Class Act: New Kid, Book 2

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Class Act: New Kid, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Eighth-graders navigate race, class in savvy graphic novel.

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Kids say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Class Act offers opportunities to discuss issues of race, class, and gender. The characters are ethnically and economically diverse.

Positive Messages

How much money someone has doesn't determine how happy they are. Kids from different backgrounds can find ways to work together,

Positive Role Models & Representations

A good basketball player, Drew is more outgoing than his friend Jordan, who wants to be a cartoonist. They interact with kids from a wide variety of backgrounds -- Black, White, Asian, LatinX, neuroatypical -- and try to be compassionate and inclusive. 

Violence
Sex

Some of the girls flirt with Drew, mostly by bringing him food.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Class Act is a companion volume to New Kid, the Newbery award-winner by writer/artist Jerry Craft. The story follows friends Jordan and Drew as they move into eighth grade at Riverdale Day Academy and learn to deal with more privileged kids. There's no harsh language or violence, and only a tiny amount of awkward flirting.

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User Reviews

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Teen, 17 years old Written bytien.17 October 19, 2020

Bought It! Was Worth it

It was so good! I am actually 10 not 17 just to clarify.

I liked it! I didn't LOVE it. But I would read it again. I feel like there didn't need to b... Continue reading

What's the story?

As CLASS ACT opens with eighth grader Drew Ellis entering his second year at prestigious Riverdale Academy Day School. He's glad to be back with his friends Liam and Jordan, but things seem different somehow. Drew has dark skin and lives with his grandmother; lighter-skinned Jordan's family is solidly middle class; and Liam resides on an estate and has his own personal assistant. The differences between the boys keep adding up, even as there's more drama at school with girls, older kids, and teachers who try too hard. Will Drew be able to keep his cool and stay true to himself?

Is it any good?

Middle school can be tough, and this perceptive, heartfelt, and funny graphic novel captures the essence of those turbulent years. The highly diverse cast struggles with issues of race, gender, and class as Drew and his fellow students try to fit in and remain true to themselves. Author-illustrator Jerry Craft has a lot of fun with his characters, but he also has a serious side, especially apparent when Drew, Jordan, and Jordan's father are pulled over by the police. Class Act is the kind book that invites re-reading even as fans look forward to the next installment. Here's hoping the third act is ready soon!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Class Act addresses issues of race and class. Why is it sometimes awkward to discuss those subjects?

  • Some girls like to touch Drew's hair when they pass in the hall. Why would that upset someone? What boundaries do you set for people regarding your hair and body? 

  • Can kids from different circumstances be good friends? How can schools instill acceptance among their students?

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