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Blog of author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Author of Punk Farm.
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1. A celebration of E.B. White, a fundraiser for First Book—Manhattan



I'm heading back to Broadway! I hope that you'll join me in supporting First Book—Manhattan as celebrated actors read from the works of E.B. White!

Last year's event was magical, and this year will prove to be no different.

Tickets are available at: http://www.symphonyspace.org/event/8497/Family-Literature/thalia-kids-book-club-terrific-tails-a-celebration-of-eb-white

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2. Lunch Lady exhibit in Worcester, MA!



"All Hail the Lunch Lady," an exhibit of original works from the Lunch Lady books opens at the Worcester Historical Museum this Friday!  A book signing is happening on October 28th from 3-5 PM. 

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3. Graphic Novels and Quiet Book Bans

*

I have visited countless schools over the years, creating memories that will last with me, and hopefully with the students, for a lifetime. But one story that keeps coming back to the forefront of my mind is a visit that never happened—because I wasn't welcomed.

I was planning a visit to the Midwest, and the hosting school librarian was hoping to share travel costs with a colleague at a neighboring school. That librarian excitedly ran to her principal's office with a copy of Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute in hand. As the story was relayed to me, the principal took one look at the book and said, "I spent my childhood with my face in the pages of comic books...when I should have been reading real books. So I am not going to have that man come to our school and promote comics."

I was heartbroken.

There are so many aspects of that sentiment that are just off. Glaringly, that the principal was failing to see that by her reading comics, she found a love of reading, and that love of reading led her to great things. (Unless, of course, her goal was to become superintendent and all of that time with Archie and Jughead had held her back...) But what makes me most sad is that her student body would never connect with my story of perseverance.

It is the American Library Association's Banned Books Week, and what alarms me most is not the bans that make headlines, but the quiet book bans. As a creator of graphic novels, I hear so many stories of graphic novels being banned from a classroom because they're not considered "real books" or "real reading." When I hear that, my mind goes to the disservice adults are creating for their young readers. One story that I heard recently was of a fourth-grade teacher who banned comics from her classroom because kids were only reading them for entertainment. But isn't that what free reading is all about? Entertainment? Shouldn't we all be instilling a love of reading? I, for one, don't know where I'd be if it were not for the pages of a comic. It isn't just that I wouldn't be telling stories visually today, but I wouldn't be reading much of anything. Comics taught me that reading could be an escape, and a wonderfully joyous act.

Last week I travelled to our nation's capital to speak to a group of elementary-aged students at the Library of Congress. It was such an honor to have been welcomed to that hallowed space for a second time to talk about visual literacy. It says a lot that one of our nation's preeminent educational institution hosts graphic novelists in their programming. But meanwhile, back at home, my wife Gina was with our daughter at a local library. There, she met a mother who wanted her child to stop reading graphic novels because they were reading too many of them, and it's all that they checked out from the library. Gina gently explained to the mother that there were so many different kinds of comics, and that they offered a wide variety of stories. (Not every comic contains a fart joke...)

And this is how we will overcome these quiet bans—with gentle conversations. Reading is the key to a lifetime of success, and for so many young readers comics are just what they need to develop a love of reading.

I don't vilify that principal, or that fourth grade teacher, or that mother. In their hearts, they were/are doing what they believe to be best for the kids that they serve. I just think that their point-of-view is slightly misplaced. Perhaps you know somebody in your young reader's life that could benefit from a better understanding of how comics can help young readers.


Here are some great resources:


Using Comics and Graphic Novels in the Classroom 
National Council of Teachers of English
http://www.ncte.org/magazine/archives/122031


Understanding, Using and Defending GNs
The Cooperative Children's Book Center, University of Wisconsin
http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/graphicnovels.asp#resource


Resources for Teaching Graphic Novels in the Classroom
School Library Journal
http://www.slj.com/2014/09/books-media/graphic-novels/resources-for-teaching-graphic-novels-in-the-classroom/#_


Raising a Reader
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
http://cbldf.org/resources/raising-a-reader/



*Check out great Freadom items on the ABFFE website here.



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4. Massachusetts library events in September! I'll see you in Western and Eastern Mass!

Hey, Massachusetts friends! I'll be at two public libraries next week. 

This Tuesday at 3 PM I'll be at Newton Free Library to talk about comics and creativity. Book sales via Wellesley Books! 
http://posters.newtonfreelibrary.net/Meet%20the%20Author%20JK.jpg

And on Thursday of next week, find me at Hubbard Library in Ludlow, MA at 6 PM! 
http://t.co/hsGgVp8uh1

See ya along the Mass Pike! 

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5. A great morning at the Library of Congress!



Bravo to the staff of the Young Readers Center at the Library of Congress! They bring DC-area students to that magnificent space & connect them with authors!

