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Jerry Craft’s New Kid won the Newbery Medal, and it was one of our picks for Best in Kids in 2019, so I’ve been eagerly anticipating Craft’s follow-up, Class Act, since its announcement. New Kid’s main character, Jordan, relinquishes the limelight to Drew, who is taller and has darker skin than Jordan. As the only two Black kids in an elite school, both grapple with racial issues involving their teachers, fellow students, well-intentioned but problematic diversity efforts, and the different ways the boys experience life with different skin tones. Rather than being didactic, the proceedings are deeply personal for each character, voiced by talented kid actors, which will encourage young readers to see and appreciate each other for the differences even more so than the similarities they share. Class Act might be even better than New Kid, so fans of the first will love this one.

Sean T.

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