When Jarrett J. Krosoczka was in high school, he was part of a program that sent students to be counselors at a camp for seriously ill kids and their families. Going into, Jarrett was worried: Wouldn’t it be depressing, to be around kids facing such a serious struggle? Wouldn’t it be grim?
But instead of the shadow of death, Jarrett found something else at Camp Sunshine: the hope and determination that gets people through the most troubled of times. Not only was he subject to some of the usual rituals that come with being a camp counselor (wilderness challenges, spooky campfire stories, an extremely stinky mascot costume), but he also got a chance to meet some extraordinary kids facing extraordinary circumstances. He learned about the captivity of illness, for sure . . . but he also learned about the freedom a safe space can bring.
Now, in his follow-up to the National Book Award finalist Hey, Kiddo, Jarrett brings readers back to Camp Sunshine so we can meet the campers and fellow counselors who changed the course of his life.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
I was a on a graphic novel reading kick back in 2018 and one of the ones I LOVED (& still do) is Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s graphic memoir, Hey, Kiddo, following his childhood being raised by his grandparents and being the child of a parent with addiction. Flash forward to 2023, I once again have been incorporating more graphic novels into my reading because my middle school students love them. The most popular book in my classroom library is Hey, Kiddo. I think they love that yes, it’s a graphic novel, but more importantly, deals with more serious and applicable themes. That being said, I felt like the coolest person (still do) that Scholastic sent me an advance reader’s edition of the follow-up graphic novel, Sunshine.
Sunshine follows Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s week during summer vacation in high school volunteering at a camp for kids with serious illness and their family members. Jarrett is assigned to work directly with a family whose youngest sibling, Eric, has been treated for cancer and Diego, a thirteen year old kid whose cancer forces him to be in a wheelchair.Read More »