New Kid

By Jerry Craft,

Book cover of New Kid

Book description

Winner of the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and Kirkus Prize for Young Readers' Literature!

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to…

Shepherd is reader supported.
We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund the project for readers and authors along with our membership program.

Why read it?

6 authors picked New Kid as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Representation in literature matters, and Jerry Craft's book offers a unique perspective on a young boy's experience of transferring to a private middle school where he stands out due to his race and socioeconomic background.

The book thoughtfully highlights microaggressions and their impact, making it an essential read for children. It's an excellent starting point for important conversations on race, identity, and friendship.

When I interviewed Jerry Craft in 1994, he was a young cartoonist trying to sell his first comic strip, “Mama’s Boyz,”  a humorous look at the everyday life of a middle-class black family. All the major syndicates turned it down—too black. Today, his graphic novel New Kid is hugely popular and honored for its story of a middle-class black kid caught between two worlds. Race is central to his story, but Craft hasn’t written an angry book. With his easy and natural way with dialogue and lively and warm drawing style, he’s written a kind of middle school Our Gang…

Jordan loves to draw and hopes to be sent to an arts middle school. But his well-intentioned parents send him to an exclusive private school where, as one of the few kids of color, he faces dismissive and sometimes insulting attitudes.

I loved the character of Jordan. How he makes new friends, some wealthy, some on financial aid. How kind and considerate he is towards his classmates, courteous with his teachers, and loving with his parents. Yet, he also speaks up when he needs to, and questions unacceptable behavior. He expresses his feelings mostly through his clever drawings and observations…

From Sylvie's list on kids you’d want to be friends with.

Seventh-grader Jordan Banks loves drawing cartoons, 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. A timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real. I loved this so much, I immediately bought five more copies to give away. 

From Rebecca's list on good allyship.

This novel made me laugh out loud, and the lessons it offers in grace under pressure linger long after reading. Budding cartoonist Jordan Banks wants to go to art school for seventh grade, but his mom enrolls him in a prestigious private school known for strong academics instead. Not only does he have to get used to a new school, Jordan is one of the only kids of color in his whole grade. Making the long commute from his Washington Heights apartment to the Riverdale Academy Day School, he finds himself torn between two worlds—and feeling like he might not…

From Cathy's list on families, changes, and challenges.

Seventh-grader and aspiring cartoonist, Jordan Banks is starting over at a prestigious new school where he struggles to fit in. If you’ve ever found yourself torn between two worlds- you’ll relate to this. Jordan has to learn to navigate his new school life, while trying to stay connected to his neighborhood friends. This is a book about staying true to yourself. It tackles the difficulty of being a kid of color in a predominantly white school, and everything that comes along with it. Jerry Craft does a great job infusing humor and heart into this very honest story.

From Scott's list on navigating friendships and family.

Want books like New Kid?

Our community of 8,000+ authors has personally recommended 10 books like New Kid.

Browse books like New Kid

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in magical realism, cartoonists, and school?

8,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about magical realism, cartoonists, and school.

Magical Realism Explore 304 books about magical realism
Cartoonists Explore 41 books about cartoonists
School Explore 191 books about school