U.S. Capitol Police Officers Reenact Jarrett Krosoczka Graphic Novel

>>From the Library of
Congress in Washington, D.C.>>Today, we have invited you to a
very special program and our partner in this program is an organization
called Everybody Wins D.C. and they have helped bring you here. And we’ll be giving you a special
gift at the end of the program, a book, from the author, Jarrett
Krosoczka who is right there. And Jarrett is from
Wister, Massachusetts. He’s come a long way. And he brought a gift with
him, his daughter, Zoey, if she could raise her hand.>>She’s in the other room.>>Hi. Okay. Jarrett is a very famous author
who’s written a lot of books. He’s written several series. One is called the Lunch Lady series. There are 10 of those.>>[Inaudible] came alive.>>The one you’re going to hear about today is the Platyppus Police
Squad series of which there are 4 and there’ll be another
one out next year. He’s also written a memoir. Maybe he’ll tell you what that is. That’s coming out in 2017. We also have two other
special guests because the Platypus Police
Squad is about police officers. So the Library has Capitol
Hill police who work with us and take care of us
and make us safe. And we have Richard — Officer Richard Webb
and Officer Renee White.>>Good morning.>>Good morning, everyone.>>And they’re going to be
talking about [inaudible]. Okay? So here’s Jarrett.>>Thank you very much, Karen. Hi everybody, how are you?>>Good.>>Good. Well, I’m so
glad to be here with you. My name is Jarrett. I’m an author and I’m
an illustrator. So I write the words
and I draw the pictures. And I feel lucky enough that I
get to have my books published. And I’ve written several
picture books, the Lunch Lady graphic novels,
the Platypus Police Squad novels but for me, it began
a long time ago. It started when I was a kid when I was writing books
in elementary school. When I was in third grade, 8 years
old, I wrote this book in class. How many people here have ever
written a story ever in your life? Raise your hand if you ever have. The class or even a little
short story, not a whole book. Well, I hope you guys realize
that you guys are authors too. Yeah, I see more hands going up. I know you have. I know you have. So this is where my
career as an author began. It started with me writing stories
in school when I was in kid. So I don’t like to the first book
that was ever published as to where my career as an author begin, I look to the first
book that I ever wrote. And the first book
that I ever wrote, I wrote when I was
just about your age. A little bit younger and
it was called The Owl Who Thought He Was The Best Flyer. The book had a cover. You open up the book, the first
thing you saw was the title page. You know you get the name of the
book, the name of the author, some information about
the publisher. And it was story that was
told with words and pictures. And that’s exactly what
I today for my job. My job today is tell stories
using words and pictures. Now words and pictures
are teammates. Words will tell one
part of the story and the pictures will tell
another aspect of the story so that when they come together they
tell the full story of the book. And sometimes you might decide
they’re going to work alone because maybe part of the story
will be told with just the words. But likewise, maybe part of the story will be told
with just the pictures. And the very last page of my book
was the about the author page. You know the page in
the back of the book where you learn about the author. And I had one when I was a kid too. I hope you guys have
them in your books. And it read Jarrett lives
in Wister, Massachusetts. He goes to Gates Lane
[phonetic] School. He liked making this book. I love that last sentence. He liked making this book because
I loved using my imagination. And that’s what writing is
writing is using your imagination but on paper. So as a kid I loved writing so
much that I wouldn’t wait for this to be a homework assignment. I’d get home from school. I would take out pieces of
paper and staple them together. And I would make my own books. And this wasn’t a homework
assignment. You know? None of my grown
ups at home were saying hey, Jarrett it’s time to write a book. I just wanted to be creative. So in fourth grade, I wrote a book
about an egg and a tomato and a head of a lettuce and a pumpkin. And I — they were best friends. They went to a haunted house where there were dangers
around every corner. There was an evil blender
that wanted to chop them up. [Laughter] And there was an evil
toaster that wanted to cook them. There was an evil microwave
that wanted to melt them. And I would have so much
