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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Jedi Academy, written and illustrated by Jeffrey Brown. Scholastic, 2013. $13.99 ages 9 and up

"So, I've only been here two days and I can already tell I don't fit in here. Literally. Even the souvenir Jedi Academy t-shirt I got was extra, extra small. It seems like most of the students here are nice, at least, but they've all been studdying studying the Force since they were little and I don't always know what they're talking about."

Roan is an inhabitant of Tatooine and has harbored the lifelong dream of being a pilot, just like his older brother. When his application is denied, he is devastated. So when a letter arrives asking him to enrol in Jedi Academy, he jumps at the chance. It takes him no time at all to realize he may have been too hasty. His classmates have been studying for a very long time. Roan is decidedly different from them, in almost every way.

He knows that there will be much for him to learn, and he is right. As he works through each new learning experience, he is often overwhelmed. He can't seem to get the knack for using the Force, but not from lack of trying. Perseverance pays off, and he is able to figure out dances, field trips, new friends, bullies and elections before he completes a very tough year of training.

Roan's story is evidenced in his journal entries, and through a variety of letters, announcements, assignments, school newspaper articles and the teachings of Yoda and a few other somewhat familiar characters. What a trip for a kid like Roan to be a part of the Star Wars environment!

This is a perfect book for its intended audience. What reader, who is male, would not love having  a book that is all things Star Wars, and told in graphic style with entries written by another boy with similar sensibilities? It's a great story, full of fun and witty dialogue, and sure to please those readers who enjoy the graphic style. If you are in a classroom, you might need  more than one copy!

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