WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Jedi Academy by Jeffery Brown
Type: Children’s, School, Slice of Life
Basic Plot: After failing to get into a Pilot Academy, Roan Novechez is sent to Jedi Academy to learn the art of being a Jedi.
Plot: 3/5 Average: The plot is the typical life of a fifth grade boy, dealing with relatable issues of bullying, relationships, and fitting in. While nothing is especially unique, children may find it funny as well as like the Star Wars theme.
Graphics: 3/5 Average: While nothing too extraordinary, the graphics are still cute and pretty. They have almost a school sketch style, while not being so much as to look poorly done.
Moral: 3/5 A Good Moral: Unlike many graphic novels, Jedi Academy has good moral and attitude about it. Roan is disappointed that he did not get into the school he wanted and a little apprehensive about joining Jedi Academy, but soon finds that it is an opportunity to try new things and meet new people. By the end of the book, he is excited for another year. The moral of taking failures and change to make something new is a good one for everybody.
Overall: 3/5 Average: I do recommend Jedi Academy in some ways more than other graphic novels, as the attitude is much better, though many parents may not like the Star Wars theme in general.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Childish Romance: A boy is in a healing tank in his underwear. Boys ask each other if they have kissed girls and all say they have before admitting that they were all lying. A boy has a crush on a girl and is asked if he likes her. He slow dances with her, kisses her cheek, and gets hugged, He blushes sometimes. A boy’s brother has a secret girlfriend, and he asks his brother if he will get a date for a dance. Mating calls are mentioned for educational purposes. Yoda is shown shirtless with a towel on his shoulder.
Violence: 1/5 Light Violence: A boy purposely bumps another boy. A girl accidentally whacks a boy in the face. It mentions a robot will shock students that misbehave. Characters engage in lightsaber competitions.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Brief Mention: “Geez” is misused twice.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Emotional Problems: There are drawings of spaceships being blown up, shooting each other, and crashing and burning. A boy hurts his ankle. Some people are tied up by ewoks in a picture. A boy’s science project explodes. A boy passes out from under nourishment. A boy tells a ghost story about a killer ghost. A school guide mentions that animals could kill them on a field trip. A mental image of a man shows him with a scar, a picture shows a skeleton of an animal.
Religious Issues: 2/5 Controversal Content: The force is talked about and taught about. briefly explaining it as a universal power that flows in all living creatures. Characters use it to pick up objects, and it is mentioned it can be used to “trick” people. A boy tells a ghost story about a killer wookie. The school newspaper has and shows a horoscope called a holoscope. They are then scared by their teacher. Telepathy and its definition is mentioned. There is mention of the “Jedi Temple.” The phrases “Good Luck” and “May the Force be with you.” are mentioned.
Magic: 0/5 Brief Mention: None
Others: Characters dance and discuss the arrangements for a dance party. Zombies are briefly mentioned. A boy is a DJ.
Overall: 2½/5 Older Child Appropriate: While not inappropriate, some parents may want to wait until their children are ten to eleven to read a book about middle school crushes and the false Star Wars religion, while others might want to pass it up altogether.