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<<May 2015>>
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Viewing Blog: the JJK blog, Most Recent at Top
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Blog of author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Author of Punk Farm.
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1. Encore Webcast Scheduled!

Encore scheduled! On May 15th at 12, 2 and 2 pm ET, tune in again! State-test free!

And this webcast is completely free of charge.


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2. A surprise visit thanks to a little postcard and the good the Internet can bring

A few weeks ago, I kept getting sent a photo of this postcard. Twitter, Facebook, email...people kept sending it to me. In a kid's handwriting it read, "I wish my teacher knew I want to read more Lunch Lady books because I only read one..." It was a part of a growing viral hashtag, ‪#‎IWishMyTeacherKnew‬, supporting the needs of students. My wife, Gina, looked at me and said, "You need to send them some books!"
Reading up on the endeavor, I couldn't shake that its founder, Kyle Schwartz, looked familiar. Somebody sent me a Denver Post article, which linked to her Twitter. That's how I knew her—her classroom and I had exchanged tweets. And when we learned that Ms. Schwartz taught in Denver and that I'd be in Denver in a few weeks, Gina said, "You need to get to her school!"
This morning I jumped on an earlier flight and visited this wonderful school. I met with Principal Jodie Carrigan and her fantastic staff and of course, her incredible students. Ms. Schwartz started a national movement with this simple gesture—asking students to anonymously write their stories and hopes on postcards. Many of them were just gut-wrenching, but sadly not unfamiliar. And what impressed me most about Ms. Schwartz is that as her idea went viral, many tweeted at her saying, "I wish there were more teachers like you," and she would immediately reply that there were countless teachers like her—in every classroom across America. 
I had the honor of meeting that young man who wrote his hopes on that postcard. He was a little stunned that his voice had the power to be heard so loudly. He asked me to never forget him. And I never will. 
Thank you to all of the teachers out there for listening and advocating for the students they serve!

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3. World Hemophilia Day

Today is World Hemophilia Day. 

For many summers I had the privilege of taking care of young hemophiliacs at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Many of my pals outside of camp had these crazy misconceptions of the blood disorder. To put it simply, hemophiliacs have low levels of Factor VIII or Factor IX, the proteins needed to clot blood. As my friend and former camper, Conor, recently said in a post, "...it's a crappy disease that can leave you with a giant pile of complications if not managed appropriately."

Who's Conor? Conor is the kid who was the initial inspiration for Monkey Boy. Back in the fall of 1999 I was working at camp and started calling Conor "Monkey Boy" and he started acting the part...for the duration of our camp session! This photo was taken in 2001, shortly before Good Night, Monkey Boy was published. 

What is Conor up to now? He's studying to be a doctor! Seriously, what an inspiration. I'm in touch with many of Conor's peers, and they all grew up to do such amazing things. 

The CDC has posted a great summary of what hemophilia is all about here: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hemophilia/facts.html?mobile=nocontent

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4. A million thank-yous

A million thank-yous to everyone who helped my TED Talk on School Lunch Hero Day reach this milestone. I hope that even more people celebrate their cafeteria staff because of this message being shared so widely. SLHD 2015 is on May 1st!

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5. Why Wisconsin?

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is, "Why Wisconsin?" As in, why does Sheep yell, "Thank you, Wisconsin!" at the end of Punk Farm? "Are you from Wisconsin?"

Well the answer is here. This is my old and dear friend, Fr. Dom from Kenosha. We met at the The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in 1996. I was a summer counselor and Fr. Dom was a volunteer that would come help out throughout the summer. For ten summers I was lucky enough to work with Dom on several occasions. He's a true inspiration! A survivor of cancer himself, he later dedicated himself to helping children with critical illnesses via the Hole in the Wall Gang. He also created Fr. Dom's Duck Doo, a fertilizer made from duck poop—Dom has a wicked sense of humor—with all proceeds going to charity. (You can spot these yellow bags in Punk Farm's barn.) While you can no longer buy bags of Fr. Dom's Duck Doo, you can buy (if you're 21+) bottles of Fr. Dom's Holy Spirits, a line of wines that are named after saints—again, all proceeds going to charity. 

Fr. Dom and I laugh non-stop, often trading gentle barbs. And that is why I set Punk Farm in Wisconsin. 

We caught up over dinner last night. I said, "Fr. Dom, why did you choose the Rainforest Cafe?!" Without missing a beat he said, "Well, I thought you'd feel more comfortable here. What, with Monkey Boy and all..."

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6. PPS 3 Book Tour info

Happy Spring!

Platypus Police Squad: Last Panda standing will be here soon! The official publication date won't be until May 5th, but my newest title will be available at the Chicago-area and Denver events. If you can't make it to an event, but still would like to have a book signed, my local bookshop is offering a 20% discount on online orders of any Platypus titles. (Just click here to order and input "PANDA20" in the customer comment field.)

April 14
Naperville, IL
Anderson's Two Door East 

April 16
Chicago, IL
April 25
Newburyport, MA
Newburyport Book Festival 

April 29
6:30 pm
Pueblo, CO
Pueblo Public Library

April 30
4:30 pm
Denver, CO
Sam Gary Library 

MAY 5 

May 5
10 am, 12 pm & 2 pm ET
Tune in for free!

