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Class Act by Jerry Craft

Companion to the Newbery Medal Winner “New Kid”

The first page of this graphic novel by Jerry Craft makes the theme perfectly clear:

Be kind.

Be fair.

Be you.

While this sounds like a simple request, “Class Act” shows the struggles students face while navigating racial and cultural differences.

The prestigious Riverdale Academy has students of varying races and backgrounds working through their differences as they learn to feel comfortable in their own skin. It isn’t until they step into each other’s shoes that the main characters Drew, Jordan and Liam truly learn to accept each other, and themselves. This is a great book to teach students about both the structure of graphic novels, and also about the important topic of systematic racism.

Student Thoughts:

Nathan and Lukas read “Class Act by Jerry Craft during our graphic novel unit in June. They created a jam board to track their thinking about the book.


I think that all teachers should have the graphic novel “Class Act ” in their classroom. It provides a clear message about discrimination and shows how differently some races are treated. Class Act is a book that lots of 6th graders would enjoy reading and get something positive from. OverallClass Act” sends an important message that everyone can learn from.

The lesson of being yourself is so important. As the following panel shows, middle school students often struggle with trying to be what they think the world wants them to be rather than just being themselves. Teachers should have this book in their classroom to show students of all shapes, sizes and races that being comfortable with yourself is the only way to be truly happy.

“Class Act” is a great book with a very important message. It comes highly recommended by my sixth graders and their teacher!

Nathan and Luke sharing “Class Act” with their classmates.

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