I feel like Star Wars fandom is at an all time high thanks to Disney’s commitment to expanding the universe with quality storytelling. If I were a kid today, I would be obsessed with Scholastic’s Star Wars Jedi Academy book series. Like the Star Wars films themselves, a previous trilogy of books ran from 2013 to 2015 and now a new force awakens with A New Class.
Victor Starspeeder has just transferred to Jedi Academy where his sister is already a student. When Master Yoda forces Victor to participate in drama club, he feels about as uncool as he can be. As if being the new kid in school wasn’t hard enough, now he has to learn how to use the force to put on the school production of “My Fair L8-E.”
While Star Wars purists may balk at modern middle school problems taking place “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” Star Wars Jedi Academy is a ton of fun. Writer/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka tells the story in comic form along with some of Victor’s journal entries. He uses the medium to it’s fullest effect, sometimes using the school paper (“The Padawan Observer”) to fill in gaps or showing Victor’s graded homework assignments.
I found myself laughing quite a bit while reading Star Wars Jedi Academy: A New Class. In the issues of “The Padawan Observer,” Krosoczka has included parodies of classic comics such as Family Circus (“Wookie Circle”), Garfield (“Huttfield”), Peanuts (“Younglings”) and The Far Side (“The Dark Side”).
School is back in session and kids are most likely mourning the end of summer. But Star Wars Jedi Academy: A New Class shows how school can be fun and hard work can pay off. Aimed at ages 8 to 12, I highly recommend this book (and the rest of the series) to any kids who love Star Wars and can relate to Victor’s middle school challenges.