May 8
South Hadley, MA

May 12
Michigan dates coming!

May 19
Bowling Green, OH
Wood County District Public Library

June 1
Scottsdale, AZ
10:30am / Appaloosa Library
2pm / Arabian Library
4:30pm / Civic Center Library

June 2
Scottsdale, AZ
10:30am / Mustang Library 

And if you really like to plan ahead...

September 5
Washington, D.C.
The National Book Festival

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7. Discount on signed Platypus books for my virtual book talk on May 5th

The Odyssey Bookshop is offering 20% off of all Platypus Police Squad books via their website. All books will come signed and doodled in, also personalized if that is what you want! Use discount code Panda20 at http://odysseybks.com/jarrett-krosoczka.

And I hope that you will attend the free virtual visits on Monday, May 5th at StudioJJK.com!

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8. Finished copy of PPS3!

Look what arrived in the studio today! Final copies of Platypus Police Squad: Last Panda Standing! It'll hit bookshelves on May 5th. Holding a finished, printed book is such a gratifying feeling!

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9. Congratulations, Dan Santat!

This is such HUGE news! I hope I get to make a cameo when I visit you in your studio!

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10. For larger orders of signed Lunch Lady books for School Lunch Hero Day

There have been inquiries for larger orders of signed Lunch Lady books for School Lunch Hero Day. Odyssey Bookshop is my local indie, and they would be more than happy to help you! You can call the store at 413-534-7307
and ask for Hannah, the head of the children's book department. Orders would need to be made by end of business day on Thursday for books to arrive in time for May 1st. Thanks!

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11. "I read all them books!"—five words that will stay with me

Last week I spoke at an after-school program, and it just seemed to be one of those talks that wasn't hitting. The students hadn't seen my books ahead of time, they were restless (it was Friday), we were in a huge gymnasium with no microphone. Even one of the counselors was texting during my talk. I had the younger kids' attention, they were sitting in the front. But the teenagers, who made up the majority of the audience, sat at the back of the bleachers. I powered through my slides and got to the cover of Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute. A teen at the very back who had been slouching the entire time sat straight up and his eyes widened. "You wrote that book?!" he called out, his enthusiasm broke through the tough facade. 

"I did," I called back. 

"I read all them books!" he said, almost in disbelief that the guy who wrote those books was right there. 

Those are five words that I'll carry with me for some time. It is so validating to know that my books brought that kid joy, and it's encouraging to know that even when I think that kids aren't listening, they may be hanging on every word. 

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12. Meltdown is this Saturday!

It's that time of year again! This Saturday will be the 7th annual Meltdown Music and Book Bash at Northampton's Smith Voke HS. 

Gina and I have an exciting lineup of authors for you. Learn more in my radio interview with the ubiquitous Monte Belmonte here: http://wrsi.com/monte/meltdown-2015-jjk/

And check out the author line up! Bill Childs has once again lined up a superlative list of bands to take the stage before and after all of these author slots!

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13. For my friends in the Philly area - Monday at 4:30 pm

I'll be signing books at Children's Book World in Haverford at 4:30 pm on Monday! 

Hope to see you there! 

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14. The National Education Association's digibook about Education Support Professionals

The National Education Association just published a digibook about Education Support Professionals. Learn about what everyone does for the whole child, and read some great stories of magic happening in all corners of our schools. I am proud to have contributed an article on what I see happening in the schools that I visit.

Find the link to the free book here!

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15. This Friday-an event with the Chesterfield County Public Library (Just outside RIchmond, VA)

There is no doubt that I will have a BLAST on Friday with the librarians of Chesterfield County Library. Look at that cool flyer they made! And look at all of the super-fun tweets that they have been sending! If you live nearby, I hope to see you on Friday at 7 p.m.!

Here is the event page on their website:

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16. An interview in Library Sparks magazine

Check out this excerpt from the April 2015 issue of Library Sparks magazine. In this interview I discuss growing up as an artist, growing up with my grandparents and my various projects--including the art that I produced for the 2015 Collaborative Summer Library Program.

Read all about it here:


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17. Books for School Lunch Hero Day

School Lunch Hero Day is coming up on May 1st! There have been a lot of requests for signed books as gifts. Best bet would be to order via my local bookshop. (And always best bet to order early to give them time to process all the orders.)



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18. Happy Valentine's Day!

I would have mailed you a Valentine's Day card....but all the snow....

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19. Boston-area event this Sunday!

An Interactive Afternoon with Jarrett Krosoczka & Jef Czekaj

Wondermore (formerly The Foundation for Children's Books)

Sunday, November 23, 2014 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EST)

Newtonville, MA

Join us at this special afternoon with authors Jarrett Krosoczka and Jef Czekaj.  Participate in two interactive workshops and have a chance to meet the authors and get your books signed.  Limited space available.

Each child needs their own ticket and accompanying adults are free.  There is a max of 3 children per multi-child ticket. This event is best suited for children in grades 2-6.

