‘New Kid’ Makes History As the First Graphic Novel to Win the Newbery Medal

For the first time in history, a graphic novel has won the prestigious John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature in 2020. Jerry Craft’s New Kid was also recognized with the Coretta Scott King Book Award in the same ceremony, honoring African-American authors/illustrations for “outstanding books for children and young adults.”

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

While graphic novels have been given the Newbery Honor before, there is only one Newbery Medal awarded each year, and New Kid is the first comic to be given the award.

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?

“New Kid” by Jerry Craft