The Cardboard Kingdom (2018)


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!

From: Random House

Notes on This Title

The focal characters of this title are children. None of their identities regarding gender or sexuality are directly stated. However, nearly every story deals with issues of identity and self-acceptance.

In “The Prince” we see a boy experience attraction to another boy.

In “The Sorceress”, a child acts out the role of a villainous female magic user, implying that he may fall somewhere on the spectrum of queer identities.

A tense domestic situation is depicted in “The Gargoyle”.

In Roar of the Beast, one of the focal characters suffers an injury and uses a wheelchair while recovering. Two boys are shown having a very close friendship that may be implied to border on romantic feelings.

The series’ third volume shows that a mother of one of the children has a girlfriend. It also introduces a character who, like the Sorceress, is a child who adopts a larger-than-life female persona, and who is coded as Latinx.


2019 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Kids' Comics
Eisner Award nominee: Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)
DiNKY Award Winner: Best Work for Young Readers
Society of Midland Authors Honoree for Children’s Fiction
School Library Journal - Best Books 2018
New York Public Library “Best Books for Kids” - 2018
ALA Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table - 2023 Best Graphic Novels for Children


Starred Review: “The blocky figures have a great cartoon quality, and, with a wide range of skin tones, genders, and family types, every kid reading will have someone to relate to. This easy-reading story offers—in a fun, engaging package—a meaningful commentary on the importance of childhood games.” (Source: Booklist)

Starred Review: “In a suburban neighborhood, an ebulliently diverse group of children gathers with glee to create a vibrant world of pretend play, find themselves, and support one another.” (Source: Kirkus)

Starred Review: “Imagination, these kids prove, can erase what seem like unbridgeable differences. Ages 9–12.” (Source: Publishers Weekly)


Comicosity: “Chad Sell and Team Take Readers to THE CARDBOARD KINGDOM

Electric Lit: “How Eleven Creators in Nine Different Cities Came Together to Make One Book

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