Review of Mission One: The Vice Principal Problem

Mission One: The Vice Principal Problem [Blue Stars]Mission One: The Vice Principal Problem [Blue Stars]
by Kekla Magoon and Cynthia Leitich Smith; illus. by Molly Murakami
Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    176 pp.
3/24    9781536204995    $22.99
Paper ed.  9781536228663    $12.99
e-book ed.  9781536237368    $12.99

In their first graphic novel collaboration, Magoon and Smith introduce readers to cousins Riley Halfmoon and Maya Dawn. Riley is used to being surrounded by her Muscogee cousins and aunties. Maya is an only child and lives in Japan with her parents, who are on active duty. The girls both move to Urbanopolis to live with their paternal grandmother when Riley’s mom gets a new job and Maya’s parents get a new assignment. At first they find sharing a room to be a difficult adjustment; when school starts, the two continue on their separate paths until they realize the vice principal plans to cut afterschool programs for more detention space. The girls work together to expose his plans and to “be the stars” their grandmother wants them to be. The story and illustrations are a wonderful representation of a multiracial (the cousins’ paternal grandmother is Black; Riley’s mom is Muscogee, and Maya’s mother is white) and multigenerational family. The graphic novel format, with varied panel layouts in the digital illustrations, helps create a fast-paced adventure middle-grade and middle-school readers will appreciate.

Pubissue-From the March/April 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Nicholl Denice Montgomery

Nicholl Denice Montgomery is currently working on a PhD at Boston College in the curriculum and instruction department. Previously, she worked as an English teacher with Boston Public Schools.

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