First Second Authors Collect Three Awards

DENVER — June 16, 2018 — This evening, Pop Culture Classroom, the educational non-profit behind Denver Comic Con, introduced the first winning books for the 2018 Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards during celebrations held at the Colorado Convention Center.

The ceremony marked the culmination of a two-year effort in bringing the awards to life.

With a room full of creators, fans, publishers, and educators, nine talented creators walked away with the very first Excellence in Graphic Literature awards.

Kicking off the evening were introductions about the program by Director of Programming Bruce MacIntosh, out-going Director of Education Illya Kowalchuk, and the newly-appointed Director of Education Dr. Katie Monnin.

Each talked about the development of the awards program, the goals, and the unique opportunity the program created in bringing together an advisory board and juries that represent booksellers, librarians, academics, teachers and industry professionals.

Here are the awards and winners in the order of introduction during the awards ceremony:

  • Best in Children’s Books: Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham (First Second)
  • Best in Middle-Grade Books: As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman (Iron Circus Comics)
  • Best in Young-Adult Books: Home Time: Book One by Campbell Whyte (Top Shelf)
  • Best in Adult Books: The Hunting Accident by David L. Carlson and Landis Blair (First Second)
  • Mosaic Award: The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui (Abrams Comic Arts)
  • Book of the Year: Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland (First Second)

The Book of the Year and the Mosaic winners were awarded the first Saga sculptures. The winners of the Children’s, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult categories were awarded the first Saga Medallions.

The sculptures and medallions were created by the amazingly talented team of Colin Poole and Kristine Poole.

While the Book of the Year awards the best in all publishing, the Mosaic award celebrates stories about and from our diverse communities, ethnicities, nationalities, faiths and orientations.

Highlights of the evening included the Mosaic award presentation by Charles McDaniel, aka DMC of ground breaking rap group Run DMC.

Len Vlahos, co-owner of the Tattered Cover bookstore along with his wife Kristin, presented the Book of the Year award.

The remaining presenters were:

  • Children’s Books: Amanda Jacobs Foust
  • Middle-Grade Books: Dr. Katie Monnin
  • Young-Adult Books: Cait Zaksheske
  • Adult Books: Alicia Holston

“This is really the icing of the cake for us,” said MacIntosh. “We have a fantastic Advisory Board, as well as some amazing people who served as the chairs, assistant chairs and jury members. There were a lot of great books to read, and some really difficult choices to make, when it came down to the final ballots.”

Kowalchuk added, “We had such a great response from such a wide range of publishing houses. There were books from all the major traditional publishers and, honestly, we discovered some really great small houses with fantastic titles as well.”

“One of our goals for next year’s submissions is to double the number of books from this first year and to encourage more nonfiction works for consideration. We’d also like to see this awards program help teachers justify adding more graphic novels to the school environment,” added Kowalchuk.

The awards were followed by a special VIP reception and party for all award winners, the 2018 Advisory Board members, jury members and other special guests.

For the entire list of nominated titles, information on the awards, background on the creation of the awards, and a complete listing of Advisory Board and jury members, please visit the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards link on the Pop Culture Classroom website.

Books published in 2018 are eligible for the 2019 Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards. Submissions for the 2019 awards will begin this Fall.