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Class Act
Cover of Class Act
Class Act
New York Times bestselling author Jerry Craft returns with a companion book to New Kid, winner of the 2020 Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Kirkus Prize. This time, it's...
New York Times bestselling author Jerry Craft returns with a companion book to New Kid, winner of the 2020 Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Kirkus Prize. This time, it's...
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Description-

  • New York Times bestselling author Jerry Craft returns with a companion book to New Kid, winner of the 2020 Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Kirkus Prize. This time, it's Jordan's friend Drew who takes center stage in another laugh-out-loud funny, powerful, and important story about being one of the few kids of color in a prestigious private school.

    Eighth grader Drew Ellis is no stranger to the saying "You have to work twice as hard to be just as good." His grandmother has reminded him his entire life. But what if he works ten times as hard and still isn't afforded the same opportunities that his privileged classmates at the Riverdale Academy Day School take for granted?

    To make matters worse, Drew begins to feel as if his good friend Liam might be one of those privileged kids. He wants to pretend like everything is fine, but it's hard not to withdraw, and even their mutual friend Jordan doesn't know how to keep the group together.

    As the pressures mount, will Drew find a way to bridge the divide so he and his friends can truly accept each other? And most important, will he finally be able to accept himself?

    New Kid, the first graphic novel to win the Newbery Medal, is now joined by Jerry Craft's powerful Class Act.

About the Author-

  • Jerry Craft is the winner of the Newbery Medal for his graphic novel New Kid. He has worked on numerous picture books, graphic novels, and middle grade novels. Jerry is the creator of Mama's Boyz, an award-winning syndicated comic strip. He has won five African American Literary Awards, and he is a cofounder of the Schomburg Center's Annual Black Comic Book Festival. He received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts and now lives in Connecticut. Visit him online at www.jerrycraft.com.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from August 15, 2020
    Jordan Banks has returned to the elite Riverdale Academy Day School for eighth grade, and although he still doesn't smell like an eighth grade boy--much to his dismay--his growth spurt comes in other forms. Unlike New Kid (2019), this sequel offers the perspectives of not just Jordan, but also his best friend, Drew, and his wealthy White friend, Liam. As Jordan navigates what may be his last year at RAD before transferring to art school, he frequently compares his experiences with Drew's: Both boys are Black, but Drew is taller, more athletic, and has darker skin. Drew also has a new flattop that attracts unwanted touching from non-Black kids. This story focuses on how differently RAD students and teachers treat light-skinned Jordan and dark-skinned Drew and also how middle-class Jordan, working-class Drew, and rich Liam negotiate a friendship of mutual respect and care. RAD administrators and teachers have also realized that they need to work on diversity, equity, and inclusion, but their leadership choice for this initiative results in more microaggressions for the students of color. Jordan's cartoon "intermissions," black-and-white pencil sketches, capture his imaginative wit while conveying perceptive observations about race and class that ring true. Each chapter's title page textually and illustratively echoes popular graphic works for young readers such as Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid. A well-Crafted, visually rich, truth-telling tale for our troubled times that affirms the eternal importance of friends. (author's note) (Graphic fiction. 9-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from September 1, 2020
    Grades 4-7 *Starred Review* This follow-up to the accessible and profoundly necessary New Kid (it didn't win the Newbery Medal and a Coretta Scott King Book Award for nothing), puts the focus on Drew, Jordan's friend and fellow Black student at their upper-crust, mostly white private school in New York. The two are now in their second year, and the racial issues are still complicated, but Class Act also widens its examination of difference. Physically, the slow-to-develop Jordan experiences classmates growing taller, starting to smell different, and forming new relationships with the other genders. Economically, children from a struggling school visit the expansive private campus and are astonished and disturbed, and the boys' visit to wealthy Liam's mansion and apparently carefree life triggers hard realizations. Drew, darker-skinned than Jordan, faces a different set of expectations and assumptions from white classmates and faculty, as well as the resentment of lifelong friends in his neighborhood. It's a tribute to Craft's skill and his deep humanity that both Drew and Liam, who face very different struggles, use those struggles to widen and deepen their respective perspectives. Never relying on platitudes, Craft makes the story honest and believable and presents it as a powerful, if difficult to achieve, real-world possibility. The miracle, once again, is that he not only captures anguish but also finds hilarity, aided considerably by his affable art, filled with visual puns and asides. Another work of resounding understanding and empathy.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Fresh off his 2020 Newbery win, Craft is one of the hottest names in children's comics, and this follow-up to the sensational New Kid is going to be even hotter. Stock up.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from October 1, 2020