I had such a wonderful time. And with all events at the LOC, it was recorded and  will eventually be on their YouTube page. I'll give a shout when that happens!


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6. A shout out to Rachael Walker, champion of literacy initiatives everywhere!

A shout out to Rachael Walker—a hero to literacy programs and general awesomeness. Rachael helped found Read Across America (and continues to consult with the program), she gave me key advice when School Lunch Hero Day was starting up and she works with publishers on creating educational materials for their books. If you're not using her Reading Rockets videos in your libraries and classrooms, you're really missing out. Rachael isn't one to want attention, but I am happy to give her plaudits, because she so deserves them. If you're ever looking for someone to consult on a reading initiative, create downloadable activities for an author website or a generous person in your life, look no further! 

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7. A visit to NEA headquarters!



I had the great pleasure of visiting the headquarters of the National Education Association today in DC. I recorded PSAs for Read Across America and Education Support Professionals. I also had the honor of meeting the new president, Lily Ekelson García. There are a number of things I love about her. Among them:
1) She got her start in the school cafeteria. 
2) She opposes standardized testing. 
3) In her office, she displays photos of every single classroom that she ever taught. 

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8. United Through Reading



What an honor it was to help United Through Reading with their mission today. United Through Reading videotapes service men and women reading books to their children, and that DVD is then delivered to the child at home. United Through Reading has 200 stations worldwide—on ships deployed, in forward operating locations in places like Afghanistan. at military hospitals... I recorded PSAs about how important it is to read to your child—it creates such an important bond between parent and child. I'm lucky enough to read to my kids every night, and United Through Reading helps bridge the gap of separation for those who serve in our military.   Learn more at unitedthroughreading.org

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9. Lunch Lady lecture at the Library of Congress on Sept 17!

Hey, D.C.-area friends—on Wednesday, September 17 at 10:30 AM, I will be at the Young Readers Center at the Library of Congress. It will be a field trip for a local school, but the presentation is also open to the public. Book signing to follow at 11:30 AM.



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10. Kids' Comics Exhibit in Las Vegas

“BAM! It’s a Picture Book: The Art Behind Graphic Novels,” is an exhibit curated by the NICCL that  features original art from graphic novels for young readers. It's traveling the country and is currently in Las Vegas! Look for art by Matthew Holm, Lincoln Peirce, Mark Crilley, Raina Telgemeier and me! The show will be up through Nov. 25 in the Historic Fifth Street School Mayor’s Gallery, 401 S. Fourth St. 
For more information, visit artslasvegas.org.




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11. My latest TED Talk! "Why Lunch Ladies are Heroes"




I am delighted to announce that the talk that I gave at TED@NYC has been curated to the main page of TED.com! I'm pinching myself to have made it to the main page of TED again. Please take a moment to watch, and learn about how School Lunch Hero Day was formed and the heroes that it celebrates!

Happy Back-to-School Season!

All of my very best,
Jarrett

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12. A painting of your pug!

 I like all dogs, but I'm really only interested in painting your pug. I've opened an Etsy shop called "Pugs by JJK" for the summer.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/pugsbyjjk


  

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13. TED@NYC recap

Earlier this week I had the great privilege of speaking at TED@NYC. All of the speakers were so incredibly inspiring, and I feel so fortunate to have met them. Some of the talks may go on to TED.com, other talks will land the speakers an invite to the big TED conference. It would be amazing if my talk on School Lunch Hero Day made it to TED.com so more people could hear my talk on gratitude. For the time being, I have no idea what the future will hold! But for now, you can read a recap of the evening on the TED blog here: http://blog.ted.com/2014/07/09/ted_at_nyc_2014/ . And check out some photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tedconference/sets/72157645630440234/!



Photo from TED@NYC Talent Search, July 8, 2014, Joe's Pub, New York, NY. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED https://www.flickr.com/photos/tedconference/14649792763/in/set-72157645630440234/
Photo from TED@NYC Talent Search, July 8, 2014, Joe's Pub, New York, NY. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED https://www.flickr.com/photos/tedconference/14443260818/in/set-72157645630440234/

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14. Great summer reading list by educator Mike Lewis!





Check out this fantastic summer reading list for middle grade by educator Mike Lewis  

Click here to download the PDF.

Nicely designed, too! I am honored to be included!

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15. The winners of the Kids' Comics Revolution Awards have been announced!

Looking for a great list of kids' comics, approved by kids themselves? Check out who won the Kids' Comics Revolution Awards! I'm honored that Lunch Lady made the cut! http://comicsaregreat.com/kcrawards_winners


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16. An interview on WICN in which I discuss all of my recent projects



I've known Mark Lynch since I was 14, when he was my teacher at the Worcester Art Museum. He's also had me on his radio show every year since 2001. Not many people know me as well as this guy. He had me by the WICN studios to record an episode of Inquiry. And you can listen to it here:

http://www.wicn.org/podcasts/audio/jarrett-j-krosoczka-peanut-butter-and-jellyfish-and-more

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17. Where I'll be at ALA! #alaac14




Hello, librarians of the world! I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas next weekend for the annual ALA conference!

