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More than camp songs and s'mores

Cover of Sunshine: How One Camp Tau
A review of Sunshine: How One Camp Taught Me about Life, Death, and Hope by Jarrett K. Krosoczka

There is something so pure and honest and sweet about Jarrett Krosoczka's young adult graphic memoirs. I expected a lot from this follow up to Hey, Kiddo about Jarrett's complicated home life growing up with a drug-addicted mother, an absentee father, and two loud and opinionated grandparents who thought they were done raising children. Sunshine does not disappoint. It's the perfect complement.

As a teen, Jarrett participates in a program that sends counselors to a camp for kids with serious illness and their families. What might be seen as depressing or devastating is a time for normalcy, joy and building relationships. It's also a time for s'mores, rowboats, spooky stories, camp songs and all the other moments that make camp special. Jarrett bonds with the camper he's assigned to for the week as well as the family he "hosts" during meal times. Everyone at the camp is invested in showing the campers and families the most incredible time. It doesn't matter what a camper is dealing with - the goal is to not let it get in the way of a full camp experience.  

Reading about sick kids is tough, I'm not going to lie. But there are moments that will fill your heart right to the brim. I read a quote from the author about how reading about difficult subjects might help our children navigate them. Knowing that Jarrett himself has navigated through some really tough stuff and is able to share his light in this way makes me believe it's true. This is another incredible piece of writing and art.

Jul 31, 2023