Jarrett J. Krosoczka Live Drawings of human experience, TED

Jarrett J. Krosoczka Live Drawings of human experience, TED


July 2021     Live drawings of the human experience

In this live drawing performance and poignant autobiographical journey, author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka sketches some life-shaping moments, showing us how drawing and storytelling can help us honor and remain close to those we’ve lost.

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This talk was presented at an official TED conference. TED’s editors chose to feature it for you.

Learn more about Camp Sunshine, a wonderful camp in Maine that serves children with life-threatening illnesses.

Learn: Learn more about Serious Fun Children’s Network, a family of camps located globally that empower children and young adults with life-threatening illnesses.

About the speaker

Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Author, illustrator

An author and illustrator of many children’s books and graphic novels, Jarrett J. Krosoczka creates stories with humor, heart and deep respect for young readers.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s resource list



Sunshine: A Graphic Novel

Jarrett J.Krosoczka | Graphix (2023)                                                       




Hey, Kiddo: A Graphic Novel                                                                                                       Jarrett J. Krosoczka | Graphix (2018)





Monkey Boy to Lunch Lady

Jarrett J. Krosoczka | StudioJJK (2011)







See speaker profile

Jarrett J. Krosoczka delights the crowd with live drawing presentation paired with a poignant autobiographical journey. He speaks at TEDMonterey: The Case for Optimism on August 2, 2021 (Photo: Bret Hartman / TED)

Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author, illustrator

Big idea: Stories keep people alive and help us remember, share and process the human experience.

How? Equipped with sheets of paper and a mug full of markers, Jarrett J. Krosoczka takes us on an autobiographical journey during a live drawing presentation. He begins by drawing his younger self surrounded by his grandfather and the ancestors he was introduced to through family stories. Krosoczka used his sketchbook as a means of escape from the chaos of his upbringing and as a way to connect with his incarcerated mother, who was also an artist. As a teenager, he volunteered at a camp for children with cancer, befriending a four-year-old boy named Eric who had recently been diagnosed with Leukemia. Krosoczka’s drawing of Eric is vibrant, depicting the boy with a Power Rangers sword in hand and a huge grin. Krosoczka shares the difficulties of recounting his experience at the camp in his graphic memoir, Sunshine, and how its creation forced him to come face-to-face with unspoken losses. While this can be painful, he explains, stories are an opportunity to understand the human experience, deal with absence and bring loved ones back to life on the page.

meet JJK  Jul 17, 2020  Jarrett J. Krosoczka—author & illustrator

Jarrett J. Krosoczka is the New York Times-bestselling author/illustrator behind more than forty books for young readers, including his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, select volumes of the Star Wars™: Jedi Academy series, and Hey, Kiddo, which was a National Book Award Finalist. Krosoczka creates books with humor, heart, and deep respect for his young readers—qualities that have made his titles perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries, and bookstores. In addition to his work in print, Krosoczka produced, directed, and performed in the audiobook adaptation of his graphic memoir, which garnered both Audie and Odyssey Awards for excellence in audiobook production. Krosoczka has been a guest on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and has delivered two TED Talks, which have collectively accrued more than two million views online. Young creatives can also hear Krosoczka weekly on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live and catch his wildly popular web show on YouTube, Draw Every Day with JJK. He also acted as a consultant and appeared in live segments of Creative Galaxy on Prime Video. Realizing that his books can inspire young readers beyond the page, Krosoczka founded School Lunch Hero Day, a national campaign that celebrates school lunch staff. A consummate advocate for arts education, Krosoczka also established the Joseph and Shirley Krosoczka Memorial Youth Scholarships, which fund art classes for underprivileged children, in his hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts. Krosoczka lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and children, and their pugs, Ralph and Frank. Video produced by Pagano Media:

Jarrett J. Krosoczka  Why lunch ladies are heroes

TED@NYC  July 2014

Why lunch ladies are heroes

Children’s book author Jarrett Krosoczka shares the origins of the Lunch Lady graphic novel series, in which undercover school heroes serve lunch…and justice! His new project, School Lunch Hero Day, reveals how cafeteria lunch staff provide more than food, and illustrates how powerful a thank you can be.

