Recommended for ages 8+
With Star Wars Reads Day coming up in October, I’ve been boning up on my Star Wars reads for my patrons (and because I enjoy them). Yesterday, I read Jeffrey Brown’s latest chapter in his graphic Jedi Academy saga, Return of the Padawan. Jeffrey Brown has been all over the Star Wars Universe lately, with his Darth Vader parenting books, Darth Vader & Son and Vader’s Little Princess (and soon, Good Night, Darth Vader), and Jedi Academy, his graphic novel series for younger readers. The first book introduced us to Roan Novachez, an aspiring Jedi from Tatooine, who attends a Jedi Academy middle school, where he meets all sorts of new beings from across the galaxies, and gets to enjoy Head Master Yoda’s teachings.
Return of the Padawan pick up the story as Roan returns to Jedi Academy for a new school year. This time around, Roan has to deal with cyberbullying over Holobook, a teacher who seemingly has it in for him, shifting friendships, and a constant struggle against the insidious dark side, in the form of two classmates who make it a little too easy.
Roan feels awkward and out of place, and thinks his friends are drifting away from him. When the two class bullies show an interest in him, he thinks they’re the ones loosening up – until he realizes that maybe, he’s heading down a slippery path. The book is a great mix of all things middle school, including issues that kids have to deal with today, like online bullying and the confusion often present in middle school friendships. The story is told through sequential panels, but also through “Holobook” (the Jedi Academy version of Facebook) entries, report cards, and school newsletters.
This book is a no-brainer for anyone who loves Star Wars. It’s a great introduction to the Star Wars universe for younger readers, who will enjoy the cartoon art and depiction of day-to-day school life, with fun enhancements that link their lives to the Star Wars universe.
I can’t wait to get this one on my shelves at the library. It’s on sale tomorrow, so make sure you get your copy!