Sunday, May 4, 2014

Star Wars: Jedi Academy

by Jeffrey Brown

Ages: 8-12 years (approximately grades 2-7)

This week’s review comes to you a little early, to pay tribute to a very special holiday across time and space: May the 4th.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a young boy named Roan Novachez kept a diary detailing his desire to attend Pilot Academy Middle School and become a great star pilot, just like his brother and dad! To Roan’s extreme disappointment, his application to Pilot Academy is rejected and he believes he will be stuck on Tatooine forever… until, that is, Master Yoda caught wind of Roan’s situation and extended him admittance to another school for kids on Roan’s side of the galaxy: Coruscant Jedi Academy. In classes with other young Jedi-in-training, many of whom started their schooling at birth, Roan sticks out like a sore tentacle. He can barely even lift a pencil using the Force, everyone notices, and not everybody is nice about it. Little does Roan know that Jedi Academy is filled with non-Force related activities such as student council, where he creates posters promoting elections and school dances, and the school newspaper, where he creates funny comics strips about pilot Ewoks. Steadily, like any Earth-bound middle-schooler, Roan learns the value of working hard and believing in himself, and eventually builds a solid foundation for his education, his budding friendships, and his future not as a star pilot, but as a real Jedi Master!

Written as a middle-schooler’s journal, this graphic novel is filled with interesting and funny doodles, comic layouts, and full pages of handwritten text outlining the life of a beginner Jedi. This book is wonderful for longtime Star Wars fans, or those just beginning to follow the Star Wars phenomenon, as it is filled with the different species, robots, and planets of the Star Wars universe, but not in a way that assumes prior knowledge. Even if Star Wars isn’t of interest, this story could be appreciated by any kid starting a new school, figuring out where he or she fits in, or who has faced disappointment in not being selected for a school, team, or other activity. A great fit for those readers who enjoy Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series, or Rachel Renee Russell’s Dork Diaries series. This also would be enjoyed by those interested in, but not quite ready for, the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. If Jedi Academy doesn’t satisfy your reader’s Star Wars appetite, be sure to check out Brown’s other hilarious, slightly younger Star Wars titles: Darth Vader and Son, and Vader’s Little Princess.

 Find Star Wars: Jedi Academy in our catalog.

And of course, May the 4th be with you!

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