Jordan: "This is how I feel every single day of my life. Like I'm falling without a parachute."
Jordan's Mom: "Jordan, are you listening? Why can't you see how amazing this place is? This is one of the best schools in the entire state. It looks like Harvard or something."
Riverdale Academy is waiting for Jordan with all its students dressed in "salmon" courtesy of shopping at Grapevine Groves. These are kids who live on the Upper West Side not in Washington Heights.
On his first day Jordan is driven to school by the father of Jordan's assigned school guide, a kid by the name of Liam who is lost in his headphones. It doesn't take Jordan many weeks to see the hidden discrimination by the faculty and the overt discrimination by the school bullies.
Every day he leaves his neighborhood and follows the rules of the zone he is moving through. Hoodie up, shades on, look tough in Washington Heights, hoodie down and no smiling through Inwood, shades off and safe to draw in Kingsbridge and finally Riverdale where there are definitely no shades, no hoodie and no drawing.
Where can Jordan be himself? Where is it safe to flex a little bit of Jordan muscle and show the world what he loves and what he does well? Where are the real friends and how does he survive around the adults and the bullies who don't see him as the unique human being he is?
Sensitive, real, and an uncomfortable read for people who like walls and conformity and want the world to look just like them so they can feel powerful and safe. Now, how about let's try something different... let's meet the New Kid.
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
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 fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.
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?---from the publisher
256 pages 978-0062691194 Ages 8-12