Archive for EGL 2018

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!

Why It’s the Perfect Time to Recognize and Celebrate Graphic Literature

When we came together to create the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards, the first question we asked was whether there was a need for such a thing; would it be different from all the other comics-industry awards? The answer is an unwavering yes.

Why We’re Doing This

We need to recognize the best in comics and graphic novels because there is nothing like the EGLs, whose purpose is to cast light on those works of graphic literature that the public should be reading – especially teachers and librarians, parents and their kids.

We may implicitly understand the education and communication value of graphic literature, but most people don’t. The time is now to help fully inform the public through the teams of publishing industry professionals who are currently submitting, scrutinizing and voting on the best of the best.

Why We Think Now is the Perfect Time

Readership tastes are constantly evolving, and the publishing industry has started to recognize this fact. As the previous generation of creators started increasing the length and broadening the topic of their stories, the current generation of student readers have come to expect a variety of books that reflects their culture and beliefs.

Both comics and book publishers have recognized this paradigm shift and are working to hire the hottest creators and publish the best books for this growing audience. Simultaneously, educators and librarians are eager to learn about the sheer scope of these offerings and feature the best of the best for their students and readers.

But the current review and ordering process is outdated, leaving these parties frustrated by the lack of accurate information about what readers want and what is available to fill their needs.

Through our year-long submission, judging and awards process, the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards will shine a spotlight on these superior works.

Our hope is the award will establish a recognizable high-water-mark of industry credibility and quality, helping publishers more quickly identify the best creators, help educators more confidently choose books they present to students, and help eager students discover their next great read.

Why We are Calling it “Graphic Literature”

Why not just “comic books” or “graphic novels”? While we are grateful that comics are finally getting their due as a legitimate art form having literary merit, the term “graphic novel” is in danger of becoming so overly-broad that it is misleading.

For example, while they are certainly graphic, seminal literary works such as Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Rep. John Lewis’ March, relate factual stories of profound historical significance and as such are anything but novels.

In addition, we want to give publishers and creators the ability to submit for peer review works that don’t neatly fall into the GN or comic book categories, such as illustrated works that may contain as many words as pictures.

The key is that these will be works of literary and educational merit, that children and adults can enjoy and benefit from, that parents and educators will be confident of their literary value, and that students will enjoy at the same time they are learning.

Each jury will consider fictional works, but unlike other awards programs, works of non-fiction will have their own category to raise public recognition and awareness in a way that helps educators justify their use in classrooms.

In addition, even more than 60 years after Dr. Frederick Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent, great works like Maus and March have not been able to diffuse the stigma of the term “comic book”.

Our goal, therefore, is not only to highlight the year’s best graphic works with the greatest educational and literary value, but also to help publishers and educators undo the damage of seven decades of “bad press”, by highlighting those creators and their works of the past year which have the most literary and educational merit.

For Next Time…

We hope this helped answer some of the questions you may have, 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.

Keep an eye out for our next posts coming in a few weeks. We’ll be introducing the major award categories, along with general topics regarding the awards and advice on how to get more involved with graphic literature both in and out of the classroom.

Be Well, Read More.

Introducing the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards

Comics and graphic novels are taking a leading role in driving the circulation of libraries, and students are reading them from pre-K through higher education, in every learning environment possible.

More today than ever before, readership and content accurately reflect society. Librarians everywhere are noticing how the size of their graphic literature collection directly affects the circulation of their entire collection. Pre-K through adult educators see that graphic novels engage students across the entire ability and interest spectrum.

It is time for the publishing industry to have its own Graphic Literature award.

Celebrating the Best in Fiction and Non-Fiction Graphic Novels

Responding to this need, Pop Culture Classroom and Denver Comic Con are excited to host the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards (EGL Awards).

The EGL Awards recognize the phenomenal expansion of graphic literature across multiple industries. The creators and content of graphic literature are more diverse and eclectic than ever, and the format is experiencing tremendous growth in the book market.

Our Advisers and Judges – The Most Respected in the Industry

Our Advisory Board and Juries are composed of diverse, experienced and informed professionals that span the publishing, library, and education industries. These team members will select the best in graphic literature through a clearly defined and transparent process.

Now Accepting Submissions

Even as comics and graphic novels have become big business in other media such as gaming and movies, mainstream and independent publishing still feeds that creative pipeline.

We are aware of this symbiosis, which is why we are accepting submissions for any-and-all works published during the calendar year of 2017, regardless of publisher size. Individuals, creative teams, editors, agents, and publishers are all welcome to submit their books for consideration.

A Trophy Like No Other

The physical EGL award should be just as treasured as the winning of the award itself. To achieve this, we have been working with world-renowned sculptors Colin and Kristine Poole to create a trophy that will be a treasured reminder of this achievement, along with an associated medallion that can be used for book promotion following the award ceremonies.

Brought to life through the uniquely interdependent combination of words and pictures, graphic literature is a distinct narrative art form. It’s an art form that deserves to be celebrated. It’s time for the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards.

Award Categories

Awards will be given to the best in graphic literature for the following categories:

  • Children’s Fiction (Grade 5 & Under)
  • Children’s Nonfiction (Grade 5 & Under)
  • Middle Grade Fiction (Grades 6-8)
  • Middle Grade Nonfiction (Grades 6-8)
  • Young Adult Fiction (Grades 9-12)
  • Young Adult Nonfiction (Grades 9-12)
  • Adult Fiction
  • Adult Nonfiction
  • Mosaic Award –  This award recognizes the ever-growing number of talented storytellers and rich content that come from our diverse communities, ethnicities, nationalities, faiths, genders, and orientations. The Mosaic Award is open to titles that span any age range. Qualification for this category is determined by the person submitting a title.
  • Book of the Year– Winners of each of the above nine categories will be entered into competition for the Book of the Year. Book of the Year will represent the year’s very best in graphic literature.

For Next Time…

We hope this provided a solid introduction and overview of the awards program. We will be updating the website frequently, so check back often. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages. 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 social channels, or send them to egl@popcultureclassroom.org.

In our next post we’ll explain why it’s so important right now to recognize and celebrate graphic literature excellence.

Be Well, Read More!