A Review of NewsPrints by Ru Xu

by Hal Patnott

In keeping with our reaffirmation of the core values of children’s librarianship (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership, and responsiveness), we are intentionally highlighting books for children and teens that exemplify one or more of these. Many of the titles will of course be appropriate for more than one core value. We feel today’s entry, NewsPrints, exemplifies “collaboration,” “inclusiveness,” and “leadership.”


NewsPrints by Ru Xu (Scholastic/Graphix 2017)

Ten years of war with Grimmaea orphaned the children of Nautilene. Instead of attending school, the girls sell cookies and the boys sell newspapers to fund their food and shelter. Blue, one such orphan, finds a new home as one of the Bugle Boys, selling papers on the street. She loves her family of fellow orphans and respects the Bugle’s dedication to print the truth. The only problem is that Blue isn’t a boy. If anyone finds out her secret, she could lose everything. When Blue meets Crow, a boy who has also been cast aside and denied the opportunity to be himself, she decides to stand up for herself and for her new friend to give others the courage to stop hiding who they are.

NewsPrints, a debut graphic novel by Ru Xu, begins in the midst of action and never slows down as mysteries unravel around Blue. The full-color art and dynamic layouts bring Blue’s world to life. Although the story is set in a made up country with elements of science fiction, Blue’s struggles to be herself, protect her friend, and fight for truth are real. The adults in Blue’s life are complex—while some have good intentions, they don’t’ always do the right thing. Ru Xu crafts a narrative with a strong theme of the need tolerance and inclusiveness without providing overly simplified solutions for how to achieve this. Her characters have to take risks with life-altering consequences, but even when they do, they don’t necessarily save the day. The resolution suggests there is more to look forward to of Blue’s adventure.

Stop by the Butler Center to check out our advanced reader’s copy of NewsPrints.

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