Introducing the EGL Mosaic Award

In our previous post we covered why we believe the time is right for the EGL Awards. In today’s post we begin our ongoing series that introduces each of the awards, and gives you more background on why and how we structured them as we have.

Why We Chose to Call It the “Mosaic Award” 

A mosaic is an arrangement of differently shaped and colored pieces, which creates a picture that has more depth and vibrancy than the sum of the separate parts.

Our communities — whether defined by location, or pop-culture tastes — are made up of individuals from different ethnicities, belief systems, gender, and sexual orientations. And therefore the books, comics and graphic novels they read should reflect the backgrounds of their readership.

In recent years, the entertainment industries — particularly in the areas of movies, TV and music — have made strides towards providing products that speak to this variety of populations, but the comics and graphic literature industries have lagged behind. This is not so much from a lack of desire to serve a diverse readership, but more due to their inability to understand what these readers want. Fortunately, that is beginning to change.

The Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards strives to bring together these variegated pieces to create that broader and deeper picture for publishers, educators and librarians — to create a mosaic. We hope that in turn the Mosaic Award will serve to illustrate what kinds of graphic literature their readers want, and which new works will appeal to those diverse communities.

Why This Award is So Important, Right Now 

You may wonder about this award’s focus and why it diverges from the fiction/non-fiction and age-group categories.

Works of graphic literature have been produced by women, creators of color, and members of the LGBTQ community for years. But, until there is a medium for spotlighting these creators and their works, their intended audiences might not ever know there is graphic literature that addresses their experiences, speaks to their needs and honors their concerns.

It is our hope that the Mosaic Award will encourage creators and their publishers to submit their works so that libraries and book stores will carry them and educators, parents and students may seek them out because of their common message as well as literary merit. 

The Mosaic Award Judging Panel and Process

We are confident that the Mosaic Award will maintain its integrity and accomplish the above missions, as the jurors who have volunteered for this EGL program come from a diverse cross-section of the publishing, library, educational, academic, retail and industry professions.

To help create this program, we purposefully reached out to find the best minds from the widest range of cultural backgrounds. They are: Asian American, African American, Native American, Hispanic American, Straight, LGBTQ, and come from every geographic region of the U.S.

It is our hope that eventually there will be no need for a Mosaic award, and each work will be judged solely on its literary value and artistic merit. However, until that day, we will continue to present the Mosaic Award to help break down the current barriers and amplify the voices of creators from the widest range of communities, so they are heard by the audiences that so desperately need them. 

For Next Time…

We hope this gave you a good introduction to the award, but as always if you have more questions or would like to suggest a topic for us to cover, feel free to write them in the comments below, post them on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages, or send them to egl@popcultureclassroom.org.

In our next post we’ll provide advice to the educators in our audience who may be interested in using graphic novels in their classrooms, but just don’t know how to start.

Be Well, Read More!