Monday, January 21, 2019

Middle Grade Monday and Arc Review: New Kid by Jerry Craft

New Kid by Jerry Craft. 226 p. HarperCollins Publisher, February 5, 2019. 9780062691194. (Review from arc courtesy of publisher.)

Middle Grade Monday features New Kid by Jerry Craft. This graphic novel follows Jordan Banks, a kid from Washington Heights (Manhattan), who would rather be getting ready to apply to an art high school than attending a snooty prep school in Riverdale (Bronx), but does so to please his parents. He's a scholarship student who travels via public transportation while his classmates arrive in all sorts of high end vehicles, some actually driven by chauffeurs. He's one of the few kids of color and is chagrined when teachers often call him by the wrong name. While he does make a few friends, he deals with assumptions and micro-aggressions all day and they are exhausting; as is the code-switching he does traveling to and from school. He pours his observations into his sketchbook.

The art is energetic and vibrant. The dialogue rings true. Jordan is likable, bright and an astute social observer. There are moments of humor but also head-desk moments of bias. Readers will root for him as he navigates two worlds. New Kid is a must-purchase addition to any public, school or classroom library collection. 

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