Read transcript

This talk was presented at an official TED conference. TED’s editors chose to feature it for you.

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish— picture book by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Feb 13,  Jarrett J. Krosoczka—author & illustrator

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish are the best of friends. They swim up. They swim down. They swim all around. Except near Crabby, who never has anything nice to say to them. “You two swim like humans” is the least of his insults. Then one day Crabby is caught in a lobster trap and needs their help! Should they help him? It’s Peanut Butter and Jellyfish to the rescue! Crabby might be afraid of heights . . . but will he be brave enough to apologize? For the grown-ups: Learn more about Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s books at Animation by Jesse Schmal: Music by Recess Monkey: recess           

10 books I read to my daughters

Jarrett Krosoczka shares some of the children’s books that he thinks are destined to become classics. See the books that fill his home.

10 great children’s books destined to become classics

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May January 9, 2013 at 11:17 am EST

[ted id=1644 width=560 height=315]Jarrett J. Krosoczka — the man behind the Lunch Lady crime-fighting graphic novel series — credits his imagination with saving his life.

In today’s talk, given at TEDxHampshireCollege, Krosoczka shares the story of how he became a children’s book author and illustrator. It isn’t a story full of rainbows and kittens — instead it stars a mom battling heroine addiction and the grandparents who raised him. But there is a guest star — children’s book author Jack Gantos, of Rotten Ralph fame, who visited Krosoczka’s classroom in the third grade. While there, Gantos strolled by Krosoczka’s desk and noticed the child drawing his classic character. “Nice cat,” he said.

“They were two words that made a colossal difference in my life,” says Krosoczka.

Krosoczka wrote his first children’s book, The Owl Who Thought He Was The Best Flyer, that same year — and it was followed by many more. The characters Krosoczka created became his friends.

Today, Krosoczka has published 10 assorted picture books, eight Lunch Lady graphic novels and the upcoming chapter book, Platypus Police Squad. And in today’s charming talk, Krosoczka shares the moments that encouraged him along the way, as well the many teachers who inspired him. To hear more, watch this talk. And below, we asked Krosoczka to tell us 10 new children’s books that he thinks are bound to become classics. It’s a task Krosoczka took on with gusto while, of course, snapping a series of images of his two daughters to go with it.

Writes Krosoczka…

When my wife Gina and I were setting up the nursery for our first child, we realized that it would be as important to stock the room with books as it would be to stock it with diapers. We have two daughters now, and we began reading to both of them when they were just days old. Gina and I keep books in every room of our house, and at the kids’ level so they can grab them at their leisure. We also have a tradition wherein our kids select different books to sleep with every night.

At the very beginning, although our then babies had no idea what was transpiring in each book, they were, more importantly, being introduced to the concept of reading. As their minds grew, so did their ability to grasp more complex story lines, and we were introduced to some wonderful characters. Some were, of course, characters Gina and I knew from our own childhoods—Strega Nona, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Cat in the Hat, Nicholas the bunny. But many were new fictional friends from books that have recently been published.

As an author/illustrator of children’s books myself, I feel so fortunate to be working in such a rich era of creativity. My peers are publishing books that will no doubt entertain children for generations to come. Through the lens of the Krosoczka family, here is our list of books that star the top 10 contemporary characters (in no particular order) that we believe will become classic characters.

Hip And Hop, Don’t Stop!
By Jef Czekaj

Hip is a turtle who raps slooooowly. Hop is a rabbit who raps quickly.  It’s an incredibly playful read, especially since Hip’s raps are printed in red and Hop’s are printed in green, so you can try your hand at rapping at the correct tempo. Czekaj’s book is like 8-Mile meets The Tortoise and the Hare. Fans of both old skool and current hip-hop will love this book.

