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Book Club Kits: New Kid

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. 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, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever been new to a school? How did you feel?

  1. Have you ever felt out of place (at school or somewhere else)? Tell about your experience.

  1. Jerry Craft, the author and illustrator, uses popular movies and TV shows as inspiration for the chapter titles. Why do you think he chose to do that?

  1. Why do you think Jordan was hiding when he was in Liam’s car? (page 13)

  1. What do you think the author is trying to communicate with the illustrations on pages 18 and 19?

  1. What do you think Alexandra’s classmates think of her introduction (page 32 and 33)? What impression does Alexandra make on you?

  1. Why does Jordan compare himself to Batman?

  1. Why does Jordan have to be like a chameleon as he rides the bus to school (pages 56-57)? Why does he change as he passes through each neighborhood?

  1. Do you think Drew should have confronted Ms. Rawle? (page 90) Was he justified in saying those things to her?

  1. On page 96, Jordan’s mom says “in order to be successful in corporate America, you have to know how to play the game.” What does she mean by that? What is “the game?”

  1. How do you think Alexandra feels when Drew asks if she would like to walk with him and Jordan (pages 100-101)? How do you know? Do the illustrations give you any clues?

  1. What is Jordan’s grandfather trying to tell him on page 114? What do the different foods mean?

  1. On page 128, Jordan and Drew discuss their favorite books. What are your favorite books and why?

  1. What are the differences between the books recommended for Alex and Maury? (page 129) Why do you think the teacher chose those particular books?

  1. How do you think Jordan’s dad feels in the illustration on page 154? What is the author trying to convey?

  1. Do your impressions of Alexandra change when you learn why she wears a puppet on her hand? Explain why your impressions changed.

  1. Why do you think Jordan chose that moment in the cafeteria to stand up to Andy (page 206)?

  1. Should Ms. Rawle have read Jordan’s sketchbook? Why or why not?

  1. If you wrote a sequel to New Kid and Jordan’s second year at Riverdale, what would you include? What do you think would be different from his first year?

  1. What can you do to help new kids at your school feel welcome and included?

About the Author

Jerry Craft is a New York Times bestselling author-illustrator who has worked on numerous picture books, graphic novels, and middle grade novels, including the Newbery award-winning graphic novel, New Kid. Jerry is the creator of Mama’s Boyz, an award-winning syndicated comic strip. He has won five African American Literary Awards and 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