Patricia L. Fitzgerald 2013-04-02 03:59:29
This Month’s Guest Jarrett J. Krosoczka Meet Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author and illustrator of the Lunch Lady graphic novel series, in which three curious students discover the crime-fighting ways of their heroic lunch lady and join with her to keep their school safe from cyborg substitutes and fix a “field trip fiasco.” The main character in the series is based on Krosoczka’s childhood school lunch lady, and at SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC) in Kansas City, he will be the featured speaker at the Closing General Session on Wednesday, July 17. Krosoczka also has teamed up with SNA to promote “School Lunch Superhero Day” on May 3 (see page 58). It’s amazing to learn that you were actually a brown-bagger as a kid! My grandmother sent me to school with a lunch every day, but I did buy milk at school. There was one time when I forgot my lunch and didn’t have any lunch money with me. I was near tears. I distinctly remember Jean, the beloved lunch lady, kindly giving me a free lunch that day. It was one of her signature dishes: the pizza burger! Your books feature a number of inventive food-inspired gadgets and spyware. I like the Spatu-copter. Is there one that you wish truly existed? I’m partial to the Fish Stick Nunchucks, but I don’t know how I’d use those in my daily life. I think the Spork Phone would be far more useful. Soon enough, we’ll probably be able to eat with our iPhones—so maybe it isn’t too far off! Lunch Lady has faced down such villains as the Bake Sale Bandit and the Mutant Mathletes. Can you tell us who’s next? The ninth book, Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villain, will be published this month. In this adventure, everybody’s tech gadgets go missing, and Lunch Lady is on the case! Also featured is the school’s snarky tech specialist, who makes Betty feel a little competitive. Betty is the mastermind behind all of Lunch Lady’s tech gadgets, so she doesn’t like being one-upped! What are you looking forward to most about speaking at SNA’s ANC this summer? I am very excited to share the story of how my book series came to be with the very people who work in the profession I write about! The creative process that I underwent will be a great piece for folks to bring back to their schools. I’m looking forward to sharing stories from School Lunch Superhero Day, as well! What’s the most memorable reaction you’ve had to your books? I know that you were touched to see the original “Lunch Lady” illustration you presented to the book’s inspiration, Jean Cariglia, on display at her funeral service in 2011. What about from your readers? I never expected my book series to ignite a passion for reading in reluctant readers. Time and time again, I hear from parents and teachers who are just so thrilled that their kids are actually reading—and willingly! I also really love hearing the stories of how kids interrogate the members of their school’s lunch staff. Kids really want to know if there is an entire crime-fighting operation going on behind that sneeze guard! In traveling around and promoting the book series, have you learned anything new about school meals and the people who serve them? What I’ve taken most from this experience is that the operation in the cafeteria is a whole industrious undertaking within the school. There are many folks playing many roles and wearing many hats. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting the hard-working individuals at every school that I’ve visited. What’s the best advice you’ve had from a lunch lady? I think that more than anything, I’ve been inspired by everyone’s cheery outlook. Whenever I visit a school, I always stop by the cafeteria to say hello. I’ve never met a school lunch staff member who didn’t love their job!
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.
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