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!
By Grace Lin

In this early reader, Lin’s stories are broken down into tiny chapters. This book has been especially helpful, as it’s hooked our oldest daughter on dumplings, which the twin girls make in the book. We’ve literally read it at the dinner table. Our dog-eared copy is currently being held together by tape, it’s been read so often.

By Loren Long

In 2009, Otis the tractor putt-puff-puttedy chuffed his way into our hearts. Long’s Otis books feel like they’ve been around for decades, yet the stories are not at all antiquated, much like the lovable tractor himself! These books will charm the heck out of you without leaving any trace of a saccharine taste in your mouth.

You Will Be My Friend!
By Peter Brown

Lucy the bear will make your kids laugh out loud in her failed attempts to make new friends. The exclamation point in the title says it all—she’s very aggressive. You Will Be My Friend! is a follow-up to Brown’s Children Make Terrible Pets, which rates equally high on the laugh-out-loud Richter scale.

The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone
By Timothy Basil Ering

If there is hope for Cementland, Frog Belly Rat Bone is it. When a boy discovers a treasure, he’s dismayed that it’s nothing but a grey speck.  He is instructed to put it into the ground and wait. He does so, and then creates Frog Belly, complete with oversized tighty-whities, to protect his treasure. SPOILER ALERT: A magnificent garden grows. Ering’s paintings are as suitable for museum walls as they are for the pages of a picture book.

Babymouse graphic novel series
By Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm

The Holm siblings created a spirited, cupcake-loving, put-upon everymouse, and in doing so spearheaded a contemporary movement for kids’ comics. A typical evening will find me telling my oldest daughter that we are only going to read the first few pages of a Babymouse book — but then we get into it and I can’t resist reading all 96 pages.

Bake Sale
By Sara Varon

We have read this graphic novel no less than 40 times. That is no exaggeration. And it’s no small feat—this book clocks in at 160 pages. It’s become like a security blanket for our oldest daughter. Cupcake has a successful bakery and he’s in a band with his friends, but he’s in a baking rut. And his best friend is Eggplant. This book is simply awesome.

Skippyjon Jones
By Judy Schachner

A Siamese cat thinks he’s a Chihuahua. It is a muy fantastico adventure with dashes of Español. The language is energetic and it is absurdity perfected. Skippito makes our hearts skip a beat-o.

Hooray for Fish!
By Lucy Cousins

Little Fish’s adventure swimming through the sea is a short and simple tale leading to the one he loves the best—Mommy Fish. The language is playful and the colors are bold. It’s a perfect board book for babies and we’ve read it countless times.

Cat the Cat, Who Is That?
By Mo Willems

Mo Willems’s Pigeon and Knuffle Bunny books have been around for just under a decade, but they’ve already reached “classic” status. However, in our home, it’s his Cat the Cat series that stands as iconic. The books are short and have predictable text that is perfect for emerging readers. But this is a Mo Willems book, so predictability is eventually turned on its head with hilarious results. The Cat the Cat books are also perfect for the “one-more-book syndrome” of stalling bedtime. You can satisfy that need with a super-quick read that won’t leave your kid feeling swindled.

I could go on and on, but I was asked to list just ten. And yes, we do read my books from time to time as well. My oldest daughter, though—a teenager trapped in a preschooler’s body—often rebels against them. “What is this book called?” I asked my then three-year-old as I held up one of my books. “Nothing Never Happens,” she replied, without missing a beat. Her defiant streak aside, she has gone so far as to hand sell “daddy’s books” to strangers at bookstores. I’m told that people have most enjoyed Baghead, Punk Farm, and the Lunch Lady books. As I now truly know as a parent, it is a remarkable honor to be welcomed into the imaginations of young people.

Oh, and our pug — Ralph Macchio — is very supportive of my work.

Want more TED Talks linked to children’s books? has created this awesome playlist for you.