fun making these stories. So throughout my childhood
whenever I had some free time, I would use that free time
to write and illustrate. I would make my own comics. I would share the comics
with my friends. And I loved seeing how people
were entertained by these stories and comics and books
that I was making. And when I was in college, I kept
writing and I kept getting older. I kept writing. I then got real serious about
saying this is what I want to do for my job. So I started sending
my work to publishers. And you know what they said? They said we don’t really
like your work all that much. Here’s your book back. We don’t want to publish it. And for two years that happened. For two years, I mailed my books out and they came back
with rejection letters. And I would write another story and
mail it up to another publisher. It’d come back with a
rejection letter but eventually after two years, I
had a book published and it was Good Night, Monkey Boy. And this big publisher, they
took my words and pictures and put it all together
in that book. And made copies of that book. They sent copies of that book
out to schools and stores and libraries all across
the country. And so now, kids were reading books
just like I was a kid reading books, you know back in the day
when I would find the books at my local library, the school
library, or the bookstore. And I kept writing and I
had more picture books come. So Punk Farm, Ollie the Purple
Elephant, My Buddy, Slug, Baghead. I had the Lunch Lady graphic novels. There are 10 books in
the series that started with the Cyborg Substitute. And it kept going and
the last book that came out was the Schoolwide Scuffle. And now I am in the middle of this
world of Platypus Police Squad. And Platypus Police
Squad, they’re novels. They’ve very heavily
illustrated novels and they’re about these two detectives. There’s Detective Rick Zango. He’s the hot shot young rookie who
plays fast and loose with the rules. And he’s partnered with Detective
Cory O’Malley who is sort of like the old timer and
plays it by the books. He’s a bit of curmudgeonous,
a total grump. Total opposites. They need to learn to work
together to keep their city safe. Now, like all of my books,
there are a ton of illustrations that complement the words and the
pictures do help tell the story but in the novel, though, the
words are really taking the lead and telling the story
about these two guys. Even their — Detective Cory
O’Malley, he always has to drive. He does not let the
rookie drive ever. So this is where the
series came from. I had a book come out
called Punk Farm. It’s a picture book about these
farm animals that are rock stars. And a whole year before
that book was published, I would end my author presentations
by drawing a picture of one of those farm animals with
their big aviator sunglasses. And I would ask the students to guess what they thought
my next book would be about and they all had these
different ideas. And they were all incorrect
but one idea that kept coming up was students thought this was
a story about police officers. They had those rock star sunglasses. They mistook those sunglasses
as that of being of cops. And so I thought well maybe I
could do something with that. So I started writing a book
called Penguin Police Squad about these two penguins
that were cops. The curmudgeon old timer, the hot
shot rookie and they were penguins. Same names and everything
and I filled my sketchbooks with these penguin characters. Explored their penguin home lives and how they would be
different from one another. I thought about the other citizens that would inhabit
this penguin city. I went to the New England
Aquarium and — with my sketchbook and I went to the penguin exhibit
and I drew the penguins. I studied the penguins but
then after a year of working on penguin police squad,
suddenly penguins were everywhere. Everywhere you looked there
was a penguin documentary. It was called March of the Penguins. It came out of nowhere and it was
like the biggest thing at the time. There were multiple animated
movies starring penguins. I mean these penguins were surfing. These penguins were tap dancing. These penguins were spies. There was an online
video game about penguins that was very popular at the time. And I was talking to my manager
one day, he helps me, you know, take my ideas and bring them to
the publishers and I was talking to my manager, and he said you know
nobody wants another penguin story right now. Penguins are just done. They’re played out. They’ve had their time
in the spotlight. Nobody wants another penguin story. I was really — as you can
imagine, I was crest fallen. I was sad because I had
