Class Act by Jerry Craft; narrated by Nile Bullock, Jesus del Orden, Guy Lockard, Marc Thompson, Peyton Lusk, Rebecca Soler, Dan Bittner, January LaVoy, Phoebe Strole, Jordan Cobb, A.J. Beckles, Robin Miles, Ron Butler, Miles Harvey, Kim Mai Guest, Kyla Garcia & Soneela Nankani
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Drew Ellis, Jordan Banks and Liam Landers are back at Riverdale Academy Day School for their eighth grade year, where they have to navigate microaggressions, colorism and class differences. The focus of this book is Drew and his home life with his grandmother, his longing to join the basketball team without becoming a stereotype, and his growing resentment towards Liam, the wealthiest of his friends.
The use of a full cast and sound effects makes this title listen like an old school radio program, allowing the listener to be fully immersed in the story. This title deals with a lot of difficult topics in a way that younger listeners can understand and relate to. It would be perfect for middle grade and younger teens.
Fans of Craft’s companion graphic novel New Kid, will appreciate getting more adventures with Drew, Jordan and Liam. For those interested in books that deal with complex male friendships, colorism and racism in middle school and cultural diversity, look to Justin A Reynolds’ Early Departures and Clean Getaway and Jewel Parker Rhodes’ Black Brother, Black Brother. Another excellent graphic novel turned audiobook is When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jameson and Omar Mohamed.
Other Nominated Titles
- Admission by Julie Buxbaum; narrated by Julia Whelan (November 30, 2020)
- Black Canary: Breaking Silence – DC Icons Series by Alexandra Monir; narrated by Kathleen McInerney (December 29, 2020)
- The Awakening of Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Tiffany D. Jackson; narrated by Landon Woodson (January 5, 2021)
- Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch; narrated by Imani Jade Powers (November 10, 2020)
- The Life I’m In by Sharon G. Flake; narrated by Bahni Turpin (January 10, 2021)
- Junk Boy by Tony Abbott; narrated by Kirby Heyborne (October 13, 2020)
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the field nomination form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.