Favorite Graphic Novel This Year

Today I have my favorite graphic novel this year.  This one is really good and deftly handles a topic that many struggle with or don’t write about at all – being one of only a handful of kids of color in a school.

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Title: New Kidfavorite graphic novel this year new kid

Author: Jerry Craft

Target: Grades 5-8

Series: No

What this book is about:

Jordan wants to go to art school, but his parents send him to a prestigious academic school instead.  He is only one of a handful of students of color.  Jordan has to find his way in a new environment, where kids have a lot more money than he does and both other students and teachers are not always sure how to interact with Jordan.  Middle school is never easy, but layer Jordan’s challenges on top and he has a few things to work through.

Why I love this book:

  • Ok, I am obviously not a black male, so I can’t say that this story is authentic, but reading it, it felt exactly like a young black boy would feel in this situation.  Jordan is a good kid, who makes friends, studies hard and is looking for connections.  He has a good sense of humor which carries him far. Some of the teachers were a little more clueless/insensitive than I would have expected, but I have to defer to the author on this one.
  • I like that the author emphasized finding commonality with friends.  Jordan does test the waters with the other black students, but in the end, only one turns out to have the same interests.  I also like that his other good friend Liam has the same passions as Jordan and is embarrassed about having money.  This felt very realistic when kids in middle school just want to blend in. 
  • Loved the graphics.   They are colorful and engaging, and I also appreciated the black and white pages which were meant to represent the work done by Jordan.

Who this book is for:

Great for all kids who are fans of graphic novels.  Fans of Svetlana Chmakova will like this one.  This book is a great way for kids who are white to understand some of the quieter but no less impactful challenges faced by kids of color and a nice story for kids of color to see themselves represented.  

Final thoughts:

This book is really good.  Jerry Craft has deftly handled a topic that so many struggle with or don’t write about at all, being one of only a handful of kids of color in a school.

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: New Kid.  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.