I hadn’t historically read many graphic novels, so this was definitely a little outside my comfort zone and then . . . I blazed through it in a day.
I LOVED it.
New Kid by Jerry Craft
New Kid follows Jordan Banks, a seventh grader who loves drawing cartoons (especially cartoons about his own life).
He is desperate to go to art school, but when he is accepted to a prestigious private school that’s focused more on academics than the arts, his parents insist that he attend.
His dad sympathizes with his desire to pursue his art, but his mom is adamant that he can’t pass an opportunity like this up.
And so Jordan goes off to a new school which would be hard enough, but he’s now also one of very few students of color at his new school, which means he’s also the one all his classmates look at when topics like slavery or financial aid come up. And one of his teachers can’t tell him and another Black student apart, always calling them by each other’s names.
He doesn’t hate his new school – there are plenty of things he enjoys and he slowly begins making new friends – but taking the bus out of his neighborhood and to his ritzy new school also means that there is a growing distance between him and his old classmates.
Which means Jordan doesn’t really fit in anywhere anymore.
Through it all, Jordan draws cartoons of his experiences and how he feels about his life at home and at school.
It’s a MASTERFULLY done book that’s funny and smart and touching and thought-provoking all at the same time. It’s no wonder it snagged the Newbery in January of 2020.
I’m actually currently listening to the audio version of New Kid in preparation for this month’s Everyday Reading Book Club discussion of it and it’s SO fun to revisit it in a different format.
Have you read New Kid? I’d love to hear what you thought!