For more information, please visit the following links:

bookschildren’s booksJarrett KrosoczkakidsTEDTalksTEDxTEDxHampshireCollege

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“Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s ability to connect with a virtual audience with authenticity and heart created a visit that was more connected than other in-person author events. We could not be more happy to have had Jarrett join our two schools together with one theme to recognize the stories all around each of us. Thank you!”

             —Lake Stevens School District??????

Virtual Author Visits with Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Feb 24, 2021

Jarrett J. Krosoczka—author & illustrator

There have been so many advantages to visiting with students virtually. Contact Authors Unbound Agency to schedule my program for your school or library. With no travel to worry about, I can visit just about any time—next week, next month, or next season!

Jarrett Krosoczka (Hey, Kiddo) discussed his life and work with elementary school students from public and private schools in the region at St. Anne’s Belfield lower school in Charlottesville on 3/20/19
Pat Jarrett/Virginia Humanities
Jarrett Krosoczka (Hey, Kiddo) discussed his life and work with elementary school students from public and private schools in the region at St. Anne’s Belfield lower school in Charlottesville on 3/20/19
Pat Jarrett/Virginia Humanities

“The event was a tremendous success. Jarrett J. Krosoczka was able to present to students who had just read his book, Hey, Kiddo over the summer for their required summer reading assignment for rising juniors and seniors. Jarrett’s ability to engage his audience of high school students is incredible! Not only is he a clear, well-spoken storyteller, but his PowerPoint also helps to tell the story as he speaks through a fast-moving, well-designed presentation. The Q&A portion of the event was a great addition with Jarrett drawing live on stage. There is no doubt that Jarrett truly left an impact on the students and faculty that day.”

           —Brockton Area Prevention Collaborative???????

Jarrett is SO excited to get back out there to present IRL on your stage! Inspired by the setup for his online tutorials, Jarrett will spend the first 20-30 minutes of stage time delivering a traditional slide lecture and then 20-30 minutes of live drawing while simultaneously answering questions from audience members.

Jarrett has crisscrossed the country dozens of times over, presenting to students in Pre-K through college. There is no size audience that he doesn’t love getting in front of.

Jarrett will focus on different titles, depending on the age group. Every age level will be mesmerized by Jarrett’s live drawing while he fields their questions!

“As we expected, Jarrett’s presentations were just what our community, both library and school communities, needed to hear. I knew that Jarrett was the ‘real deal’ and exposing himself and his life through Hey, Kiddo expressed not only his vulnerability but the importance of seeing beyond one’s situation and understanding the whole person.”

—Waupaca Reads

Jarrett’s graphic memoir ?Hey, Kiddo has proven to be a very popular selection for One Book-One Region events. With so many titles for younger readers, his events have been perfect for organizers who want to reach the entire community!

“?????Jarrett is so good at creating a joyous feel…a real sense of humor and earnestness.”?

?        —Robin Adelson, former director of the Children’s Book Counil

Jarrett is available to host your literary event! He keeps the event flowing, offering engaging and humorous commentary throughout. Check out the photos above for a look at some of the amazing events that he has served as MC for!

For more information, please visit the following link:

Ing’s Comments:

I enjoyed watching TED’s video, “Live Drawings of human experience”, presented by Mr. Jarrett J. Krosoczka.  Through my research on his activities, I have grown to admire his ability to utilize his time to cultivate his love of drawing.  He was lucky to have very loving and caring grandparents.  His imaginative talent of creating children books inspires children not only in the US, but all over the world. 

I respect and honor Mr. Jarrett J Krosoczka, and many others that help cultivate children to love reading, and understand how lives evolve around us. Hopefully this will encourage them to be happier, and become better human beings. 

I hope these young people will be able to govern themselves and spread a message to the whole world to be more peaceful and civilized. 

I hope they will not have to face dictators being able to harm any country.   Putin’s Russia is a perfect example, as he continues right now killing the population and destroying all the properties of Ukraine.  

Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts, Tuesday, April 19, 2022 

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