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The Cardboard Kingdom

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  6,103 ratings  ·  709 reviews
Welcome to a neighborhood of kids who transform ordinary boxes into colorful costumes, and their ordinary block into cardboard kingdom. This is the summer when sixteen kids encounter knights and rogues, robots and monsters--and their own inner demons--on one last quest before school starts again.

In the Cardboard Kingdom, you can be anything you want to be--imagine that!
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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David DeMeo Hi Barb! The sequel was announced some time ago; book 2 will be released in Summer 2021. Tell him we said hello and are so glad he enjoyed our book!
Rebecca Cole There will be a sequel to this book. I was at a conference with the author and he assured me of that. I think it will be coming out in 2021. He will r…moreThere will be a sequel to this book. I was at a conference with the author and he assured me of that. I think it will be coming out in 2021. He will release another book next year,2020, called Doodle.(less)

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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  6,103 ratings  ·  709 reviews

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The other day I listened to a very interesting speaker as she defined in crystal clear terms the words “equality” and “equity”. Simply put, “equality” is leveling the playing field and “equity” is getting the same end results. And, as with all things, I turn to the world of children’s literature to see how this applies to the books we’re handing kids. We’re seeing a small increase in the number of books for children that feature groups that have been historically pushed to the side and/or ignore ...more
Skye Kilaen
A lovely, diverse, queer-friendly series of loosely interconnected short comic stories about kids in a neighborhood and how they meet and build friendships through imaginary play. It's fun, it's silly, it also tackles some serious topics with great compassion, and I was really impressed. The dress-up cover of this graphic novel fooled me into thinking it was for the younger set, maybe preschool age? I think it's more lower/upper elementary, though as an adult reader, I found it pretty enchanting ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This brought back so many memories; there is that last 'make believe' summer you have with your friends when you build forts out of cardboard boxes and run around with a towel as a cape - then it is over. Nice group of stories with colorful art! ...more
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book just about made me cry! This is such a sweet, entertaining story that so many kids will enjoy - and the message of inclusiveness and being yourself is well-developed and age-appropriate without being preachy. A lot of fun!
Lesley Burnap
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fell in love with this amazing group of creative, clever kids...all just wanting a place to fit in! Due to some sensitive pieces (separated parents fight, the word "hellion" used by a grandparent to describe her granddaughter), I would recommend for grades 3+, unless you know your reader well. I love that a boy can be a sorceress and a girl can be a big, green banshee. Dream on kids, dream on. ...more
Gabrielle Schwabauer
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Was it a little predictable? Yeah. Was it a little contrived? Sure. Did it warm my cold, dead heart? Absolutely.

Such a fun, clever idea, and the art backs it up all the way. I wish someone had given me this book when I was 8.
Okay, so I’ve been a fan of Chad Sell’s art for quite some time now, as I think most drag fans online probably are! And because I’m a fan of his art, and because I love to support queer artists whenever and however I can, I signed up to support Chad on Patreon towards the end of 2017, which has been one fantastic investment! I genuinely look forward every month to getting that envelope in the mail with my postcard sketches and prints, and even just interacting with Chad when I make my monthly cu ...more
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So, I initially picked this up to read, because it’s on the Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice 6-8 consideration list. After thumbing through it, I determined that it seemed more appropriate for younger kids and was going to return it to the library unread. However, I am so glad I didn’t follow through and actually took the time to read this. It’s absolutely adorable and I loved it! It’s great for younger kids and for adults who want to reminisce about being a kid.
Shelle Perry
Epic Summer Fun The Cardboard Kingdom Illustrated by Chad Sell Written by  Jay Fuller, David DeMeo, Katie Schenkel, Kris Moore, Manuel Betancourt, Molly Muldoon, Vid Alliger, Cloud Jacobs, Michael Cole, and Barbara Perez Marquez.

  The Summer after fourth grade, my parents bought a refrigerator. It came in a giant cardboard box. That was the best summer ever. We had kids from all over the neighborhood come to play in our giant cardboard box. It was anything we wanted it to be and it was always fu
Jordan Henrichs
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
My two oldest kids (ages 8 and 6), recently transformed a refrigerator box into a lemonade stand, then into a castle, then into tent and it lasted longer than many of their toys we purchase for them. The Cardboard Kingdom has a fun sense of nostalgia in that way because in case anyone is wondering if kids really do play with cardboard, they do! The Cardboard Kingdom is cute and colorful and I love the themes of creativity and inclusion. I like that each writer focused on a different character be ...more
Leonard Kim
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
9/1/18: on revisiting this, I take back the 4-4.5 thing. 5 stars all the way and one of the best books of the year.

