Kadir Nelson An African-American Artist

Kadir Nelson An African-American Artist

                                                      Black History Is Our History: Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Also Known As The ‘Father Of Black History Month’

Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, where it is also known as African-American History Month. It has received official recognition from governments in the United States and Canada, and more recently has been observed in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Wikipedia

Significance: to remember important people and events in the history of the African diaspora

Date: Wed, Feb 1, 2023 – Wed, Mar 1, 2023

Observed for: 53 years

Also called: African-American History Month

Event Length: Month

Observed by: United StatesCanadaUnited Kingdom

Kadir Nelson An African-American Artist

In honor of African-American History Month, I would like to present the art work of Kadir Nelson an African-American Artist.

Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson Illustrator  kadirnelson.com

Kadir Nelson is a Los Angeles–based painter, illustrator, and author who is best known for his paintings often featured on the covers of The New Yorker magazine, and album covers for Michael Jackson and Drake. His work is focused on African-American culture and history. Wikipedia

Born: May 15, 1974 (age 48 years), Silver Spring, MD

Awards: Caldecott MedalSibert MedalMORE

Education: Pratt InstituteWill C. Crawford Senior High School

Nationality: American

Nominations: Caldecott MedalMORE

Known for: Magazine cover illustrations

U.S. History – Young Pap Left

ArtScans CMYK

HEART AND SOUL by Kadir Nelson 2:36 mins

HarperCollins Publishers 969 views Sep 29, 2011

Kadir Nelson, one of this generation’s most accomplished, award-winning artists, has created an epic yet intimate introduction to the history of America and African Americans, from colonial days through the civil rights movement.

Kadir Nelson: 2011 National Book Festival 43:42 mins

Library of Congress  2,292 views Nov 10, 2011

Kadir Nelson appears at the 2011 National Book Festival. Speaker Biography: Writer and illustrator Kadir Nelson, who began drawing at age 3 and painting at age 10, says, “I have always been an artist. It’s part of my DNA.” He began collaborating with writers in 1999, including choreographer Debbie Allen (“Dancing in the Wings”) and Ntozake Shange (“Ellington Was Not a Street”). Nelson debuted as an author with “We Are the Ship.” His current work is “Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans” (HarperCollins). For transcript, captions, and more information visit http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feat….

Kadir Nelson: 2013 National Book Festival 28:03 mins

Library of Congress  2,841 views Dec 12, 2013

Kadir Nelson appears at the 2013 Library of Congress National Book Festival. Speaker Biography: The works of award-winning artist Kadir Nelson have been exhibited worldwide. He is a two-time winner of the Caldecott Honor Award as well as a Coretta Scott King Award. His clients include Coca-Cola, the U.S. Postal Service, Major League Baseball and Dreamworks SKG. His debut as a writer, “We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball,” won the Coretta Scott King Award. Nelson has just published a picture book biography, called “Nelson Mandela.” For captions, transcript, and more information visit http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feat…


The Undefeated 2019

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Undefeated
Author Kwame Alexander
Illustrator Kadir Nelson
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Versify/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date April 2, 2019
Pages 40
Awards Caldecott MedalCoretta Scott King AwardNewbery Honor
ISBN 978-1-328-78096-6

The Undefeated is a 2019 poem by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. The poem’s purpose is to inspire and encourage black communities, while also delivering a tribute to black Americans of all occupations in past years. The poem describes the toughness black Americans faced during times such as slavery, and segregation in America. Nelson’s illustrations also provide a visual for the meaning of the poem. The book was well received and won the 2020 Caldecott Medal and a Newbery Honor.[1] Kadir Nelson’s artwork also earned it a Coretta Scott King Award.[2]


We Are the Ship 2008     


4.3/5 · Goodreads

We Are the Ship got a 4.26 stars review on Goodreads.  92% liked this book Google users


“We are the ship; all else the sea.”—Rube Foster, founder of the Negro National League The story of Negro League baseball is the story of gifted athletes and determined owners; of racial discrimination and international sportsmanship; of fortunes won and lost; of triumphs and defeats on and off the field. … Google Books

Originally published: January 8, 2008

Author: Kadir Nelson

Genre: Young adult fiction

Awards: Sibert MedalCoretta Scott King Award for Authors

Nominations: Sibert MedalMORE


In this video

00:44 Negro Baseball

02:34 Rhys Goose Tatum and Richard King Tutt

03:48 Hank Aaron

04:43 Willie Wells

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans 2011

Heart and Soul

Kadir Nelson’s Heart and Soul is the winner of numerous awards, including the 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Award and Illustrator Honor, and the recipient of five starred reviews.

The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. This is the story of the men, women, and children who toiled in the hot sun picking cotton for their masters; it’s about the America ripped in two by Jim Crow laws; it’s about the brothers and sisters of all colors who rallied against those who would dare bar a child from an education. It’s a story of discrimination and broken promises, determination, and triumphs.

