New Kid by Jerry Craft is the first graphic novel to win the Newbery Award. Craft also won the Coretta Scott King Author award. He stated in a Publisher’s Weekly article that he wrote books he wished a 10-year-old Jerry Craft could have had that might have made him read at an early age. At that young age, there weren’t any books that were right for him or had a character that looked like him.
New Kid is based on Craft’s childhood experiences as well as his two sons. The main character is Jordan, a 12-year-old African American boy, who begins the school year at a prestigious middle school his mom insists will help him succeed in life. Jordan would rather go to art school and his humorous comic drawing skills are interspersed throughout the book about his thoughts and experiences on the social and cultural norms of middle school life. Jordan has to figure out how to live between two worlds without being labeled as a sellout or tokenized at school. Craft cleverly titles each chapter with a movie or book titled pun like The Socky Horror Puppet Show and The Hungry Games: Stop Mocking J.
New Kid successfully captures the growing pains, humor and relationships needed to foster growth in a young, diverse child. Jerry Craft is celebrating both award wins by working hard on New Kid 2, scheduled for release on Oct 6, 2020. Keep on keeping on Mr. Craft. Congratulations!