spent all this time working on penguin police squad
but I took a step back and thought well what did
I love about the penguins? I loved the way it sounded. Penguin police. Does anyone know what that is where two words start
with the same sounds? It’s called alliteration where two
words start with the same sound. So I thought okay, I like that
— I like the alliteration. I like that penguins are weird. I like that they are
unlikely heroes. So I thought what other animal
starts with the pa sound, is weird, and would make for an unlikely hero. And I thought oh, the platypus. And in my sketchbook I started
sketching out these platypuses. And now once I said it’s a
book about platypus cops, I thought they don’t — not
everybody needs to be a platypus. You know before every
character was a penguin. Here I thought there
could be a singer at the night club and
she’s a flamingo. She’s a horrible singer
but nobody says anything because her boyfriend owns
the club and he’s this panda who no one is sure
if they can trust. You know there’s a kangaroo. There’s a koala. And There’s a hippo who acts
as like the security guard for the business, the panda. And I put together a pitch. An official document that
says to my publisher, hey this is my idea for a new book. And I was lucky enough that
Walden Pond Press said hey let’s publish this. The world needs a good
platypus cop story. And I was — it just
worked out so well. So I then got to writing the story. And when I’m organizing
thoughts in my notebook, I put together what’s
called a story mount. And I sort out what’s going to
happen at the beginning of the story and in the rising action, in the
climax which is the biggest moment of the story, the falling
action and the resolution. And I’m just brainstorming. And you guys, I’m sure
you’ve brainstorm in class where you get all these of ideas
out of your head and onto the paper. And I get to write it. And I was so proud
of this first draft. I mean I had written picture books. I had written graphic novels. I had never written a
full length novel before. And I’m saying this
Word document was just, you know, thousands of words long. I had never worked so hard
on a story in my life. And I sent that manuscript, that
first draft, into my editor and just like you know you guys
pass in your papers. And your teacher might make a
few comments and make some marks and you have to rewrite and
you have to edit and revise. And you have to write it again. You guys go through that, right? Yeah I go through that too. So here are the first two
pages of my editor’s letter to me explaining why my
story was not working. I want you to take note
this is single spaced. This isn’t a double spaced document. Here are pages 1 and 2 of my editor’s letter explaining
why the story wasn’t working. Here are pages 3, 4 and 5. And then here are pages
6, 7, 8, and 10, 11, 12, and 13 single spaced explaining
how I just had it all wrong. I needed to take another
look at my story. I had to throw away about 90%
of everything I had written. And while that’s tough to do,
sometimes it has to be done if you want to get your story
to the best place possible. So I kept writing. I kept revising. Kept getting notes back from the
editor but eventually the story was in great shape and then my
publisher, they take my — the story that I’ve written,
you know, in a Word document. And they plug into the design of
what the book will be printed at. So I get to see okay, the
words will be this big. About — there’ll be about
these many lines on a page. And now I reread that and I start
making sketches in the margins of what do I want to see in the art? How do I want to embellish
the story with the art? And we’ll plug in the sketches
that I’ve made into the story. And we see how the words
and pictures are flowing. And then I get to work
on the final artwork. And to create the final artwork,
I take this special paper. It’s called Bristol board
and it’s how I make the art for the Lunch Lady books as well. And I use pencils and I
use a brush dipped in ink and it looks something like this. I start by just drawing
out the characters. And I’m using this special pencil. It’s called non-photo blue. It’s a special shade of pencil
that a computer can’t see. So what happens is I take out my
ink and I dip my brush into the ink and I draw the final line work. And I draw with a brush because
you get a very dynamic line when you draw with a brush. That line goes from thick to thin. Now when I scan this
artwork into my computer, the computer will only
see the black line work. It won’t see that special shade
of blue, that non photo blue. So I don’t have to go through and
