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The Cardboard Kingdom
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The Cardboard Kingdom

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,429 ratings  ·  313 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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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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Julie Kirchner
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!
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.
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.
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.
Kristen Thorp
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So. Damn. Great.
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.
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
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
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Real cute! And queer positive! And colorful and fun. I liked it a lot.
Raven Black
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Couple plot points a little awkward but overall good
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.
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.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a joy to read! I love how these characters are fleshed out chapter by chapter. The storytelling is sweet and heartbreaking and innocent. A grand slam for all ages!
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was lucky to get this as an ARC and will be happy to place it in my libraries. This is a great graphic novel for younger kids that celebrates the imagination while addressing issues important to younger reader such as bullies, making friends and disagreements. It also touches on more difficult subjects like gender identity with a deft hand and normalizes lifestyles to which some kids may not have been exposed. The imagination of these you characters and the whimsical illustrations make this a ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What I wished my childhood was like.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it so much!!! It captured the joy of summer break and neighborhood friends and playing pretend and was utterly delightful and poignant.
Niki Marion
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So lovely and pure and good! Looking more into the artists & writers collaborators--but this is a gem of a graphic novel about a neighborhood of kids with serious imaginations, crafting skilllzzzz, and the gift of active, dynamic supportiveness, one that they give to each other many times over.
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really good. Each chapter stands alone as featuring one kid in the neighborhood and how they pick/develop the character they use in the collaborative/imaginative playspace of their backyards. Each kid is an individual and the story as a whole gently introduces a variety of family situations, pushes back on gender/identity issues, and is diverse and representative. I really liked it.
Emily Stueven
Sweet, often poignant, endlesssly creative, and, most of all, fun! Cardboard Kindom feels like this year's El Deafo, Roller Girl, or Real Friends, in that it exemplifies how weighty and full of emotional authenticity a great 'tween graphic novel can be.
Emma Andje
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Cardboard Kingdom is Phineas and Ferb meets Lumberjanes! This super diverse graphic novel tackles several issues grappling modern children including gender identity and bullying, and will inspire a plethora of extravagant summer adventures.

I was given an ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Katie Lawrence
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
In these short episodes Chad Sell and his collaborators create a wonderful neighborhood full of kids who use their imaginations & a lot of cardboard to bond and tackle any issue life throws their way. The kids of Cardboard Kingdom are dealing with younger siblings, bullies, struggles to make friends, budding crushes, competition versus teamwork, adult perceptions on behavior, gender roles/stereotypes, difficulties with imagination and parents separating. I loved that the young heroes dealt w ...more
I love this comic so much I don't even know what to say. It has an incredibly diverse cast and the stories are beautifully honest (sometimes emotional). There's someone for almost any kid reader to connect with in that neighborhood. This should be in ALL libraries.
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