Is it strange for an adult to secretly want to read a mid-grade book simply because of fandom? Jedi Academy has been silently hiding in my list of books that I want to read for years. The combination of the cute illustrations of classic Star Wars characters and the hilarious antidotes of books like Darth Vader and Son, and Vader’s Little Princess has kept me interested in the series aimed at grade school children.
I have been tempted to purchase these books many times, and not for my 6-year-old son, but for myself. Well, on our Christmas holiday we stayed at my partners Aunt’s house. Being the family with the smallest of children, we were hosted in Jenn’s 9-year-old cousins room. And, as I was doing my evening reading in bed on Christmas eve I glanced over at young Kyle’s bookshelf. Low and behold, the complete trilogy of Star Wars: Jedi Academy sat, begging me to read them. “But, I’m a grown man. I’m reading my adult fiction” I said. The book ultimately proved too seductive, with it’s adorable illustration of Yoda on the cover. On the night before Christmas, when not a creature was stirring, I laid there late into the night, in that child’s room, reading that children’s book as my family snored around me.
Published in August of 2013, Jedi Academy is the non-canon Star Wars tale written and illustrated by Jeffrey Brown. Originally conceptualized by Scholastic, and gaining the rights from Lucasfilm, pre-Disney takeover, the reigns were handed to a sceptical Mr. Brown, who had earned his own popularity through books like Incredible Change-Bots, and Bighead. Gaining popularity and positive reviews quickly, Jeffrey Brown completed the trilogy, and the series continues under the reigns of Jarrett J. Krosoczka.
After failing to be accepted into pilot school, like his father, older brother, and all his friends, young Roan Novachez receives his invitation to Jedi Academy. Upon arrival, he learns that he was accepted because he carries an innate ability to use the Force. Unfortunately, he is way behind in his training, as all of his classmates have been studying for years before his arrival. Settling into his typical mid-school environment, and through the training of Jedi Masters such as Yoda and Mr. Garfield, (The lightsabre instructor who bears an uncanny resemblance to Darth Maul.) Roan catches up quickly and learns to use his talent with the Force, while making friends and enemies.
The book is composed as a collection from Roan’s own journal. Featuring his comic-style artwork, letters from his family, newspaper clippings, and random doodles. Each page is a single feature adding to the overall plot. Including some of Roan’s own observations of the school, the Force, and faculty. Specifically Yoda, whom which Roan thoroughly enjoys making light of his strange speech patterns and obscure, vague teachings.
The whole book is wildly entertaining, adding typical school situations to a recognizably reminiscent Star Wars setting. Full of individual content that will make anyone laugh, young and old. So, am I content with the fact that I read this mid-grade book to myself on Christmas eve? Absolutely, 4/5, and now I am tempted to get the other books in the collection to read all for myself. Well, maybe I’ll share with my kids… maybe.
Thanks booknerds, and thank you Santa for this little Christmas miracle.