About Jennifer L. Holm
This book, Turtle in Paradise, started with a story my mom liked to tell about her childhood. During the summers, her grandmother would take her to Key West to visit her relatives. Her mother made her promise to “shake her shoes out.” My mom didn’t know why her mother wanted her to do this, but she did it anyway. And then one hot day, she shook her shoes and out popped . . . a scorpion!
Writing Turtle in Paradise was a wonderful way to re-connect with my Key West heritage. My great-grandmother, Jennie Lewin Peck, emigrated from the Bahamas to Key West at the turn of the century. She considered herself a “Conch,” what the local Key West folks called themselves, after the native mollusk that so many fished for in the Bahamas. Nana was always talking about how she missed sugar apple ice cream and Spanish limes. When my editor, Shana Corey, started asking me about Nana and my Key West family, I just knew that there was a story somewhere in there.
Researching this book was also an interesting way to experience a different side of living through the Great Depression. While Key West suffered significant economic hardship (the town went bankrupt and the majority of the citizens were on economic relief), it didn’t have the same sort of feel as most of the depression stories I was used to hearing—soup lines, tent cities, and the Dust Bowl. Key West was warm for one thing, and there was plenty of free food, courtesy of the sea. One man told me, he ate lobster during the Depression! Key West was a freewheeling town full of characters and bygone industries—sponge fishing, rumrunners, and, of course, pirates! It had all the ingredients for a fabulous setting.
I hope you enjoy reading Turtle in Paradise as much as I enjoyed writing it. And if you ever go to Key West, be sure to shake out your shoes!
About Jarrett J. Krosoczka
"If kids walk away from my books with anything, I hope they have enjoyed reading the books and will be encouraged to read, draw, and create."--Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Jarrett J. Krosoczka is the author-illustrator of Good Night, Monkey Boy; Baghead; Annie Was Warned; and Max for President. The author lives in Boston, MA.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“How old were you when you started drawing?” This is a question that I get asked often and not one that I can truly answer. I really don’t know when I first started drawing. I always did, I just never stopped.
I would come home from school and just draw character after character and put them in various scenarios. I was in 3rd grade when I wrote and illustrated a book for the first time. As a kid, I was lucky to have the Worcester Art Museum just down the street from me and even luckier that my grandfather sent me to classes there starting in 6th grade. My first class was a cartooning class and most classes after that had something to do with cartooning! I was in love with Peanuts by Charles Shultz and Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. In fact, all throughout childhood and high school I wanted to either be a cartoonist for a comic strip or a comic book and I also thought that I might be an animator. When I was in high school, I got to be the cartoonist for my school paper and I got such a charge out of seeing my work published.
Right before I graduated high school, two big things happened- 1) I started volunteering at a camp for seriously ill children and 2) I saw two incredible books — The Garden of Abdul Gasazi and The Salamander Room. Both experiences opened my eyes to the potential that creating picture books for a young audience had.
So when I was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, I had already decided that I wanted to be an author and an illustrator for picture books. But I wasn’t able to just draw my characters all of the time. I had to take a ton of painting and drawing classes! At the time, I hated it, but I learned so much. It was after I copied a painting by John Singer Sargent that my work took another turn - I started painting my characters! Aside from all of my studio courses, I also took several creative writing courses to sharpen up my writing skills.
Determined to get published, I started submitting stories to publishers while I was still a student. I received a great deal of rejection letters and I also wrote a great deal of new stories.
I graduated and continued to send submissions to publishers like a madman. Eventually, I was invited in by an editor at Random House to show my portfolio. And that is when Good Night, Monkey Boy got picked up! It was a dream come true! My first book would be published! People would read it! My name would be on the spine!
So really, what I do now, isn’t any different from what I’ve been doing since I was a kid — I tell stories with pictures and words. And again- I have no plans of stopping!
ANNIE WAS WARNED
“A delicious mix of suspense and wit.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred
“A prime read-aloud candidate.”—The Bulletin
“Young audiences will shiver with pleasure.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Playful . . . eye-catching.”—Kirkus Reviews
GOOD NIGHT, MONKEY BOY
“Especially winning.”—Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly starred review, April 28, 2014:
“The orange two-color artwork lets the artists’ distinctive styles shine; readers can only hope more such collaborations are on the way.”
Kirkus starred review, June 1, 2014:
More fun than the playground at recess!
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, September 2014:
A terrific introduction to the styles of [the] individual creators, inviting [graphic novel] newbies to wander through in search of a series that hits their own comic sweet spot.