Review of School Trip

 School Trip
by Jerry Craft; illus. by the author
Intermediate, Middle School    HarperAlley/Quill Tree/HarperCollins    256 pp.
4/23    9780062885548    $24.99
Paper ed.  9780062885531    $14.99
e-book ed.  9780062885555    $12.99

In his third graphic-novel outing (New Kid, rev. 1/19; Class Act, rev. 11/20), thirteen-year-old Jordan Banks no longer sees himself as the new kid at elite Riverdale Academy Day School; he’s the “new and improved” kid (“Jordan 2.0”), and he has a big decision to make: continue at RAD or go to art school. He wants to pursue art, but he’s afraid of having to start all over again. First, though, he and his friends are going on a class trip to Paris—along with nemesis Andy. This book by Coretta Scott King and Newbery Award–winning author Craft effectively uses brightly colored panels, speech bubbles, dialogue, and black-and-white sketchbook pages to portray the challenges of an overseas school trip for Black students as well as of this diverse group of students as a whole in navigating a new city and their own relationships. When one of the friends finally confronts Andy about years of verbal torture, the tone of the trip changes, and the students, including Andy, begin to take responsibility for how they want to be treated and how they treat one another, returning home with renewed commitment to making Riverdale a good school for everyone. Pair this with Santat’s graphic-memoir treatment of a similar European trip, A First Time for Everything (rev. 1/23).

From the May/June 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Dean Schneider

Dean Schneider teaches eighth grade English at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee.

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