Told through the unique point of view and intimate voice of a one-hundred-year-old African-American female narrator, this inspiring book demonstrates that in gaining their freedom and equal rights, African Americans helped our country achieve its promise of liberty and justice—the true heart and soul of our nation.

Nelson Mandela 2013


One day when Nelson Mandela was nine years old, his father died and he was sent from his village to a school far away from home, to another part of South Africa. In Johannesburg, the country’s capital, Mandela saw fellow Africans who were poor and powerless. He decided then that he would work to protect them. When the government began to keep people apart based on the color of their skin, Mandela spoke out against the law and vowed to fight hard in order to make his country a place that belonged to all South Africans.

Kadir Nelson tells the story of Mandela. It is the story of a young boy’s determination to change South Africa and of the struggles of a man who eventually became the president of his country. Readers will be inspired by Mandela’s triumph.


5/5 · Scholastic Teacher Store

Nelson Mandela got a 5 stars review on Scholastic Teacher Store.

Did you like this book?

This stunning picture book biography of Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson is a receipient of the Coretta Scott King Honor award.In this lush, acclaimed book, award-winning author-illustrator Kadir Nelson … Google Books

Originally published: January 2, 2013

Author: Kadir Nelson

Genre: Biography

Awards: NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Children’s

Illustrator: Kadir Nelson

 Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad 2007

Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad


Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story
from the Underground Railroad

by Ellen Levine; illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Henry’s Freedom Box tells the true story of Henry, a young boy who grows into a man under the harsh conditions of slavery, all the time yearning to be free. After he is separated from his family for the second time (once as a son, once as a father), Henry comes up with the idea of mailing himself to freedom in the north.

What an inspirational, thought-provoking, and stunningly illustrated story. What makes it all the more magical is that it’s loosely based on the true story of a man who escaped slavery by mailing himself to freedom inside a wooden crate (An author’s note at the back shares what happened to Henry ‘Box’ Brown later in his life.) Illustrator Kadir Nelson has truly captured the humanity and emotions of the characters. Moving! This is an inspiring anytime read, but would be ideal for units on slavery and the Underground Railroad.

The book won quite a number of prestigious children’s book awards, including the Caldecott Honor in 2008. Additionally, the book was named to many ‘best books’ lists, including the American Library Association Notable Children’s Book in 2008 and the National Council for Social Studies Notable Social Studies Book in 2008.

See Inside Henry’s Freedom Box

Below are two sample pages from inside Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad. What a beautifully illustrated book! The left is a portrait of the main character, Henry, as a child and the middle page shows Henry visiting his sick master, who had called for him. Henry wondered if perhaps the master would set him free, as some slaves were freed upon the death of their owners. Sadly, that was not why he was called to see the master.


In this video 9:53 mins

00:52 The master is ill

08:16 Arrival in Philadelphia

09:38 Outro

If You Plant a Seed 2015

The bestselling book about the power of one kind act from Caldecott Medal and Coretta Scott King Award winner Kadir Nelson.

“Timeless and delectable.”—School Library Journal

If you plant a carrot seed . . . a carrot will grow.

If you plant a cabbage seed . . . cabbage will grow.

But what happens if you plant a seed of kindness . . . or selfishness?

With spare text and breathtaking oil paintings, If You Plant a Seed demonstrates not only the process of planting and growing for young children but also how a seed of kindness can bear sweet fruit.

Kadir Nelson’s acclaimed books include The Undefeated, winner of the Caldecott Medal as the most distinguished picture book of the year, Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans, and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom.


Book Description

for Change Has Come by Kadir Nelson

From the Publisher

The black and white images throughout are personal reflections, uniquely felt and rendered by award winning artist Kadir Nelson. They are accompanied by the uplifting words of Barack Obama and commemorate the movement and the moment that have changed our history. It’s a celebration of the power of inspiration. It’s a celebration of how far we have come and how determined we are to look ahead. It’s a celebration of pride, hope and joy personally felt and publically shared.

Most of all it’s a celebration of the 44th president – a new president and a new chapter in the American story.

Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.

Change Has Come Book Video 00:56

CBS 1,461 views Jan 6, 2009

A special video for Change Has Come: An Artist Celebrates Our American Spirit, with illustrations by award winning artist Kadir Nelson, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. Change Has Come is a celebration of how far we have come and how determined we are to look ahead. It’s a celebration of pride, hope and joy personally felt and publically shared. Most of all it’s a celebration of the 44th president – a new president and a new chapter in the American story.



Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream got a 4.24 stars review on Goodreads.

4.5/5Inside Out Club

Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream got a 4.5 stars review on Inside Out Club.