    Gr 4-8-Picking up where New Kid left off, this sequel finds Jordan starting another riotous, discomfiting year at Riverdale Academy Day School and pondering his future. For now, he has time to burn alongside best friends Drew and Liam. An initial sequence following the three boys' daily commutes encapsulates conflicts to come. Lighter-skinned Black, middle-class Jordan eats breakfast with his loving parents before his father drives him to school from Manhattan. Drew, who is also Black yet darker-skinned and working-class and whose doting grandmother is already at work when he leaves for school, catches two buses from Co-op City. Live-in staff attend to white, wealthy Liam while his parents, entrenched in cold war at opposite ends of the table, ignore their three children. Craft hereafter toggles among these points of view but focuses on Drew, who must work "twice as hard to go half as far." Once again, the author/illustrator's full-color panels captivate, drawing on comics' capacity for visual metaphor and hyperbole to deliver heavy payloads. He relies on Jordan's cartoons-rendered in simple, black-and-white linework-to pause the narrative and deliver incisive, bite-size observations on race, socioeconomic status, burgeoning individuality, and pubescent perils. (Lest the subject matter seem overwhelming, be it known that the book is hilarious-see, for instance, the interstitial title pages parodying popular graphic novel covers.) In time, the growing boys-unlike their school, which has no clue how to address institutional inequities and simmering tensions-initiate the painful but necessary work required to truly see and support one another. VERDICT Lightning strikes twice as Craft again produces a funny and appealing yet sensitive and nuanced middle grade tale of inequity and microaggressions.-Steven Thompson, Bound Brook Memorial P.L., NJ

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 5, 2020
    In this companion to Newbery winner New Kid, eighth grader Drew Ellis embarks on a turbulent second year at the prestigious Riverdale Academy Day School in the Bronx alongside best friends Jordan Banks and Liam Landers. Drew and Jordan, who are both African American, face different struggles: Jordan, an aspiring cartoonist from Washington Heights, Manhattan, wishes he could attend art school instead, while Drew, an excellent basketball player from the Bronx, worries he’ll fulfill a stereotype if he joins the school team. Yet they both suffer microaggressions at their predominantly white, upper-class private school; in one scene, a non-Black student runs her hands through Drew’s hair, despite his vocal discomfort, and in another, white students give Black classmates—excluding Jordan—“reparations” after watching an exploitative film called The Mean Streets of South Uptown. Interwoven comics by Jordan further depict his experiences as a light-skinned Black boy, while parodic chapter title spreads offer levity. Deftly weaving discussions of race, socioeconomics, colorism, and solidarity into an accessible narrative, Craft offers a charming cast journeying through the complicated landscapes of puberty, self-definition, and changing friendships, all while grappling with the tensions of attending an institution that structurally and culturally neglects students of color. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Agent: Judy Hansen, Hansen Literary Agency.

  • DOGO Books littlebean44 - Very good! But you should also read the first book, New Kid!
  • Booklist (starred review) "Craft makes the story honest and believable and presents it as a powerful, if difficult to achieve, real-world possibility. Another work of resounding understanding and empathy."
  • School Library Journal (starred review) "Lightning strikes twice as Craft again produces a funny and appealing yet sensitive and nuanced middle grade tale of inequity and microaggressions."
  • The Horn Book (starred review) "Hilarious and heartfelt. Craft adeptly balances poignant questions...with laugh-out-loud moments of adolescence, making Class Act a substantial snapshot of the interior life of boys, especially Black boys who are too often not afforded such attention, love, and care."
  • The New York Times Book Review "A moving and often very funny story about the convergence of an awkward age (13 to 14) with an awkward age (America's racial reckoning).... [Craft] balances his biting sendup of American race relations with poignant family portraits, and the art is most striking in quiet moments."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "A well-Crafted, visually rich, truth-telling tale for our troubled times that affirms the eternal importance of friends."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Deftly weaving discussions of race, socioeconomics, colorism, and solidarity into an accessible narrative, Craft offers a charming cast journeying through the complicated landscapes of puberty, self-definition, and changing friendships, all while grappling with the tensions of attending an institution that structurally and culturally neglects students of color."
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review) "Craft approaches Drew's—and his devoted friends'—dilemmas with candor and respect. Kids who missed volume one can dive in here and backtrack later; kids already on board will identify episodes and new characters around which they can build hope for a third entry."

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