erase all of the pencil marks or all of the art from the book. Now this art that I create in my
hands, I scan into my computer, I can see it on my computer screen. And in Photoshop, all the
shades of gray get plugged in. And it all gets bound up in a book. Now from the time that I started
thinking about Penguin Police Squad to the day that Platypus
Police Squad was published, it was about 9 years. So it was several years
of brainstorming. I was sometimes I wasn’t sure
what to do with this idea. I didn’t know what kind
of book it would be. At one point, I thought
maybe it’s a picture book. The story kept getting longer. I thought maybe it’s
a graphic novel. And I thought, you know, I’d like to
maybe try to write this as a novel. So there are — there you’ll see. There’s the Frog Who Croaked. That was the very first book. And there’s The Ostrich Conspiracy. There’s Last Panda Standing which will be everybody will
be receiving a copy of today. And just today, the cover for
the fourth book was released and it’s called Never Say Narwhal. And this book will be out in
May and it’ll be the last book in the Platypus Police Squad series. So I’d like to bring a chapter
from Platypus Police Squad to life. And I sure I could have just
opened the book and read it to you but I thought it’d be more exciting
to have some readers’ theater. Readers’ theater is
when actors recreate — you know, create and bring to
life a scene from the book. So we have here from the
United States Capitol Police, we have Officers White
and Officer Webb. They’re going to be bringing
our characters to life. Now one character is an old
curmudgeon, grump plays it by the books and one is the hot
shot young rookie who plays fast and loose with the rules. Did you guys decide
amongst yourself –>>Yeah.>>– who was going to
play what character?>>Yes, yes.>>Okay. So if you would please
pick up chairs and the chairs, now this is going to be transformed
into their unmarked squad car and this is from one of the opening
chapters from The Frog Who Croaked. It’s the two detectives are
working together for the first time. It’s their first time in the
cop car driving together. As I mentioned earlier, Detective
O’Malley he never lets anybody else drive. Detective Rick Zango very excited. I mean put it this way. How many people here have a
younger brother or sister at home? It’s kind of like that. Right? Sometimes they kind
of maybe get into everything. Now how many people here have an
older brother or sister at home? And don’t they think
they know everything. Yeah. Sometimes, right? And Karen Jaffe, who’s the Director
here at the Young Readers Center, is going to play the
part of the narrator. And while this is all going on, I’m going to be right here
recreating the illustrations from that chapter. Okay. So on the count of 3,
you guys will be the directors. And you can see action or you
could give it a little more flare. You could say action. You guys ready?>>Yeah.>>Okay ready. One, two, three.>>Action. [Laughter]>>That [inaudible] Detective
Corey O’Malley has a new partner, rookie detective Rick Zango. This is their first patrol together
driving in their unmarked squad car. Zango can barely contain
his excitement as they drive to the docks. Unmarked squad car is totally sweet. There are sirens and an
intercom and a flashing light that can be strapped on
the roof with a magnet. The squad car is even outfitted
with the most up to date laptop. Zango eyes the police band
radio and the dashboard like it’s his birthday party
right there in the car. As he looks at it, the
radio crackles to life with a radio [inaudible]. Car 153 officers on the scene
are requesting an update on your position. Over. O’Malley eyes on the road, reaches for the mouthpiece
but Zango is quicker.>>That’s a big 10-4 dispatch. Car number –>>Give me that mouthpiece.>>Car 153 here, coming
up on the coliseum now. We’re pulling into the
shipping area 6 minutes. Rule number 1, rookie no one
touches this radio but me. Got it?>>Zango slumps down frustrated. They’re probably moving
about 5 miles an hour. He hates being stuck in here. The Kalamazoo Coliseum
looms large up ahead and a huge billboard beside the
stadium reads it’s your chance to name the new home of
the Kalamazoo City Sharks, a Pandini [phonetic]
project, your sharks better.>>Look at the billboard. What is it with Pandini? I can’t get him out of my fur.>>He’s been pretty busy
the last year or so.>>Traffic slows to
an even slower pace. Making the traffic problem
worse, a huge crowd trying to get to the ticket window has
spilled out onto the street.>>What’s up with this?>>Pandini is selling off parts
off the old stadium to raise money for the Children’s Hospital. Totally forgot that
