All of us at Pop Culture Classroom (PCC) are so excited to be celebrating a new year and the 2nd annual Excellence in Graphic Literature (EGL) Awards! Submissions are open NOW through February 15, 2019, and we invite publishers and creators to submit your titles for consideration.
“But why?”, you might be asking yourself. Have no fear! Today, we will be tackling one of the most common questions we receive about the program each year: Why should I submit to the EGLs?
To Start, A Little History
For the past four years, I’ve been honored to serve as the Education Program Manager at PCC, where a key part of my position has been to support pop culture-based education and implement its innovative learning tools in classrooms and communities here in Denver, as well as across the country.
Comics and graphic novels have always been at the heart of this effort, holding a special place in my creative and professional life, so it’s been wonderful to see the incredible growth in graphic literature in educational settings, including schools, libraries, and communities all across the world!
At the same time, diverse publishers, creators, and educators are increasingly taking note of the educational zeitgeist around graphic novels and comics. As a result, a wide range of new content, resources, and curricula are being created at a breakneck speed to support this growing demand for classroom- and kid-friendly graphic literature.
Yet, despite all this industry-wide evolution, as I and other PCC members have traveled to comic cons and educational conferences across the United States, we found the same issues/questions cropping up again and again for educators trying to navigate an increasingly complex world of graphic literature. Informally, we call them the “Three A’s”. They are:
- Accessibility (How do I get it?)
- Appropriateness (How do I know it’s right for my students?)
- Application (How do I use it most effectively once I have it?)
In other words: How do we know which pieces of graphic literature work most effectively in which classrooms, with which students, and for the best possible impact?
The EGLs to the Rescue!
It’s not a stretch to say the EGL Awards were born out of these essential questions and the urgency to have them answered – an urgency shared by publishers, educators, families, and creators alike.
Since its inception in 2017, the EGL program has stepped in to help define and grow needed awareness for quality graphic literature, grow legitimacy and respect for the format, the medium and its creators, and drive growth for the graphic novel publishing category. The goals of the awards program, specifically, are defined as:
- Help educators and librarians identify literary-level, high quality graphic novels to bring into diverse educational settings
- Help publishers of graphic novels increase their sales and growth potential with libraries and schools
2018: The Start of Something Big
In 2018, we launched the first-ever EGL Awards program with modest expectations. To our surprise and elation, we received over 200 submissions for the inaugural awards from amazing publishers including the likes of Scholastic, Penguin/Random House, First-Second Books, Lion Forge, Iron Circus Comics, Abrams ComicArts, and Top Shelf/IDW, to name a few!
The 2018 program culminated at the EGL Awards ceremony held at Denver Pop Culture Con (DPCC), bringing together and celebrating the most talented, innovative and influential creators in the graphic literature medium. From this amazing pool of submissions and creators, the inaugural 2018 EGL Awards winners were:
- Book of the Year: Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland (First Second)
- Mosaic Award: The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui (Abrams ComicArts)
- Best in Children’s: Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham (First Second)
- Best in Middle-Grade: As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman (Iron Circus)
- Best in Young-Adult: Home Time: Book One by Campbell Whyte (Top Shelf)
- Best in Adult: The Hunting Accident by David L. Carlson and Landis Blair (First Second)
As a bonus, winning and nominated titles even earn the honor of including a cover medallion on all prints, making it easier for families, teachers, librarians and all-aged readers to identify the highest quality titles, which in turn benefits the entire industry through increased sales and growth.
So, What Are You Waiting For? Submit Now!
All of us at PCC are proud to say that, what started years ago as a loosely formed idea written on a whiteboard in a small conference room has since blossomed into one of the premier graphic literature awards in the world.
We highly encourage you to submit one or more titles and help us to honor the creators, publishers, and educators using graphic literature in classrooms to inspire a love of learning worldwide!
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Pop Culture Classroom