(14/20) New Kid – “20 YA Novels for Adolescents”

New Kid is a young adult graphic novel written and illustrated by Jerry Craft. It was published on February 5, 2019 and it consists of 256 pages. The graphic novel won the 2020 John Newbery Medal.

New Kid is about a 12 year old African-American boy who goes to a private school and he experiences culture shock. His name is Jordan and he didn’t necessarily want to go to the private school. He’s a very talented artist and he wanted to go to art school, but his parents decided to instead send him to a prestigious private school where he is one of the few POC students.

I chose to read this graphic novel because recently, I’ve been really enjoying graphic novels that focus on the experiences and struggles of POC. Not only that, but as a POC myself who has a love for graphic novels, I love getting to see someone who looks like me represented in graphic novels, especially since I wasn’t really exposed to any of it when I was young. I didn’t have many teacher or other people around me who would make the effort to expose me to these types of novels, but now I have the opportunity to do that for myself. I think this graphic novel appropriate for fourth grade and up. It seems very kid friendly and I might even recommend it to grades below fourth grade, too.

I would read this graphic novel as a group to my students, but I would also encourage reading individually. I would especially recommend it to POC students who are interested in attending art school. In my own experience, although I did go to art school for a while and the final decision was mine to pursue a different degree for various reasons, the fact that I wasn’t really supported in the decision to go to art school doesn’t change. What I love about this graphic novel is how specific it seems to be to POC kids who want to attend art school, so I definitely want to recommend it to my POC students who are interested in art.

For read alouds, I would especially read:

  • Pgs. 16 – 21, “Meeting Liam”.

  • Pgs. 10 – 13, “Art Discouragement”.

I want to explore more novels that feature POC characters and some of their basic life struggles. In New Kid, we get to learn about an African-American teenager who experiences culture shock in his private school and we also get to learn about how he has a love for art and wanted to go to art school. Exploring more novels with POC characters that simply revolve around some of the small struggles, as opposed to much bigger struggles, would be some great reads for me, as well as students I plan to recommend them to.


One thought on “(14/20) New Kid – “20 YA Novels for Adolescents”

  1. “New Kid” sounds like a great book for elementary and middle school age students. I haven’t heard of a novel or graphic novel coving this topic until now. It is definitely on a must read list. My daughter is only in first grade, but it might be something we could read together. Thank you for discovering this one!

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