Today's book is slightly different from titles that I have reviewed previously. Nevertheless, this book is a reminder that books are needed in our every day lives because many times they help us deal with difficult situations. Many young readers need books that are relatable to what they may be going through in their lives but also books that can also impact their lives in many ways.
Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka has been talked about profusely in the literary world and for good reason. The book is a National Award Book Finalist , a starred reviewed book from many prolific reviewers, and I am sure to be an ALA most notable read in the future. Krosoczka has given readers a graphic novel depiction of his childhood growing up in his grandparents home, while his mother was a drug addict in and out of jail. This graphic novel was mind blowing for me for many reasons. It is not only an eye opening read into the life of someone who knows a drug addict but it truly depicts how we over come these obstacles in our lives and to truly discover who we are and who we become.
Now, this graphic novel is definitely for our older readers. The recommended age is 12 & up, but I still wouldn't say no to 10 & up, only because this issue is becoming more predominate in our society today that I find the read to be extremely important. Drug addiction can be seen just about anywhere and the age of drug addiction is getting younger and younger. This book definitely depicts the reality of it for Krosoczka, learning his mother would be in jail at such a young age was beyond difficult for him but also so sad to read. However, we not only get a depiction on life with a drug addict, as I stated we get an eye opening experience of over coming it. Krosoczka developed a love of art at an early age, and his grandparents highly supported this desire, even though there may have been a few bumps in the road with the support. His grandmother was not an easy woman to get along with by any means. Nevertheless, he persevered and has now become a well known graphic novel artist in the literary world. Many readers many know his work in the Lunch Lady series but also some of the books in the Star Wars Jedi Academy Series. I feel that is such an inspiration to young readers everywhere.
Hey Kiddo is definitely a different genre for the author/illustrator, but he felt such an intense need to write this book and I don't blame him.I remember watching an interview he did where he stated that his book could possibly stop a child going down the same path as his mother (she began using drugs when I believe she was 16 he stated). Drug addiction is a huge problem in our society today, so a read such as this can one prevent it from possibly becoming a problem for a kid, but also show them that they can over come it. Now many of you may read this and go, I don't know if this is right for my preteen, teen to read; however I plead with you to take a moment to read it yourselves to truly see the amazing things that this graphic novel has to offer. It may even be eye opening for you as well. But as I have stated many times, books are such a wonderful way to know that we are not alone, and Hey Kiddo is just that book for our young readers.
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