This month’s Mojo picks feature middle-grade prize-winning books. Enjoy!
New Kid by Jerry Craft, was the winner of the 2020 Newberry Medal, which was the first time a graphic novel won. Jerry’s story is about Jordan Banks, an artsy middle grader who wanted to go to an art school. Instead, his parents enroll him in an expensive private school because he has been given a scholarship. Not only is he one of the “scholarship kids,” but he’s also one of the few students of color. Jordan has to learn how to flip back and forth between his private school persona and his inner-city neighborhood persona. This story is so well told in the graphic novel format that it should be required reading for any parent or teacher who still thinks graphic novels aren’t real books. -KZ
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez, winner of the 2020 Pura Belpre Award for text. It is a Cuban mythology-inspired sci-fi adventure about what happens when Sal can reach through time and Gabi wonders if she can bring back her mother who passed away. A fun inspiring tale about friendship and found families. -LSB
Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is a 2021 Newberry Honor Book that tackles a difficult topic—the trauma of sexual abuse and the scars it leaves on its victims’ minds, hearts, and bodies. But it’s not just that. It’s also a story about resilience, strength, and healing. -SE