Ken Krimstein is an award-winning author and cartoonist. His new book, When I Grow Up – The Lost Autobiographies of Six Yiddish Teens, is one of NPR’s favorite reads of 2021, Washington Post’s Top Ten Graphic Novels of 2021 and is one of the Notable Fall reads by the Chicago Tribune. For his book on Hannah Arendt, Ken Krimstein has presented lectures at many venues (including universities, art galleries, cultural organizations) in the United States and Canada and the UK, and in-person at the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the Jewish Museum in Berlin, and the Literaturhaus in Munich.
Ken was a featured speaker at The Chicago Humanities Festival 2019, talking about Hannah Arendt in person to over three hundred people.
In February 2019 the Spertus Institute created a six-month installation in its lobby for The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt: A Tyranny of Truth. The event was launched with his interview on-stage by Alexandra Salomon, editor of WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR station, attended by 600 people with subsequent panel events and lectures at the Institute on Arendt and the revival of Yiddish in current culture.
Ken has also presented lectures on his book of Jewish cartoons, Kvetch as Kvetch Can at JCC’s, Jewish book festivals, and synagogues around the country, through the Jewish Book Council. In addition to being a creative director in NYC for 20 years, and has done countless presentations and speeches, he’s been a professional lecturer at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and DePaul University for 10 years, and has lectured to advertising industry groups and professional organizations on topics including creativity, strategy and innovation, brand marketing, design, and idea generation around the country.Download Bio
WHEN I GROW UPThe Lost Autobiographies of Six Yiddish Teenagers
When I Grow Up is The New Yorker cartoonist Ken Krimstein’s new graphic nonfiction book, based on six of hundreds of newly discovered, never-before-published autobiographies of Eastern European Jewish teens on the brink of WWII—found hidden in a Lithuanian church cellar.
Climbing Everest Every Tuesday What it’s like to be a cartoonist for The New Yorker Magazine.
Kvetch as Kvetch Can — Jewish Cartoons A presentation of my humor book of gag cartoons on all things Jewish, which can be expanded into a longer presentation that I’ve given as part of a short course for Bard College: It Only Hurts When I Laugh — What is it with Jews and Cartoons?
There are no Dangerous Thoughts — Thinking Itself Is Dangerous What Hannah Arendt can teach us about how to think, how to live, and how to get along with one another — from my graphic narrative: The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt - A Tyranny of Truth.
Winning in the Virtual Bazaar — A Physical-Digital design-oriented way to thrive in our brave new world Based on a book proposal and my teaching regarding creativity and human-centric marketing strategy.
Graphic History—Why It Works, Why It Matters Understanding history has never been more important and new directions in graphic narratives from Maus to When I Grow Up are enlightening readers from all quarters.
Graphic Narratives—Reading, Creating, and Appreciating Them: It’s not just for bubblegum wrappers anymore.
Praise for When I Grow Up: The Lost Autobiographies of Six Yiddish Teenagers “Poignant … Ken Krimstein's latest book sketches a powerful portrait of Eastern European Jewish youths, full of angst and optimism, on the eve of the Holocaust … Yearning is, in fact, the collection's dominant emotion.”
“Deeply affecting yet often joyful … these recovered works form the basis of Krimstein's narrative, and the fact that almost all of the young writers perished at the hands of the Nazis casts an ominous shadow. Yet the six young people who come alive in pencil and watercolor are hopeful, defiant, lovelorn, and smart … Krimstein's loose-lined drawings shift between sobriety and humor, while footnotes provide context … By depicting the personalities of youth lost-with easy beauty and a lack of preciosity-rather than how they died, Krimstein conveys the depth of human and cultural loss that much more profoundly.”
―Publishers Weekly, starred review