This is where you'll find me on Saturday, June 28th:

  • 7:00—9:00AM, HarperCollins Breakfast
  • 10:00—11:00AM, Random House Signing
  • 11:30AM—12:00PM, HarperCollins Signing
  • 4:00—5:00PM, Random House, Comic Squad Signing


I'll also be at the Newbery/Caldecott banquet, so I'll look forward to seeing you at those festivities on Sunday as well! 

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18. Weston Woods will release an animated Peanut Butter and Jellyfish inthe spring of 2015!




I had a ridiculously awesome time recording the voice tracks for the animated Peanut Butter and Jellyfish today at Weston Woods! We spent time dissecting the psychologies of seahorses and jellyfish, and really went for it with Crabby's insults. Can't wait for you to see this in spring of 2015!

I also recorded some improvised lines for Crabby to be animated over the end credits. Check out an excerpt of the shenanigan's in Weston Woods' Facebook post!








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19. My favorite thing about Zita the Spacegirl is...

…that she is a girl who kicks alien-butt! We simply will never have enough female heroes in comics. It's something that our girls—and our boys—need to see. And bonus points that she has a realistic body and is modestly dressed.

Congratulations to Ben Hatke on The Return of Zita the Spacegirl, the final space-adventure comic for our heroine.

Here is a piece of fan art that I made of Zita. Go Ben!


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20. Vote in the Kids' Comics Revolution Awards!




I'm honored to have Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villain up for a KCR Award in the Favorite Graphic Novel (Humor) category!

Last year, Lunch Lady was lucky enough to take home a few trophies, including Best Hair!

Kids! You can cast your votes right here: http://comicsaregreat.com/category/kidscomicsrevolution



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21. Check out the book trailer for Comics Squad: Recess!

Here is the book trailer for the new comics anthology that I edited with Jenni Holm and Matt Holm. We couldn't be prouder of this line up!


On bookshelves July 8th!



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22. People We Meet: Unforgettable Conversations

Honored doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about being included in this compilation. "People We Meet: Unforgettable Conversations" is a double-CD compilation curated by NPR's correspondents. It's on sale now, also available as download, and sales benefit National Public Radio.



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23. Want to buy our house?

It has come to that time for our family to move into a bigger house as our family grows. (No, no third kid just yet...) So...looking to move to Northampton, MA? Want to buy our house?


It won't be on the market until June 10th, but if you want to make a jump on it, our realtor is Craig Della Penna and he is at 413-575-2277

We did everything to update this turn-of-the-century house to make it our home. We maintained all of the integrity of the original hard-wood detailing and floors, and updated electricity, plumbing, renovated the bathroom and kitchen to bring them to modern tastes and standards. Tile floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances—all top-notch. Also, we brought electricity, cable, telephone and the gas line to a one-car garage and transformed it into a working artist's studio/home office. 

3 bedrooms, 1 & 1/2 baths. We fenced in the large yard, added a storage shed. We are a 1/3 mile walk to downtown Florence (Miss Florence Diner!) and a 1/3 mile walk to Look Park. We're around the corner from the bike path. We're going to miss this place!

(And to our local pals, we are looking to love locally, you aren't getting rid of us!)

Also—two lavishly painted murals by yours truly in two of the bedrooms! 

There will be more photos of the interior soon, but in the meantime, this is the exterior. 

(This photo is for potential buyers, not potential stalkers. So potential stalkers, please look away...)




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24. Library of Congress symposium on the reluctant reader this Thursday!



I'm so thrilled to be traveling to Washington, D.C. on Thursday for a special symposium at the Library of Congress. 

Here is the info from the LOC website:
A Symposium on the Reluctant Reader with authors Jarrett J. Krosoczka and Stephan Pastis, and pediatrician Trude Haecker and school psychologist Claire Agar
Thursday, June 5, 10 a.m. – noon
Mumford Room, sixth floor, Madison Building
Library of Congress
Open to the public but reservations required at yrc@loc.gov

See you there!

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25. PPS 2 launch event at the Cambridge Public Library—Wednesday at 4pm!

I hope to see Boston-area folks at the launch event for Platypus Police Squad: The Ostrich Conspiracy this Wednesday! https://t.co/nRQxJi0SNN


4 PM at the Cambridge Public Library in the Curious George Room! 




I should mention that book sales will be by Porter Square Books. If you can't make it, but wanted a book signed, please do give them a call. Or order online here:

http://www.portersquarebooks.com/event/jarrett-j-krosoczka-platypus-police-squad-2-cambridge-public-library

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