Craft, Jerry. New Kid. Jerry Craft, Illus. Graphic. HarperCollins, 02/2019. 250pp. $21.99. 978-0-06-269120-0, PB $12.99. 978-0-06-269119-4. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 4-8.
Jordan begins seventh grade at an elite school, which is very different from his local school in Washington Heights, due to its lack of ethnic diversity—Jordan is one of only a handful of African American students. In this charming graphic novel, Jordan learns to make friends and fit in while dealing with microaggressions from students and teachers. Both the tween and adult characters have depth and are realistic; for example, one white teacher tries to be inclusive but keeps calling Jordan by the name of another African American student. In contrast to the teacher, a rich, white student is a friendly guide to Jordan. The artwork is very accomplished, using a soft color palette and black, often with dialogue balloons. Each chapter features a title similar to a major film, with a full-page illustration that looks like a movie poster: “Upper, Upper West Side Story” or “Straight Outta South Uptown.” Overall, this is an original, authentic story that will appeal to those who enjoy the graphic novels of Raina Telgemeier.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University, iSchool