Graphic Novel Roundup
Well, if there was ever a doubt that graphic novels can have what it takes to get a shiny sticker, the last couple of years have proven that they can! It is easy to imagine the conversations that might happen around art and graphic novels at an award committee discussion, but it is harder, for me, to picture (pun intended) how the Newbery committee might talk about graphic novels. We know that illustration is only to be considered if it takes away from the overall work. Specifically, the Newbery Manual states:
Each book is to be considered as a contribution to American literature. The committee is to make its decision primarily on the text. Other components of a book, such as illustrations, overall design of the book, etc., may be considered when they make the book less effective.
Comparing the text of a graphic novel to other types of eligible books is complicated. Then again, we are also comparing picture book text to poetry to early readers to novels for 9 year olds to novels for 13 year olds. So. It is all a big ball of complicated. I think step one, for me, is to figure out what rises to the top in each of those categories before I start digging in and comparing to each other.
So, what are our top graphic novel contendors this year? Here’s what I’ve been looking at. Let me know what I’m missing.
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
I know people are talking about Ghosts, and I think we’d be remiss to not discuss the title here. There’s a lot to say on this one. My next post will cover my thoughts on this book, and I won’t be leaving out my feelings on Cultural Appropriation and what that means in terms of this particular title. So, if you haven’t read it yet, dig in now, and we’ll discuss soon!
March: Book Three by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
March: Book Three has multiple starred reviews, tells a compelling story, is engrossing, engaging and relevant. Non-fiction memoir, it is aimed at more of a teen audience, but I would argue that it falls into the upper end of the Newbery age range easily. The book needs to rise, on its own, to the top without use of the first two books to prop it up, so this is a consideration.
Snow White: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan
Snow White is set in Jazz Age New York City in this stunning book. This is more solidly in the Newbery age range, but I think perhaps relies too heavily on illustration to be a real possibility.
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About Sharon McKellar
Sharon McKellar is the Supervising Librarian for Teen Services at the Oakland Public Library in California. She has served on the Rainbow List Committee, the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee, The Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Committee, and the 2015 Caldecott Committee. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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