New Kid by Jerry Craft
There is no question that navigating middle school is challenging for all kids. Now add in transferring to a new upscale middle school where you are one of the few kids of color in your grade. New Kid is a compelling and candid account of Jordan Banks’ first hand experience as a seventh grader at Riverdale Academy Day School.
Because it is a graphic novel, readers have the advantage of both the dialogue and the illustrations. Craft’s frank dialogue coupled with his detailed and insightful illustrations allow readers to truly know Jordan’s thoughts and feelings as he, other classmates, and even teachers handle racism and microaggression from not only their peers but also teachers.
Jordan is a talented artist and Craft blends drawings from Jordan’s own sketchbook to give readers more of a window into his personal thoughts and feelings. Some of his sketches are humorous like “My Dad’s Tip for Being a Man! Shaking Hands” while others such as “Jordan’s Tips for Taking the Bus” share his honest realities of navigating his bus ride to school every day.
Craft doesn’t just share Jordan’s journey. While New Kid is written from Jordan’s point of view, readers learn the challenges other students face through Jordan’s eyes. And through his first year, Jordan learns a lot about himself, others, and that he doesn’t have to choose between things to be happy.
New Kid tackles tough issues with honesty and humor which makes it a must read for students, teachers, and parents. A very special thanks to Jerry Craft for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Pre-order now so you have New Kid in your hands when it publishes in February 2019.
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