The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday October 27th


Children's book author champions the arts

You’re never too young to use your imagination, according to Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Krosoczka, an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator, was chosen to speak at the 2013 Steinfirst Lecture on Saturday at Wilson Library. The author, who visits over 100 schools, libraries and bookstores each year, said traveling is part of the process.

“It’s kind of like a band,” he said. “If a band releases a CD or album, you have to tour for it. They need each other.”

The lecture, called “Sketchbook to Publishbook” will focus on Krosoczka’s creative process and how his characters and stories were born and developed. He said that each book format — picture books, graphic novels and chapter books — has its own process.

Gary Marchionini, dean of the School of Information and Library Science, said that the lecture will be a great opportunity to hear about Krosoczka’s creative motivations.

“(Viewers) get a chance to hear what motivates a creative talent — to be inspired,” Marchionini said. “He’s got something to say and he’s a clever guy — he’s kind of a hot item.”

Krosoczka, who has been interested in art since he was a child, said he hopes his audience members see the importance of creativity in their daily lives.

“I hope kids will be encouraged to be more creative in their free time,” he said. “Making a book or a comic isn’t something that has to happen because it’s a school project — creativity is tremendously important regardless of what vocation a child enters in adulthood. Being able to solve problems creatively is essential to any industry, and that comes out of studying art.”

Krosoczka said he hopes people are vocal in how important creativity is to their communities.

“Libraries and art programs are always the first things to be cut, and they definitely need to be championed,” he said. “People who know how important they are should be vocal about it, whether it’s a program that’s on the chopping block or not.”

The author finds both writing and illustrating equally important and said he cannot separate one from the other.

“Children’s books are a natural place to gravitate towards for people who like to write and illustrate,” he said. “I get to use my imagination as my full-time job, doing what I’ve been doing since I was 8 years old. I haven’t stopped since.”

As Krosoczka continues to “grow up,” he said in 10 years, he hopes to be doing the same thing he has been doing for the past 12 years, if readers continue to connect with his books.

That connection, he said, is one of his favorite parts of his job.

“It’s pretty amazing to hear from young readers that my books resonate with them — it’s very validating,” he said. “I get pictures of children’s birthday cakes with my characters on them — to a little kid, that’s like a tattoo.”

While Krosoczka wants to continue affecting the lives of children for years to come in either lectures like Steinfirst or though his works, he said his biggest fans will always be his own children.

“I’m not 100% certain if my younger one realizes that they’re my books,” Krosoczka said. “But my older daughter does — she has ripped off all the awards from the other books in her room and put them onto my books.”

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