92% liked this book

Google users


Michael Jordan. The mere mention of the name conjures up visions of basketball played at its absolute best. But as a child, Michael almost gave up on his hoop dreams, all because he feared he’d never grow tall enough to play the game that would one day make him famous. … Google Books

Originally published: 2000

Authors: Roslyn JordanDeloris Jordan

Genres: FictionBasketball story

Age range: 4 – 8 Years barnesandnoble.com

Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream

Deloris Jordan. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-83371-7

Michael Jordan’s mother and sister team up for an inspirational story about this athlete’s earliest on-court efforts. Nelson (Big Jabe) is also a strong player here; he contributes animated art, rendered in a cartoon style that is informal yet polished. In the opening scenario, a bully intimidates young Jordan during a basketball game at a neighborhood park, causing him to flub a pass. Michael tells his older brothers, “”I am really sorry, guys. If I were taller that wouldn’t have happened.”” When he asks his mother what will make him grow, she advises him to put salt in his shoes and say a prayer every night. Though he obliges Dand continues to practice shooting baskets at home Dhis efforts don’t immediately pay off. One day, his father convinces him that, rather than being tall, “”practice, determination, and giving your best”” are the keys to being “”a real winner,”” and Michael runs off to join his brothers in the park, where he makes the game’s winning shot. Though the book ends with a rather facile slam-dunk, the authors offer authoritative insight into this six-foot-six-inch-tall hoopster’s boyhood spunk as well as reassurance to young athletes impatient for a growth spurt. Nelson handily balances in-your-face on-court action with more reflective portraits of the player’s inner growth. All ages. (Nov.)


Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream 8:28 mins

KV Teach 26,109 views Feb 25, 2021 #classroombookaday


Q&A with Kadir Nelson 3:37 mins

Scholastic  15,107 views Sep 26, 2013

Illustrator Kadir Nelson explains the inspiration, experiences, and processes behind his work. To view his artwork for The Art of Read Every Day, and to download Common Core-ready resources and information about Kadir Nelson, visit The Art of Read Every Day collection: www.scholastic.com/readeveryday/art

Meet the Illustrator: Kadir Nelson 11:59 mins

AdLit  16,124 views Sep 23, 2010

Kadir Nelson is a naturally gifted artist whose extraordinary talent continues to develop and be discovered. Before the age of 30, Nelson had already illustrated children’s books, sold paintings to celebrities, and worked on a movie directed by Steven Spielberg. In 2007 Kadir Nelson received a Caldecott Honor for his evocative illustrations in Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom. In 2008 he won a second Caldecott Honor for his artwork in Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad. To view the full version of this and other author interviews, visit us at www.adlit.org! AdLit.org is funded by the Ann B. and Thomas L. Friedman Family Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Acclaimed artist Kadir Nelson on what influences his paintings 8:26 mins

PBS NewsHour 1,699 views Nov 20, 2022

Award-winning artist Kadir Nelson is known for his oil paintings that evoke both modern urban realism and the masterly works of turn-of-the century American painters. For our Weekend Spotlight, Geoff Bennett spoke to Nelson while he was in Washington, D.C., for the unveiling of his portrait of humanitarian chef José Andrés at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Stream your PBS favorites with the PBS app: https://to.pbs.org/2Jb8twG Find more from PBS NewsHour at https://www.pbs.org/newshour Subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2HfsCD6

Artist Kadir Nelson – Illustrations of Pride and Soul CBS Sunday Morning 5 mins

Black Art News  3,175 views Jul 31, 2016

One of our favorite artists and illustrators, Kadir Nelson, whose work is found among the collections of some of entertainment’s elite stars like Debbie Allen, Michael Jackson, Will Smith and George Lucas, is visited by CBS Sunday Morning’s Ben Tracy. The artist touches on his work on magazines, albums, posters and postage stamps. Then there are the children’s books – more than two dozen in fact. Ben meets the illustrator who counts Norman Rockwell and N.C. Wyeth among his influences – and who explains what happens when his paintbrush takes up wings and begins to fly. For art news, everyday, visit us at: www.BlackArtNews.com To Submit News: http://www.blackartnews.com/submit-ne… Pinterest: http://www.Pinterest.com/BlackArtNews Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/BlackArtNews Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/BlackArtNews

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/blac…

Kadir Nelson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kadir Nelson (May 15, 1974) is a Los Angeles–based painter, illustrator, and author who is best known for his paintings often featured on the covers of The New Yorker magazine, and album covers for Michael Jackson and Drake. His work is focused on African-American culture and historyThe New York Times describes his work as: “sumptuous, deeply affecting work. Nelson’s paintings are drenched in ambience, and often overt symbolism.[1] He has twice been a Caldecott honor recipient and won the 2020 Caldecott Medal for his book The Undefeated


