In this realistic and modern graphic novel, seventh-grader Jordan Banks teaches readers that there is still a lot of racism and stereotypes, and also how to survive middle school. I loved this award-winning book, New Kid by Jerry Craft, and maybe you will, too.
Jordan Banks already knows this is going to be a tough year. His parents have enrolled him in this very fancy private school and he does not want to go. He loves drawing and making comics and wishes he could go to an art school to advance his skills. But still, he progresses through the year with new friends and OK grades, but racist people and those spreading stereotypes make it hard for him to say the school is great. Plus, his friends at his old school think he may be turning into a stuck-up rich boy! Jordan must navigate through school and stay true to who he is, even when some people want him to be anything but that.
The author really tackled racism and stereotypes and basically showed how powerful and hurtful they can be. For example, when it was Taco Day at lunch, a guy named Andy asked, “Don’t you guys just love tacos?” but then turned to Ramon, and said, “I’ll bet your mom’s are way better.” That really got me angry, because he just thought it was fine to assume Ramon was Mexican just because of his name. Really, he is Nicaraguan! Another example is when a librarian suggested a book to a black boy, she said, “You would identify with DaQuell, the protagonist, he’s suffered so much, growing up in poverty without a father.” But the student told the librarian that his dad, (who is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company!!) still lives with him! Then, the librarian suggested the book to another black boy!
This book was really enjoyable because although it talked about serious topics, it was really funny. At some parts I was literally laughing out loud, like when Jordan and his friend, Drew, would call themselves different names when they were making fun of the teacher who always called Drew “Deandre” instead.
One of my favorite characters was Drew, Jordan’s friend, because he was a great example of why you shouldn’t assume things about people. (He got good grades, didn’t like basketball, and followed the rules, and some people think the opposite is true for black people.) Plus, he was really funny and stood up for himself in front of a teacher, which was really cool!
This book is great for readers fourth grade and up. It is a graphic novel, and is a pretty fun and easy read. If you like graphic novels at this age, this one you will definitely enjoy! Or, if you just want a quick read to pass the boring quarantine hours, order this book!
I really loved New Kid! It definitely gets four out of four roses.
I just read this book for a kid lit class — absolutely loved it! You’re right, it was an excellent book and had some pretty well-rounded characters. Drew was my favorite, too 🙂 keep up the fantastic work!
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