In “Peanut Butter and Jellyfish,” Peanut Butter, a sea horse, and Jellyfish are best friends. They love exploring up, down, around, and through their ocean home and often pass by Crabby the crab, who is very crabby; he’s always mean to Peanut Butter and Jellyfish. One day, Peanut Butter and Jellyfish don’t hear Crabby’s crabby remarks. Instead they see him caught in a trap being lifted to the surface. Oh no! What will the two friends do?
Speakaboos had the opportunity to ask the author Jarrett J. Krosoczka, a two-time Children’s Choice Book Award winner, some questions about his popular story which recently launched on the reading motivation platform. See below for the interview!
Speakaboos: Peanut Butter and Jellyfish is a great story about friendship. What lessons would you like kids to take away from the story?
Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Thanks! I never write with lessons in mind, but certainly in this book lessons can be derived. Peanut Butter and Jellyfish is sort of an allegory for “Love your enemy.” Regardless of the fact that they’ve been bullied by Crabby, when he’s in trouble—Peanut Butter and Jellyfish step up to save him. And as is often the case, there were life issues going on with the bully that brought him to that behavior. I hope that this book can teach kids to be kind to one another and look past the differences they might have with their peers.
Speakaboos: Peanut Butter and Jellyfish has seen great success as a physical book. Is it exciting to see it as a digital storybook on Speakaboos?
Jarrett J. Krosoczka: It is! My kids have been playing with and reading books on the Speakaboos app for over a year now, so it’s wonderful to see my book in that space.
Speakaboos: What do you think the digital video version and the highlight text add to the story or overall reading experience?
Jarrett J. Krosoczka: I think that it’s empowering for children, especially if they are emerging readers. In this case, young readers will also get to hear the author read the book in the manner in which they envisioned when they wrote it. I had a lot of fun recording the audio for this!
Speakaboos: You’re a proud dad, what motivates your daughters to read?
Jarrett J. Krosoczka: We’ve been reading to both of our daughters since they were just days old. We instilled a love of reading from the very start, allowing them to sleep with books when it was safe to leave items in their cribs. We also taught them that reading the pictures was also reading—a crucial step when they teetered on insecurity because they couldn’t yet read text. We also keep books accessible in every room of the house. Our oldest, Zoe (6), reads graphic novels and chapter books on her own and our youngest, Lucy (3), does the same with worldless picture books. For both, it’s a matter of having engaging stories available to them to access independently.
Speakaboos: Do your daughters read your stories?
Jarrett J. Krosoczka: They do! And they are very proud kids—they’ve gone as far as recommending my books to strangers at bookstores. My girls can recognize my art style and while they can’t yet spell “Krosoczka,” they recognize that string of consonants as our family name, so they spy that on the covers and spines of my books. They also see me toil away in my studio and get ahold of the advance copies months before they hit bookshelves.
To learn more about the author, you can find him on social media including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and online at www.studiojjk.com. For even more behind the scenes info about Peanut Butter & Jellyfish check out the video below and don’t forget to read the story on Speakaboos!
-The Speakaboos Team