Published by HarperCollins
Summary: Jordan Banks’ true love is art, and he’d love to be starting seventh grade at an art school, but his parents have a different idea. They’ve enrolled him in Riverdale Academy Day School, an exclusive, mostly white private school where Jordan is one of the few students of color. The story follows him from his first day to his last, as he tries to strike a balance between his new friends at Riverdale and old friends from his Washington Heights neighborhood. Jordan is a smart and observant kid, and the story reflects his observations about the assumptions made about him and other African American and Latinx kids. He also has some of his own beliefs challenged about some of his white classmates. By the end of the year, he’s feeling more comfortable at school, has kept his connections back home, and is ready for another year at Riverdale, the story of which we can hope will be told in a sequel. 256 pages; grades 4-8.
Pros: Jerry Craft tackles racism head-on, but with a light enough touch to make an entertaining and engaging story with a likable protagonist. I feel confident in predicting that this will fly off whatever library shelves it is placed on. Put it in the hands of fans of realistic graphic novel authors like Raina Telgemeier, Victoria Jamieson, and Jennifer Holm.
Cons: There were a lot of characters to keep track of, which somehow is always more difficult for me in a graphic novel.