Jarrett goes through his childhood trying to make his non-normal life as normal as possible, finding a way to express himself through drawing even as so little is being said to him about what's going on. Only as a teenager can Jarrett begin to piece together the truth of his family, reckoning with his mother and tracking down his father.
Hey, Kiddo is a profoundly important memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, and finding the art that helps you survive.
What worked: This is an amazing memoir told in graphic novel style of a teen that deals with family addiction. It starts off with his grandparent and parent's history. Readers learn what lead up to him living with his grandparents after his mother lands in jail.
I really loved this novel! The author shows what it was like growing up around a love one being a drug addict. It shows the secrets, whispers, and guilt that all family members carry around. Krosoczka shows how art saved him and also helped him cope with the pain he held inside. He includes actual illustrations of his childhood and teen years. There's also photos of his mother and him.
This is the perfect book for a class discussion on how addiction shouldn't be a hush subject. Only when discussions on sensitive subjects like addiction happen, will loved ones not blame themselves.
Krosoczka shows the love he has for his grandparents that raised him. Sure, they weren't 'perfect', but their love helped him. There are so many kids and teens that are raised by their grandparents due to a parent being a drug addict. In my own extended family this has happened when the mother took off and was consumed with drugs. The illustrations on how Krosoczka tries to get his mother to come home and notice him are heart wrenching true for some many others like him.
I especially love how they encouraged him to sign up for an art class. Krosoczka loved art and after his public school cut it out of the budget, having another means available to continue learning how to draw helped him in more ways than one.
Realistic portrayal of a teen dealing with his mother's heroin addiction. Sure to resonate with other kids/teens who live in similar situations. This novel ends with hope and also awareness. Kuddos for handling a sensitive topic in a heartfelt, real way.