Craig Colquitt’s debut children’s book answers an inquisitive grandson
It started innocently enough. Craig Colquitt and his grandson were playing with Legos one morning after breakfast when the curious youngster asked, “JoJo? What happened to your hair?”
Some 14 years later, JoJo (Colquitt’s “grandfather” name) published his answers in a children’s book. Released May 22, “JoJo! What happened to your hair?” features Colquitt’s acrylic-on-canvas artwork in telling why some people lose their hair — and why outward appearance isn’t nearly as important as how loving someone is.
The Colquitt name is familiar to football fans — especially those aligned with the University of Tennessee Volunteers. Craig was a punter in Knoxville in the 1970s, earning All-Southeastern Conference honors before a career in the NFL during which he won two Super Bowl titles with the Pittsburg Steelers. His sons, Dustin and Britton, followed in Dad’s footsteps, punting for the Vols in the 2000s. They’re currently shining in the NFL, too.
“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial, creative mind, and I knew I had to do something,” Colquitt says in explaining how he expanded his answer into the one-of-a-kind book he wrote and illustrated. He adds that the project was his “reinvention” during his transition from a successful businessman in retirement to an artist exploring ways to express himself.
“I’m looking at the kids, and kids love to draw, love to look at books,” Colquitt explains. “I said, ‘I want a legacy like this.’”
After two years of development, that legacy became tangible in an impressive 32-page color hardcover children’s book of humorous, playful exchanges between a grandfather and his grandson.
Currently, Colquitt is still developing his artistic style — “conceptualizing where I want to go with what I’m able to do,” he explains. “I want to delve into this literary-art world with whatever time I have left to see who’s interested in what I do.”
A member of Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, he lives in Lebanon where he can watch wildlife like turkeys and deer roam his wooded backyard. He estimates that he has “around 200 pieces” of his artwork in his home.
So how did Colquitt come to be called “JoJo”? When Dustin’s son — Craig’s oldest grandchild — was almost old enough to start talking, Dustin asked what his dad wanted to be called. Craig fondly remembered his college nickname, JC (Joseph is his first name, Craig his middle).
“I said, ‘I want to be called JC,’” he explains. “That’s what I was called in college, and I’d like to reconnect with that. But it came out JoJo instead of JC, and it stuck.”
Today, Colquitt has nine grandchildren and a new name.
“Everyone calls me JoJo now,” he says. “To Dustin and Britton, I’m D or Dad. But to the daughters-in-law and all the kids, I’m JoJo. It’s better than JC.”