Published by Graphix
Summary: Jarrett Krosoczka spent his first few years with his mother until his grandparents intervened and got custody of him. It was not until he was a teenager that he learned that she had been a heroin addict from the age of 13. Jarrett grew up with Joe and Shirley, his mother’s parents. Despite their drinking, smoking, and occasional unkind words, they loved him deeply and did their best to provide him with a good home and to support his artistic ambitions. This memoir also includes Jarrett’s memories of friends, school, and the first time he met his father and half brother and sister during his senior year in high school. Determined not to let his past curtail his future, he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and has gone on to create many beloved children’s books, perhaps most famously the Lunch Lady series. Includes an author’s note with more information about his life, the people in the book, and how he came to create this memoir. 320 pages; grades 8 and up.
Pros: A National Book Award finalist, this graphic memoir is hard to put down (I read it in one sitting). My already high esteem for Jarrett Krosoczka (whom I once arranged to have visit my school) grew to worshipful admiration as I learned of all the obstacles he has overcome to achieve his success. The artwork is particularly effective, with the beginning of each chapter including actual documents, many of them letters his mother wrote to him from jail and halfway houses.
Cons: I was hoping to get this for my middle school library, but the language and subject matter make it more of a high school/adult book.