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Discussion Guide: New Kid

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Book Summary New Kid:

Middle-school student Jordan Banks wants to go to art school, but his parents send him to an upscale private school away from his neighborhood and friends. His parents, especially his mom, want him to give the school a chance. Jordan has to adjust to a much less diverse school population, as one of the few African American students at Riverdale Academy, and make new friends and wear pink or salmon colors. This graphic novel has something for children but also for their caregivers to read and enjoy.

For children ages 8 - 12 years old who love: Raina Telgemeier’s graphic novels, Smile, Sisters, and Drama and Guts, Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese, and Crossover by Kwame Alexander and Just Jaime by Terri Libenson.

  • Check out the link to free graphic novel sheets below. You can use these sheets to begin your comic strips like author and illustrator Jerry Craft. Use New Kid as inspiration to draw characters that look like all the different people you see in the story, your communities, and other favorite books and television shows.

  • Jerry Craft’s companion graphic novel Class Act features all Jordan and the characters you loved in New Kid, but now we see the world through Drew’s eyes. Compare the differences between Jordan and Drew and their actions in the stories and why they make their choices.

  • What’s excellent about graphic novels, especially Jerry Craft’s books, is that you can read them more than once and find something new in the story and the artwork. Reread New Kid or another graphic novel you loved and see if you can discover something new in the panels that you never noticed before.

  • At the beginning of each chapter heading of New Kid, a pop culture reference features the characters. See if you can figure out what films or other books each chapter heading is referring to. When you need help, sit with an older family member and see if they can assist you.

  • Would you please enjoy New Kid in a new way and listen to the audiobook version available via hoopla digital? The voice actors did a great job!

Graphic Novel Sheet 1

Graphic Novel Sheet 2

—Thank you to author Jerry Craft and Associate Director, Publicity of HarperCollins Children's Books Jacquelynn Burke.

I have to say, I have never remembered a time in my life when I did not like to draw. From the time I was very little, I always had a pencil or crayons or pen in my hand. Eventually, I started writing my own comics because, I guess, I wanted to see characters who looked like me. Then slowly but surely, I realized that in order to draw these stories, I had to write them myself. That was what started it, it was comic books, and then as I got a little older, my own comic strips.

—Jerry Craft
New Kid
Craft, Jerry