The Cardboard Kingdom

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
The Cardboard Kingdom Book Poster Image
Parents recommend
Kids make up own brave adventures in fun tale of free play.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Shows kids how much fun imaginative play can be, making up your own games and creating costumes among a diverse group of neighborhood kids.

Positive Messages

With a little bit of imagination and cardboard, kids can have great adventures together. Kids should be able to express themselves without fear of being teased.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Each kid in the neighborhood has a different idea about who they are and how they relate to everyone else. Conflicts are inevitable, but they are usually resolved through empathy, kindness.


Kids battle robots, monsters, and wizards, but no one gets hurt.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Cardboard Kingdom is a graphic novel by Chad Sell, in which neighborhood kids pretend to be superheroes by creating costumes from cardboard. The cast is broad and diverse, with characters of different ethnicities, genders, and physical abilities. The emphasis is on imagination, cooperation,and kindness. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLuckyGrace June 2, 2019

Good Messages but Subtle Gay Agenda

One boy dresses up as a sorceress. It's disappointing to see in a children's book. Would have been great if the author wasn't trying to sneak it... Continue reading
Adult Written byedragan April 23, 2019


I am not really a fan of graphic novels, but my 8 year old daughter is. She was confused about Jack's character. Jack is a boy but dresses as an empress. N... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 25, 2019

Emotional book for older kids.

The book is distributed to young kids, yes, but to fully understand a kid probably would have to be older.

So first, let’s go over language. There is little to... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 15, 2019

This book is truly a blessing

The cast is diverse and interesting to see interact. Every character is unique and has their own issues to the point that almost anybody can find a character th... Continue reading

What's the story?

At the start of THE CARDBOARD KINGDOM, 16 kids spend the last days of summer making superhero costumes and using their imaginations to stage epic battles. Some are heroes, some might be villains, but all learn lessons about getting along while being true to who they are in real life. The highly diverse cast deals with divorcing parents, difficult grandparents, neighborhood bullies, and their own inner demons.

Is it any good?

This kindhearted, warm, and funny graphic novel captures the many delights of imaginative play among old friends and newcomers to the neighborhood. In The Cardboard Kingdom, author-illustrator Chad Sell has a bold, expressive drawing style, perfect for capturing the subtleties of kids with different backgrounds, interests, and abilities. Geared toward younger readers, the book tells a complete story but also invites further adventures. Readers may be inspired to make their own costumes for summertime fun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The Cardboard Kingdom promotes imaginative play. How are the neighborhood kids able to make costumes that match their interests?

  • How can kids with different interests work together and become friends? Is it more fun to play by yourself or to invite others to join you?

  • How can stories about superheroes change things in the real world? Why are they so popular in different media? What do kids learn from them?

Book details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love superheroes

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