In 1996, Nelson began his career as a conceptual artist for Steven Spielberg‘s feature film Amistad, and the animated feature film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. Nelson has since designed several commemorative postage stamps for the United States Postal Service including stamps featuring Wilt Chamberlain,[2] Joe Dimaggio,[3] and Richard Wright.[4] He has also authored and/or illustrated over 30 picture books including, Brothers of the Knight[5] by actress Debbie AllenWE ARE THE SHIP: The Story of Negro League Baseball,[6] which was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated[7] magazine, and Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans.[8] In 2013, Nelson was commissioned to paint his first cover for The New Yorker magazine, a portrait of Nelson Mandela.[9] Nelson has since created several memorable covers for the magazine including, Eustace Negro,[10] Schomburg Center, Harlem, New York,[11] and A Day at the Beach.[12]

Early life and education[edit]

Nelson was born in Washington D.C.,[13] and grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey and San Diego, California, the son of author Emily Gunter and educator Lenwood Nelson.[14] He received his early training in art from his uncle, Michael Morris, who is an artist and art instructor.[15] Both his uncle and his high school art teacher taught him important artistic principles and techniques, including how to paint with oils. After developing an impressive portfolio during high school, Crawford High in San Diego, Kadir Nelson earned a partial scholarship to the prestigious Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Nelson earned his BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York in 1996.[16]


In August 1999, Nelson’s paintings depicting Negro league baseball scenes were featured in Sports Illustrated magazine on its opening Leading Off pages.[17] They were some of the first paintings in a series of works that led to Nelson writing and illustrating a book commemorating the history of the Negro Baseball Leagues entitled, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro Leagues Baseball, published by Jump at the Sun in 2008.[6] Nelson’s critically acclaimed[18][19][20] authorial debut was created over the span of seven years and earned Nelson the Sibert Medal, a Coretta Scott King Author Award and Illustrator Honor. We Are the Ship was released by Brilliance Audio as an audiobook in 2009, narrated by voice actor Dion Graham.

In 2008, Nelson was commissioned by the US House of Representatives to paint the official portrait of Representative Shirley Anita Chisholm. The original painting hangs in the US Capitol Building in Washington DC.[21]

In 2017, Nelson was commissioned to paint a portrait of Henrietta Lacks to promote HBO’s upcoming film,[22] The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, based on the book by Rebecca Skloot. The painting was exhibited at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, Maryland and other venues. The painting was later co-acquired by the Smithsonian museums National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.[23]

Album cover art[edit]

Nelson created the mural used as cover art for Swizz Beatz‘s 2002 album Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories.

In 2005, Nelson was contacted by Michael Jackson to create a commissioned painting of the King of Pop’s life story. The commission was delayed and shelved for several years until the untimely death of the singer in 2009.[24] Upon which Nelson was tapped to resume the portrait to be used later for the posthumously released album titled Michael.[25][26] On Friday, December 10, 2010, a 29,070-square-foot (2,701 m2) poster depicting the Michael album artwork was erected at the Rectory Farm in MiddlesexEngland, which broke a Guinness World Record for the largest poster in the world.[27]

In 2013, Nelson was contacted by recording artist Drake to create two covers for his album Nothing Was the Same.[28] The album artwork became a signature work for the recording artist, and the subject of multiple internet memes.[29] The album remained on the Billboard 200 sales chart for more than 400 weeks after its release in 2013.[30]

Recognition and honors[edit]

Nelson has received multiple Gold and Silver Medals from the New York Society of Illustrators. In February 2014, Nelson was awarded the Hamilton King Award for best illustration of the year. Nelson is also the recipient of three NAACP Image Awards for his illustrated picture books, and the New York Times Best Illustrated Book for We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball.

Nelson is a two-time Caldecott Honor Award winner. In 2020, Nelson won the Caldecott Medal and Coretta Scott King Award for his illustrations in The Undefeated.[31] He received an NAACP Image Award for the book Just the Two of Us. For his book, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, he received the 2008 CASEY Award for best baseball book,[32] the 2009 Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the 2009 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award.[33] His book, Nelson Mandela, was a Coretta Scott King Honor[34] book in 2014.[35]


Nelson has had exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States and the world, including the Muskegon Museum of Art,[36] Chicago Art Institute, and The Studio Museum in Harlem.[37]

Kadir Nelson’s portrait of Henrietta Lacks was recently jointly acquired by The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Lacks’ portrait was commissioned by HBO.[38]

For more information, please visit the following link:


🙂 Have A Happy Valentine’s Day  Every One 🙂

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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.

Read transcript

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: paganomedia.com

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, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gZLKNcFzKk&t=60s2014  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 StudioJJK.com. Animation by Jesse Schmal: www.jesseschmal.com Music by Recess Monkey: recess monkey.com           

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? PlayingByTheBook.net 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! StudioJJK.com/contact.html

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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