Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Pages: Print 256
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Author: Jerry Craft
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a copy I checked out from my local library. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the publisher or author.
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself.
This graphic novel told from the perspective of a fair-skinned black kid sent to a prestigious private school in another town. Jordan Banks has had a good life living in his community, but he must learn to adapt to his new school. All he wants to do is draw and attend an art school instead of his new private school. As Jordan tries to adjust to his new school, he learns that there are only a few kids who look like him. He spends his time dodging racist remarks from teachers and fellow students. He also must learn not to assume everyone that attends his new school is the same. As he struggles to adjust to his new school, he also struggles to balance his new friends with his friends from his neighborhood. Can he speak out against those who treat him like a poor black kid or will he continue to struggle as the new kid? It’s tough being the new kid but even tougher being the new black kid in a school of few.
Overall, I adored this graphic novel. The illustrations were amazing, and the message was clear. This graphic novel aims to shed light on the adversities of black kids as minorities. It also discusses the challenges of fair-skinned black kids, as they are continuously asked: “what are you.” Jordan Banks is portrayed as a young black kid just trying to blend in at his new school and succeed. During his time he notices racist remarks from his homeroom teacher as she continues to call him the name of another black student that attends the school. You see black male teacher face racism as well. We also see Jordan develop as a friend and learn to balance his private school friends with his friends from his neighborhood. He also must learn to balance his friends of different races. This graphic novel provides tremendous insight into some of the challenges faced by minorities. I had someone I work with reading this book, and she said, “I had no idea that Oreo was a term that people ever use.” At that moment I realized that Jerry Craft did a phenomenal job by educating various readers from different backgrounds.
I would recommend this book to everyone of all races. I think it is essential to have people of all ages to read this book to understand a piece of black culture. I think it is important to showcase that not all black people are poor. Also that it is unfair to assume that all black people are the same.
To purchase your copy of this novel at https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-269119-4
Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!
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