As is tradition, Cooper Library hosts an annual evening with a visiting author. This year, acclaimed author Jarret Krosoczka delighted Lower School families with his stories, books, and animations.
Mr. Krosoczka is no ordinary children’s book author. He is a writer, an illustrator, and a storyteller. On Sunday, he visited campus a book signing and presentation where he showed videos that showcased his work on illustrations, and that outlined his personal narrative.
On Monday, Mr. Krosoczka gave three different presentations to the Lower School to talk about his work. He told the students that his favorite book of all time is The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. As a kid growing up in Worcester, Massachusetts, he predominantly stuck to comics: Calvin and Hobbes and Snoopy being some of his favorites.
“I would practice drawing these comics like Snoopy and Ninja Turtles,” said Mr. Krosoczka. “Artists have been emulating artists since the beginning of time.”
However, he did not consider himself much of a reader, even though he later discovered he had accumulated a bin full of reading material.
While attending elementary school, he wrote his first book, which he titled The Owl Who Thought He Was the Best Flyer. Although it was required work, he thoroughly enjoyed the assignment, which was made evident by the last line in the About the Author section, which stated, “He enjoyed making this book.”
In fact, he loved it so much he started to write more. “I would write these books for no reason other than I loved using my imagination,” said Mr. Krosoczka. During this time he started creating Claymation and flipbooks as well.
After publishing comics for his high school newspaper, he decided that was what he wanted to do for a career. He went to Rhode Island School of Design to study illustration.
“I knew I had to get better, so I kept writing,” said Mr. Krosoczka.
During his presentations to the Lower School, he taught the students about persevering following rejection. He cited his the countless number of rejections he received for his first two books and numerous illustrations before a publisher eventually reached out regarding an illustration. Mr. Krosoczka now has 36 published books.
At the end of his presentations, Mr. Krosoczka entertained questions from the students. A few of those questions – and the corresponding answers – are below.
Q: Why did you stop writing the Lunch Lady series?
A: Ah, to frustrate children! I wanted to continue to challenge myself creatively; I’ll probably go back to making more Lunch Lady books one day.
Q: How long does it take you to write one book?
A: Anywhere from one to 12 years.
Q: Which of the books you have written is your favorite?
A: I feel like my books are like my kids, so I could never choose a favorite!
Q: What gives you the drive and passion to keep writing and drawing?
A: I love it; I don’t need more motivation because it’s what I love to do.
Following the Q & A, Mr. Krosoczka selected a few students to draw a squiggle on a drawing board at the front of the room. Mr. Krosoczka would then glance at the shape, before quickly creating an entire character or scene out of the image. To wrap up, he encouraged the students to continue practicing their art, whatever it may be.
“He was really engaging with the students,” said Elizabeth Johnson, director of Cooper Library. “We enjoyed having him on campus and having the ability to host multiple activities surrounding his visit.”