up many, and there is no doubt they saved mine.” 2 likes
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