Satellite radio listeners can now listen to interviews with favorite children’s book authors and illustrators on the airwaves. “The Book Report with JJK,” hosted by author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka, is a new semi-monthly segment aimed at kids 10 and under that will air during the Absolutely Mindy Show on Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live channel (ch. 78). The first episode debuted May 9 and featured Krosoczka speaking with Jeff Kinney in Kinney’s studio. Book Report segments are scheduled to air every other Wednesday, and will also be repeated in blocks on weekends.
Krosoczka says the inspiration for Book Report grew from a serendipitous set of circumstances. “I had been a guest on the Absolutely Mindy Show a number of times, and was asked to be on again when I was in Washington, D.C., for the National Book Festival last fall,” he says. When he got to the studio, however, Krosoczka learned that host Mindy Thomas had laryngitis. Instead of canceling, Thomas suggested that Krosoczka and another guest interview each other. “I had answered questions lots of times,” Krosoczka says, “but I’d never interviewed anyone. And it’s live, on national radio!” But with a bit of coaching they pulled it off with flair. “It went so well and was so much fun that Mindy called later and asked about doing it on a somewhat regular basis,” he says.
The interviews are done in person, which allows Krosoczka to be a roving reporter and meet with authors and illustrators as he travels the country for school visits, conferences, and various other appearances. Each conversation will run roughly five to ten minutes on air, and Krosoczka aims for a tone that’s “somewhat cheeky.” In addition to offering information about the author’s inspiration or creative process, he serves up an author pop quiz consisting of questions that kids would ask, such as, “What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid?” or “What super power would you want to have?” “I think that the responses might be more candid in an author-to-author format,” he says.
In a recent chat that took place in author Jeanne Birdsall’s kitchen, Krosoczka asked, ‘Who’s your favorite Jonas brother?’ “I thought she might come back with ‘Who are the Jonas brothers?’ But she didn’t miss a beat, and went on to tell me how much she liked Nick. I don’t think she would have professed her love for the Jonases on another show,” he says with a laugh.
Among the authors and illustrators already slated to appear are Mo Willems, Tony DiTerlizzi, Lisa Yee, and Jennifer and Mathew Holm. Down the line, Krosoczka says he’d like to interview librarians and teachers, offering them a chance to booktalk some of their favorite titles, and occasionally, he’ll interview kids as well.
According to Krosoczka, the interviews are designed to be evergreen and can air anytime, but he’ll be calling in live to queue up the segments before they run. “That way, I can give shoutouts to book festivals or events like Children’s Book Week. And that’s when I can mention anything that’s new.”
“The Book Report with JJK” has a logo designed by Krosoczka and even has its own theme song by the band Recess Monkey, which also created the theme tune that appears in a trailer for the author’s award-winning Lunch Lady graphic novels. Krosoczka says he is “beyond excited” about the project. “It’s such a great way to introduce something new and fun from the world of children’s books.”