Parent Portrait: James, Eli & Oliver | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Parent Portrait: James, Eli & Oliver 

Published August 28, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.

click to enlarge James Kochalka, 50, Vermont's first cartoonist laureate and author of the Johnny Boo series of graphic novels, with sons Oliver, 10, and Eli, 15 - SAM SIMON
  • Sam Simon
  • James Kochalka, 50, Vermont's first cartoonist laureate and author of the Johnny Boo series of graphic novels, with sons Oliver, 10, and Eli, 15

Every morning for years you've drawn your cartoon character, Johnny Boo, in your kids' elementary school classrooms when you drop them off at school. When did you start?

James: I think I started when Eli was in second grade. And the only reason I didn't do it before then was I couldn't find a whiteboard in his classroom to draw on! I just go in every morning and draw, as long as the teacher is into it, of course. If they're not, I don't do it!

It's like a morning greeting?

James: Yeah, I try to pay attention to what's going on that day at school and kind of follow the theme.

Oliver, do your friends ever talk about the daily Johnny Boo?

Oliver: Yeah, sometimes.

James: I think his friends are probably more into it than he is most of the time!

Eli, did you miss the Johnny Boos when you went off to middle school?

Eli: (laughing) Uh, no.

James: I mostly do it because I want all the kids to start off the day happy, so maybe if I do this little thing that starts their day off in a good way, the whole class will have an easier day the whole way through! Ollie, do you think it works?

Oliver: Yeah, it does.

Eli, it's your second year of high school. Are you excited for the first day of school or dreading it?

Eli: Kind of dreading it. I don't really want to get back into the schedule of school.

James: Maybe I could come in and do a huge Johnny Boo mural at the high school!!

Eli: (laughing) No. Please don't!

Want to be featured in an upcoming Parent Portrait? Email us at

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

About The Author

Erinn Simon

Erinn Simon blogs for Kids VT.


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation