Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Jarrett Krosoczka - December 22

Happy Birthday Jarrett Krosoczka - December 22

"Postcards are an inexpensive way to get an immediate message to customers. When they arrive in the mail, there's the message -- no envelope to open! First-Class Mail postcards are a great value, too." (end quote from USPS.com)...(begin possible quote from author/illustrator Jarrett Krosockza) "And postcards can be a great way to find a publisher!"  Krosoczka, author and illustrator of nine picture books and the graphic novel series, Lunch Lady, sent out stacks of 50 postcards that featured his artwork to publishing houses only to be rejected over and over!  However, eventually after 2 years of being ignored he received an email from someone at RandomHouse that jump-started his career.

I just loved the "postcard" story that Jarrett Krosoczka has told on his visits to schools. (Click here to hear him tell the story).  I was inspired and also intrigued by his choice of a postcard as means of communication.  Postcards can be a very cool way to correspond.  My kids have received quite a few postcards from their grandparents as they do lots of traveling.  However, they had never mailed a postcard themselves -- until today!

I made a template (click here to download) that falls within United States Post Office postcard dimensions.  I printed the page on heavy paper and cut along the dotted lines.  I asked my two children and nephew to think of who they would like to send a postcard to and then to draw a picture for them on the front. We then addressed the postcard on the lines provided. They chose to send their postcards to friends from school.  They noted that they miss them already and it is only the second day of Winter Break!  After addressing and drawing, we wrote a short message.  I encouraged them to ask questions to their friends so they would have something to talk about if they choose to respond.

Jarrett Krosoczka developed his skills at the Rhode Island School of Design and published his first picture book, Good Night, Monkey Boy shortly after graduation.  However, this all may have not been possible without his grandparents.  They were responsible for raising him and noticed his "passion for art".  Therefore, when his public school eliminated art classes they recognized the importance of enrolling him at the Worchester Art Museum.  The classes at the museum provided a solid foundation for his art talent development. Krosoczka has set up a scholarship fund in memory of his grandparents, Joel and Shirley, to help provide funding for more children to attend art classes at the museum. Unfortunately, I missed this year's fundraiser which was held on Cyber Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday which allowed you to bid on lots of cool stuff! (I did become a follower of Jarrett on Twitter so I don't miss it next year!)

Here is an awesome video provided by Just One More Book's Rock Stars of Reading that explores Krosoczka's illustration process:

Our family read it's first graphic novel this week in honor of Krosoczka's birthday. At the library, we picked up 3 books from the Lunch Lady series.  I selected Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians as my choice to read to my kids before bed (we each pick one book to read).  Before I started I warned my kids that we would not be able to read the whole book since we had already read two books and it was getting late.  But, once we started reading, made some cool sound effects, and laughed at the subtle humor, it wasn't long before we finished the book and made a liar out of Dad.  I was instantly a fan, as the Lunch Lady's sidekick Betty designs many great gadgets, similar to a James Bond movie, like a spatula helicopter and a lunch tray laptop!

I emailed Jarrett Krosoczka to ask him if he would be willing to share a birthday tradition or memory.  This was his response:

Being that my birthday is so close to Christmas, it can get lost in the shuffle.  As a kid, my mother once threw me a birthday party in June, which we may do for our daughter as well.  (Her birthday is in December, too!)  My wife and I also have a tradition of making a construction paper chain, with each link of the chain having something written on it that we love about the other.  That is a fantastic birthday present! 

Jarrett, thank you so much for sharing your birthday memory and tradition.  Your birthday wasn't "lost in the shuffle" of the holidays.  We actually were together with friends for the holidays, read Baghead, and made our own head gear!  This activity probably kept the boys from destroying the house as it distracted them from their Jedi training for about a half and hour! We hope you have a wonderful birthday.

Check out the latest Lunch Lady Book to be released December 28, 2010:


1. Jarrett Krosoczka Online - Studio JJK Website, Twitter
2. Jarrett Krosoczka Blog
3. Jarrett Krosoczka Draws Lunch Lady - YouTube
4. Video Interview of Jarrett Krosoczka at SDCC 2010 - YouTube
5. Lunch Lady Promo from RandomBooks - YouTube
6. Jarrett Krosoczka makes a school visit - YouTube (Great video - talks about start of his career)
7. More Krosoczka videos on YouTube
8. Jarrett Krosoczka's Vimeo Channel - Great Video with Tomie dePaola!
9. Text Interviews - KidsRead, Patricia Newman, GazetteNet, Publishers Weekly, Embracing the Child, Picture Literacy (Oct. 2010), Curled Up Kids
10. R.Michelson Galleries - Lots of great pics of his artwork
11. Audio Interview - Sound Authors, Just One More Book
12. Lady Lady Comics -  Follow on Twitter, Website (with activities)
13. Screensaver from RandomHouse - Punk Farm, Max for President
14. Punk Farm Website
15. Rock Stars of Reading from Just One More Book - Part 8 Krosoczka School of Art, Part 9 Digital
16. JJk Reading Experience - Happy Birthday Author


  1. This is a great post Eric. Jarrett Krosoczka has become one of my favorite authors. I have heard great things about Lunch Lady but my introduction to him came at the library where I found his book: Punk Farm on Tour. I'm a huge punk fan and I loved this book (a review is coming up soon on Book Dads) and I'm seriously hoping that my daughter will enjoy the same music someday but right now she gets a kick out of seeing the farm animals :)

    I love the postcard idea as well. I always find great stuff here - thanks!


  2. Hi Eric - thanks for stopping by Family Literacy this weekend and joining in the Let's Go Caroling Party.

    On Saturday - Monday I have a "What have you read? linky" for reviews and giveaways if you have them. Feel free to link up.

    Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy 2011!


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