Please bring paper, pencils and your imagination!

Authors are donating their time to lead this event and all proceeds directly benefit Wondermore.  

An Interactive Afternoon with Jarrett Krosoczka &amp; Jef...


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20. Essentials 2014 holiday window—from start to finish!

See below to learn how this window display came together!

More after the jump! Click on...

A photo posted by Jarrett Krosoczka (@studiojjk) on

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A photo posted by Jarrett Krosoczka (@studiojjk) on

A photo posted by Jarrett Krosoczka (@studiojjk) on

A photo posted by Jarrett Krosoczka (@studiojjk) on

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A photo posted by Jarrett Krosoczka (@studiojjk) on

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21. I will handsell you books on the Saturday after Thabksgiving

Gina and I are ecstatic to help Odyssey Bookshop on Small Business Saturday! Come in for our book recommendations for holiday gift-giving. I'll be happy to sign any book that has my name on the spine. If you don't live nearby, you can even order autographed books online by following this link:  http://www.odysseybks.com/jarrett-krosoczka

Check out our fellow honorary booksellers!

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22. Photos from last weekend's events in NYC—Chris Van Allsburg & E.B. White

Last weekend was just a stellar one! I'm still wrapping my mind around it.

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Van Allsburg at the 92nd St Y. When the invite came in, I was already scheduled to be in California on that Friday to speak at the California School Nutrition Association's Conference. There was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to moderate a conversation with one of my literary heroes—and at such an iconic location, too! I flew a red-eye and made it to NYC on time. After only five hours of sleep on the plane, I managed to lead and nagging conversation on Mr. Van Allsburg's life and work. Here is a photo taken by the very talented Mike Curato:

The conversation was recorded and it will be published on the 92nd St Y podcast. More info as soon as I have it! (Spoiler alert: it got a little emotional at the end for everyone.)

On Sunday, I was at another iconic NYC venue—Symphony Space on Broadway. I hosted a fundraiser for First Book—Manhattan. It's an organization that is near and dear to my heart. Celebrated actors read the works of E.B. White, and it was...terrific! Not only did I host, but I also read the part of Wilbur. Was it intimidating to read alongside such giant talents? Well, when I first met everyone, it was during rehearsal. Imagine the shell shock of seeing Jane Curtin, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Potts, Naomi Watts and Live Schrieber walk onto stage with you? But they quickly put me at ease. David Hyde Pierce hit me on the shoulder, chuckled and said, "That was great!" after I read my first line. By the time the performance came along, all in trepidation had vanished, and I had a blast. The audio was recorded, and hopefully you will get to hear the inspired performances!

Check out more photos on Symphony Space's Facebook page here!

Here are a few of my favorite moments form the show:

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23. The 5th annual auction for the Joe and Shirl Art Scholarships is now live! BID!

Please help me connect kids to an education in the arts by bidding!

Art was a transformative force in my life. It was a life-line during a time that I needed it most. When life at home was hectic, my sketchbook acted as a portal to any world, any reality of my making. I happened to make art my vocation, but not every kid does, and that's OK. Regardless of where one decides to take their talents, a strong education in the arts is integral to their development-as individuals and as learners. Having access to quality arts education not only helped me through difficult times, it also helped me become a creative problem solver. The jobs that our children will someday hold haven't even been invented yet, and that is just one of many reasons why we must provide our youth with adequate access to the arts.
When public funding eliminated the arts education in public schools in the 1980's, I was lucky enough to get sent to classes at the Worcester Art Museum. I was lucky because my grandparents, who raised me, could afford the tuition. At the Worcester Art Museum my world was opened up to classes in life drawing, cartooning and animation, amongst many others. And I gained camaraderie with peers who shared a similar passion for creativity-I was not alone!

I realize that some kids in my hometown may have a unique familial setup as I did, but whose caretakers may not have the resources to afford that tuition. I'm proud to continue to connect those kids with an arts education at the Worcester Art Museum with the 5th annual auction in support of the Joseph and Shirley Krosoczka Memorial Youth Scholarships at the Worcester Art Museum.
Here are the items up for bid in the 2014 auction, which will run until the evening of Sunday, December 7. You won't find items like this anywhere else. Every year I strive to offer something that is unique, and I never repeat items in consecutive years. So please, bid early and bid often--and thank you for helping me support art education!

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24. find magic.

With so much chaos in this world and in our backyard, I hope that you find serenity and peace this season. The merriest of merries to you during these final days of 2014! I appreciate all of the support that you give my books, and I look forward to connecting with you in the new year!

The best of my best,

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Hope to see you at a book reading!

January 31, Huntsville, AL- Learning Expo

February 5, 5:00 pm -Denver, CO- Denver Public Library

March 6, -New Orleans, LA- Read Across America

March 13, 7:00 pm -Richmond, VA- Chesterfield County Public Library

March 21,  -Newport, RI- March Into Reading

March 28, 10:00 am -Northampton, MA- Meltdown!

April 25, -Newburyport, MA- Newburyport Book Festival

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