Our EGL 2019 Advisory Board and Juries are composed of diverse, experienced and informed professionals that span the publishing, library, and education industries. Each title submitted for the 2019 awards was reviewed by this diverse group of expert graphic literature jurors, who helped select the best in graphic literature through a clearly defined and transparent process.

EGL Awards Manager

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TARA BANNON WILLIAMSON is the Senior Librarian of the Park Hill Branch Library at Denver Public Library.

Children’s Awards Jury


BETSY BIRD (CHAIR) is the current Collection Development Manager at Evanston Public Library and the former Youth Materials Specialist of New York Public Library. She reviews for Kirkus, the New York Times, and on her blog A Fuse #8 Production, hosted by School Library Journal. Betsy is the editor of FUNNY GIRLS, a middle grade collection of comics and stories by the funniest women in children’s literature.

JILL GERBER (ASSISTANT CHAIR) is an award-winning educator of twenty years, and longtime advocate of graphic literature in curriculums. When not in the classroom, she creates curriculum resources, writes about visual literacy, presents on panels at conferences, and runs workshops on the integration of graphic literature around the country.

DAVID SERCHAY is a librarian with the Broward County (FL) Library System where his responsibilities include ordering graphic novels. He has also written several books on graphic novels and comics along with articles and entries in reference books.


JESSICA RUSKIN received her Comparative Literature degree from Cornell University and her Master’s degree in Museum Education from the George Washington University and has worked in museums ever since. From the Smithsonian, to the Exploratorium, to the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center where she has spent the past 13 years as Education Director, Jessica has been developing public programs, experiences, lectures, classes, tours, and curriculum materials for audiences of all ages and abilities. At the Schulz Museum she has focused on teaching with comics and has yet to stop learning herself.

TIA KIMBALL is passionate about getting English language learners engaged in learning through American television series and graphic novels! While many people view these two media as entertainment, there is so much to be learned from them in terms of language, culture, relationships and how to be a human. The more modern iterations are incredibly diverse and progressive that many ELLs can see themselves in these modern editions.

JANNA MORISHIMA is a book coach, publishing strategist, and creative mentor. Formerly an editor at Scholastic and head of the Kids Group at Diamond Book Distributors, I now work one-on-one with creatives. I help authors, illustrators, and comics creators get focused, promote themselves, and make more money doing what they love.

DR. CHRISTINA BLANCH has taught courses to various audiences both on campus and online, most recently teaching two massive, open, online courses through Ball State and Canvas about comics to over 11,000 students. In addition to publishing chapters in The Comics of Joss Whedon and Graphic Novels in the Classroom, she also writes the comic books including The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood.

Middle-Grade Awards Jury

AMANDA JACOBS FOUST (CHAIR) is a librarian for Douglas County Libraries. She has been reading, writing and talking about comics since the start of her public library career and she co-hosted and produced the popular In the Library with a Comic Book podcast with Jack Baur of Berkeley Public Library.

ALICIA HOLSTON (ASSISTANT CHAIR) is a Texas Librarian, comic book geek, and promoter of liberty through literacy. She helped create the Texas Maverick Graphic Novel List Committee and is a former chair of the same.

GINA GAGLIANO is the Publishing Director of Random House Graphic, Random House’s dedicated kids and YA graphic novel publisher. In her career, she’s also worked with First Second Books, TCAF, and the Brooklyn Book Festival, among many others.

DR. STERGIOS BOTZAKIS is a professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville whose areas of expertise are content area literacy, middle school education, working with struggling adolescent readers, and new literacies. His research interests include middle and secondary education, adolescent literacies, popular culture, graphic novels, and media literacy.

JAMEKA LEWIS is the Senior Librarian at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library. An experienced educator in the areas of Black history and culture, Jameka enjoys discovering, presenting and preserving information pertaining to Black representation in pop culture and history. Jameka has served on Denver Pop Culture Con panels for two years and has been a guest speaker for such organizations as the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and the Denver Jewish Community Center.

WARREN SHANKS is a Children’s Librarian with the Denver Public Library. He has served on the Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy’s CLEL Bell Awards committee as well as the Denver Library’s Best & Brightest Books List.

HADIYA EVANS is a new librarian at the Denver Public Library where she has worked in multiple positions for the last 15 years. She is the current Vice President of the Colorado Black Library Association, a newly formed affiliate of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

Young Adult Awards Jury

TIM SMYTH (CHAIR) has been teaching social studies since 2001 and travels the United States giving professional development on the use of comics in education. His presentations have been given at comic cons, museums, universities, schools, and educational conferences on both state and national levels. His teacher guides and articles, which focus on the integration of comics in education, have been published by many notable organizations, including MacMillan and PBS. Smyth maintains a comprehensive website at historycomics.net.

