The 2019 Youth One Book, One Denver (YOBOD) summer reading program will start this June and continue until the beginning of the school year.
The program offers readers a range of activities based on a selected book; this year it’s “The Cardboard Kingdom,” a graphic novel by Chad Sell. All the activities are cardboard-themed (as the book’s title suggests) and can be done at home. Some of them include making a robot hand, building cardboard furniture, and constructing a model city.
“The Cardboard Kingdom” follows 19 kids as they team up to convert their houses into castles, cities, and jungles, and put them together to form the Cardboard Kingdom. Everyone plays a different part in the Kingdom: Jack is the sorceress, Connie is the robot, Seth is the Gargoyle, Amanda is the mad scientist, and Sophie is the Big Banshee.
Each chapter of the book features a different character and how they formed their part of the kingdom.
To give the book more diversity, Sell collaborated with several other authors, and each chapter was written with a different partner. The co-authors included parts of their own childhood experiences in the characters they created, so all of them have unique personalities and interests, along with their own personal problems that they have to face.
Most of the characters’ stories are told through their dialogue, but a couple of the chapters are completely devoid of words. Even though they aren’t any more detailed than the other chapters, I feel like they focus more on what is happening and help to put the reader into the character’s shoes (I also found it fun to try imagine what the characters were saying).
The recommended age for the book is early- to mid-fourth grade, but I still found it enjoyable. All of the characters were unique and had great design, with one small exception: Roy, one of the neighborhood bullies, looks and acts exactly like what you would expect a stereotypical bully to be like: he makes fun of the other kids at first, but later considers his actions and becomes their friend. Despite this, his chapter was still different in a way as it was written from his point of view.
I usually don’t read graphic novels, but “The Cardboard Kingdom” is a quick read and an excellent choice for the YOBOD program this year, and anyone can find something they can relate to in at least some of the characters.