New Kid by Jerry Craft

In what usually amounts to hormone hell is even worse for Jordan Banks when his family sends him to a new middle school. An African-American young man living in Washington Heights will now make the daily trip to RAD (Riverdale Academy Day school), an elite prep school.

Jordan is forced to code switch, deal with subtle and not so subtle racism, and ultimately, find a way to cope and just do school.

I appreciated so much about this book. Craft’s artwork is a collection of many different types of scenes. From the classroom to the sports field, his illustrations seek to go beneath the surface of the three Rs. But what I really enjoyed were the looks into Jordan’s sketchbook. These were doodles and sarcastic instructions about how to deal with issues at the school. They are looks into his thoughtful, yet many times, hurting mind.

New Kid has a tremendous amount of humor, but there is also the biting reality of racial divides and jibes that young people of color are subject to. Craft’s work in this book is honest and truly revealing. I’ll definitely be looking to get this title in my school’s library.

Highly Recommended.

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