Objectively maybe 4-4.5 stars, but this gets the bump, because 1) the emotions are 5 stars, and 2) so many collaborative projects don’t live up to hopes, but this, this is how you do it.
One on hand this book is crammed full of eye-opening themes; on the other hand it shows, one summer, one neighborhood and whole passel of kids rushing out each day to expand on their self-created utopia.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Alice was an amazing character.
I'm not sure who told me about this, but I'm glad I gave it a read. As many know, I'm lukewarm on graphic novels. However, this one works. It works even though there are a ton of people who worked on this. Apparently they all worked with Chad Sell keeping things unified in concept and style. The method worked! While it was diverse, it didn't really cover disability. I wish they had had a wheelchair kid who could have played along. Basically, it was a nod to the healthier way we used to live wher ...more
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
So much to love about this book! I love the skillful way in which issues were addressed (bullying, divorce, appearance), not at all didactic. I love the celebration of childhood: children using their imaginations, creating, role-playing, self-directed play rather than scheduled play dates, video games, and structured teams. Love, love, love the artwork. Graphic novels are not my favorite format, but I loved this one.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked that the content of this graphic novel could be enjoyed by younger readers, however, I’m not sure they would necessarily understand all that is going on in the story. So many inferences they would need to make! I enjoyed the book and the creativity it could bring out in kids who read it. I know our house has fun whenever there are good cardboard boxes sitting around!
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book shows how children can deal with difficult circumstances through the use of fantasy and role play. Some of the issues that the children deal with are divorce, bullying, gender identity, the inability to make friends. Reading these stories really makes you realize that fantasy and play can have a strong positive emotional impact on children.
Abby Johnson
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a creative and fun collection of graphic stories! This book is an ode to summer, imaginative play in a diverse neighborhood and the power of kids to build a world all their own. Fun, funny, and occasionally touching, I want to hand this to every kid.
This is super sweet, fun, and funny. A great middle-grade GN for all kinds of kids, with bright, fun art. Definitely one to hand to your fans of Smile and the like.
Laura Harrison
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the top middle grade graphic novels of 2018. Truly special.
Evie Messer
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This amazing book gave me a sense of nostalgia when reading about the creativity and imaginations of the characters. It reminded me of all of the fun times I experienced playing make-believe when I was little. It is a very quick and entertaining read that I would recommend highly to anyone with a love of fun and wholesome quick reads.
A neighbourhood of kids, big adventures, tons of imagination and cardboard.

I am just so delighted I finally had the chance to buy this one and then read it. Now that I read it I can just say that I loved it. How it is all adventure, all imagination, but also discusses real issues. For instance Seth, aka The Gargoyle, whose parents are divorcing (his dad is apparently cheating on his mom). Or Roy who is kind of a dick until you find out why (though it still doesn't excuse his crummy behaviour fr
Stephen Connor
A really engaging collection of stories that focus on The Cardboard Kingdom, a make-believe world created by a group of children on their summer holidays.

The children create simple costumes out of cardboard boxes to develop alter-egos such as The Robot, The Blob and The Banshee. Their true passions are given an outlet - whether they want to be loud, engage their scientific curiosity, even ask questions about their own sexualities. The layout shows the children in their cardboard costumes alongs
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved pretty much everything about this, the art, the imagination theme, the different representation, not only of race and orientation, but also of home life, married parents, divorced parents, single parents, grandparents. As much as it was about kids playing make-believe it was also about families and finding ways to acceptance. A really strong message cleverly hidden in a fun and goofy story of kids playing a game as old as time. Highly, highly recommend.
Mary Lee
This book celebrates imagination in a series of short graphic stories, some wordless, some not. It's fun to see the children's play change and develop. It will be fascinating to talk with readers about not just the children in the book, but also the adults. ...more
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I slowly savored this little piece of sunshine, reading bits before bed. Put this on everyone’s holiday lists, especially if they love whimsical stories, childhood friendships that should never end, and whole face smiles for days.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
What I wished my childhood was like.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
I will say that I found myself a little bit confused a few times but it was still a wonderful read.
Suzanne Dix
Absolutely fantastic! What a great read for anyone looking to understand who they are and how they can find true friends.
Sarah B
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
To my surprise I enjoyed this graphic novel about a bunch of very imaginative kids in a neighborhood. They love using cardboard and a bunch of other simple items (blankets, tape, hoses, etc) to play dress up. Each kid creates their very own monster, superhero or character based on their own designs. And then they play. As the story continues more and more characters are added. It was obvious to me that many of the characters are based on popular movies or series, which made it even more fun for ...more
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