Ages 13+ | Hey, Kiddo (Graphix)

Hey, Kiddo
Published by: Graphix
Written by: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Illustrated by: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
ISBN: 9780545902489
Ages: 13+


A highly personal and emotionally charged story about coming of age and realizing what family actually means to you, Jarrett Krosoczka’s Hey, Kiddo offers readers a unique insight into one of the graphic novel world’s favorite creators and his personal journey of self-discovery. 

Adopted by his grandpa and restricted by his biological mother from being adopted by his grandmother as well, Jarrett leaves his biological mother’s home (Leslie) because of her misguided decisions and addiction, both of which land her in jail.  Disappointed in the loss of his mother’s presence, Jarrett slowly realizes that perhaps living with his grandparents is a gift, one that they are happy to give him but takes him time to fully understand.

An adopted child with my own feelings of loss due to that reality myself, I highly recommend Hey, Kiddo be embraced in educational settings far and wide.  An excellent behind-the-scenes look at what it means to truly define family through a child’s evolving lens, Hey, Kiddo sheds light on what it’s like to both lose and gain family, blame and forgive family, and, most importantly, move forward with one’s own life and family as an adult.

Elements of Story

Plot: Because of his mother’s addiction and absence during a prolonged time in jail, Jarrett Krosoczka ends up coming of age while living with his Grandma and Grandpa Krosoczka.  As a kid, living with his grandparents is both comforting and confusing for Jarrett.  He not only misses his mother, but also realizes that his grandparents have been the ones to truly take care of him during his childhood.

Major Characters: Jarrett, Grandma Shirley Krosoczka (maiden name Olson), Grandpa Joe Krosoczka, Joey, Leslie (Jarrett’s mom), Stephen, Lynn, Holly, Patrick (Pat), Mark, Mr. Shilale, Miguel, Richard Hennessy (Jarrett’s father), Maura and Richard Hennessy (Jarrett’s half siblings)

Major Settings: City of Worcester, Hope Cemetery, Krosoczka home on Brookline Street, Leslie’s home, McDonald’s, Gates Lane School, Worcester Art Museum, Friendly’s, Minimum Security Home (where Leslie stays after she over doses), Holy Name High School, Grandpa Joe’s factory shop, Holly’s home, the Woods, Richard Hennessy’s Home

Themes: Family, Identity, Belonging, Addiction, Coming of Age, Self-expression & Art

Lesson Plan Recommendation Using the Common Core Standards (CCS) for Young Adults

Common Core Standard(s), Key Ideas and Details:

Key Ideas and Details 
Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.

Directions for Lesson Plan

In Hey, Kiddo Krosoczka shares a story rich with specific dialogue and visual incidents that outline and inform the reader about how he defines “family” over time.

Thinking specifically about the dialogue and visual incidents that reflect how Jarrett is defining family at the beginning of the story, middle of the story, and ending of the story will help readers analyze the key ideas and details that inform Jarrett’s ongoing definition of family. 

*In the dialogue column, students can paraphrase Jarrett’s verbal feelings with 1 or 2 sentences. In the visual column, students can draw a summative image of Jarrett’s feelings so far.


Supportive Dialogue

(quotations/paraphrase with page #s)
Visual Incidents
(recreate visuals w/ page #s)



Chapter 1: Family History


Chapter 2: Life with Leslie


*SUMMARY: How does Jarrett define FAMILY at this point in the story?


Chapter 3: Skipping a Generation


Chapter 4: Disclosure


Chapter 5: Pen to Paper


Chapter 6: Hard Work


SUMMARY: How does Jarrett define FAMILY at this point in the story?


Chapter 7: Ghosts


Chapter 8: Lost and Found


SUMMARY: How does Jarrett define FAMILY at this point in the story?