was happening today.>>Really? A Children’s Hospital.>>What? You don’t think
sick kids need medicine. It’s a win-win. The hospital gets the
funds it needs. The die hard sports fan
gets it piece of history and the new stadium is
going to be beautiful. I think it’s great that our athletes
are getting a stadium that they and their fans can be proud of. And the tickets –>>By now the squad car
is stopped completely. Zango taps his foot. They’re never going
to get into the docks. He wishes O’Malley
would do something.>>Or maybe it’s up to me.>>Zango slaps the light onto
the roof and flips on the siren. The cars in front of them instantly
start moving out of the way and like a stampeding herd, the
crowd outside the coliseum scatters. Shoving and knocking
one another over.>>What are you doing, rookie?>>Maybe that wasn’t
such a good move. Zango turns off the siren.>>Sorry partner. Thought you were in a hurry. It’s off.>>Rule number 1, I’m the
senior detective in this car. I say how fast we go not you
especially when I’m driving.>>I thought rule number 1 was
no one touches the radio but you.>>Rule number 2, we’re on a case. We’re trying to travel
below the radar here. You want everyone in town
to know that we’re the cops. The key is to keep low, keep
a low profile as possible. Got it rookie?>>Yeah. Yep.>>Rule number 3, as this is
where your real education begins. Junior, we need to stay
tuned in at all times. We stay focused on the city. Listen to its sounds. Smell its smells. Feels its pulse. We need to know what it’s thinking. Anticipate what it’s thinking about
to do — to know what to do next. Detective, work is — detective
work is about using your instincts. Stay a few steps of the unexpected.>>Yeah. I know but –>>No buts, work is all about
keeping your bill to the ground.>>Oh lady.>>What did you just call me? A little old lady. That’s a lot of — are you
even listening to me, rookie?>>A little old lady crossing
the road, O’Malley, watch out.>>Zango pulls at the wheel and
the squad car swerves just in time. O’Malley’s heart rate quadrupled. Sweat pops off his hand. He unbuttons his jacket.>>Yowser, that was a close one.>>O’Malley glances in
the rearview mirror. Sees a little old lady
shaking her cane. Zango folds his arms and smirks.>>What was the last bit
about paying attention?>>This radio crackles again. Where are you, 153? You’re taking all day. What’s your ETA?>>PDQ.>>And he flips the siren
on, throws the light onto the roof and steps on the gas.>>Rule number 4, you got to know
when to put the pedal to the metal. They’re expecting us at the docks.>>As they finally speed through
the streets, Zango thinks.>>I would have been
there a half hour ago. [Laughter]>>Ready? We’ll say and scene. And scene.>>And scene.>>Good work everyone. [Clapping] Does the Library of Congress have a
community theater program that you guys could enroll into?>>No.>>Thank you so much for being here.>>Thank you.>>Thank you guys so much.>>Thank you.>>Thank you.>>Does anybody have a question
for me or for the officers that are here that
you’d like to ask?>>How do you –>>Hold on. I’m going to have you speak
into the mic [inaudible].>>How do you draw
without messing up? Without like the blue line
or nothing and you just draw and don’t mess up anything?>>Oh I mess up all the time. It’s not about getting
upset that you mess up. It’s about when a piece of artwork
isn’t going the way you want it to, you just make some
changes, that’s all.>>How do you get creative
and draw that quickly?>>How do you creative? Well, you know, I pay
attention to the world around me and at the same time, I zone out. So you know, I might see something
that inspires me in reality and I just have to take some time
to be alone with a sketchbook. Alone with my thoughts which
is pretty difficult today because there’s something to
look at and something to view and there are phones and
computers and screens. But to be alone with a
sketchbook and just draw and let your mind wonder. And that’s how I get creative. [ Silence ]>>Are the rules that you told her
real rules that you would tell her?>>Are those — is that how they
would really talk in the car? Is that how you’d really
talk in a squad car?>>He would yes.>>No. [Laughter]>>Not really. We kind of laid back. Yeah.>>Well guys thank you so much
for spending some time with us at the Young Readers Center today. What a gift for us to all be at
the Library of Congress together. I had a wonderful time
and I hope you did too. Thank you. [ Clapping ]>>This has been a presentation
of the Library of Congress. Visit us at loc.gov.

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