WILLIAM KIST, Ph.D (ASSISTANT CHAIR) is a Professor at Kent State University where he teaches both undergraduate and graduate students in English Education. He is a former high school English teacher and curriculum supervisor and has written four-books, including “New Literacies in Action” and “Getting Started with Blended Learning.” Bill is the 2017 recipient of the Ohio Council of Teachers of English Outstanding College-Level Educator.

JOE PASCULLO is a young adult librarian at the Grand Central branch of the New York Public Library. He enjoys being a committee member for the NYPL’s annual Best Books for Teens List, writing for the NYPL blog, and providing a welcoming teen space for his library’s regular YA patrons.

MIKE PAWUK is a teen services librarian for the Cuyahoga County Public Library system in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the co-author of the recently published Libraries Unlimited book Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More, 2nd edition and contributes to School Library Journal’s Good Comics for Kids blog. He has been a longtime supporter of graphic novels in libraries with the American Library Association and YALSA, helping to create the Great Graphic Novels for Teens award and the Graphic Novels and Comics Roundtable, and has also served on award committees including the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.

JACK BAUR is a Teen Services Librarian at the Berkeley Public Library in Berkeley, CA, and has been doing graphic novel collection development for the library for 6 years. He is the co-host of the (slightly defunct) podcast In The Library With A Comic Book (find episodes on iTunes or at inthelibrarywithacomicbook.org) and has been an outspoken advocate for the acceptance of comics and graphic novels into libraries and classrooms.

CAIT ZAKSHESKE is the librarian of Yuma High School in the Yuma Union High School District in Yuma, Arizona. She was the winner of the 2015 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant and the 2017 Dollar General Literacy Grant. Zaksheske also spoke on the 2016 San Diego Comic Con Panel “Nerd and Geek Culture in High Schools” and was a member of the YA Jury for the 2018 EGL Awards.

KATIE PALAZZOLA is a lifelong reader, writer, and sworn book nerd. She has served the book industry in several capacities.

Adult Awards Jury

KAREN GAVIGAN (CHAIR) is a professor in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include the use of graphic novels in schools. She is co-editor of the graphic novel, AIDS in the End Zone, written by incarcerated youth, and co-editor of the book, Connecting Comics to Curriculum. Currently, Karen is collaborating on the project, Social Justice in Young Adult Graphic Novels, with Dr. Kasey Garrison in Australia.

JOHN WEAVER (ASSISTANT CHAIR) teaches at Williamsport Area High School and has been using comics in the classroom for fifteen years.

CHRISTINA HICKS is the Youth Services Librarian at the Friendswood Public Library in Friendswood, Texas. Besides the EGl, she is a past chair of the Texas Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List Committee. She has presented and moderated panels at San Diego Comic Con, Texas Library Association Annual Conference, and Tweens Read and sometimes vlogs about books at www.youtube.com/c/ReadingRainbowHair.

GEOFF GERBER is the former President of Lion Forge Comics and has been counseling comic book publishers and entertainment companies for almost two decades. During that time, he has spoken and written about comics and pop culture throughout the United States and his podcast on legal issues in geekdom was a Parse Award Finalist and ENnie Award Nominee.

S.E. FLEENOR writes novels and articles centering on feminism, LGBTQ identities and issues, pop culture, and literature. S.E. also consults, edits, and lives for all things comic books, Star Trek, Wynonna Earp, Steven Universe, and science fiction and fantasy. Words have appeared in SYFY WIRE, them.us, Electric Literature, and Broadly.

AMIE WRIGHT is a Public History graduate student at Concordia University in Montreal studying comics as cultural lenses focusing on metadata and enhanced contextualization within museum and library collections. Amie is the former School Outreach Manager at the New York Public Library, co-creator of New York Comic Con at the New YorkPublic Livrary, and a recipient of Library Journal’s Mover and Shaker Award in 2017. Amie is an Organizing Team Member of the American Library Association’s Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table (GNCRT) and currently serves as the Co-Chair of Convention Planning.

ERIN BOYINGTON began working for correctional libraries in 2013 after receiving her graduate degree in library science, and lucked into a lifelong passion. She’s an avid reader of anything that sounds interesting, and loves to share books with others.

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