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New Kid

by Jerry Craft

Published by Harper, 2019
249 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Ages 9-13

In his early weeks at Riverdale Academy Day School (RAD), seventh grader Jordan Banks is so happy when he sees another student of color that small cupids appear around his head. Itís emblematic of the keen social commentary rooted in much of this graphic novelís humor. Black students (and the few Black faculty) at RAD are often confused for one another; itís assumed that students of color need financial aid, just as itís assumed Black kids are athletic and, in one unsettling scene, prone to violence. Conversely, one teacher is so worried about saying something racist that he constantly asks for reassurance. The racism and absurdities at RAD (required athletic participationóJordanís on a fifth string soccer team) arenít the sum of Jordanís experiences. He makes two good friends who share his love of gaming: Drew, another new, Black student, who also shares Jordanís frustrations, and Liam, a white student embarrassed by his familyís wealth. And he appreciates academic challenges like the art class that pushes him to try something new. Black-and-white pages from Jordanís sketchbook interspersed throughout the visual story illuminate his feelings about RAD and about the daily transformation required to movie back and forth between the worlds of his home (where he feels his parents love and also the weight of their hopes and fears), neighborhood, and school. Genuine characters propel this funny, warm, biting, fearless story. Entertaining and insightful, it will surely offer affirmation for some readers, revelation for others. ©2019 Cooperative Childrenís Book Center


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