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Embargoed For Release: Monday, June 21, 2021, 8:00 AM ET
Media Contact: Chris Burley, 202-427-1175 or

(Denver, CO) — Pop Culture Classroom, a Colorado-based education, and community nonprofit, today announced the finalists for the 2021 Excellence in Graphic Literature (EGL) Awards.

“This year’s EGL finalists truly represent the amazing depth and breadth of today’s graphic novels, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to celebrate the publishers and creators behind them,” said Pop Culture Classroom Program Manager, Tajshen Campbell, Ph.D. “These titles deserve a place on our bookshelves and in our students’ classrooms, where they can open exciting doors to learning and imagination for readers of all ages.”

2021 Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards Finalists

Best in Children’s Graphic Literature


  • Bear, Written by Ben Queen and Illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton (BOOM! Studios)
  • Cat Kid Comic Club, Written and Illustrated by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic/Graphix)
  • Donut Feed the Squirrels, Written and Illustrated by Mika Song (RH Graphic, Random House Children’s Books Imprint)
  • Frankie and the Creepy Cute Critters, Written and Illustrated by Caitlin Rose Boyle (Oni Press)
  • The Wolf in Underpants Freezes His Buns Off, Written by Wilfrid Lupano with Art from Mayana Itoïz and Paul Cauuet (Lerner Publishing Group)


  • Black Heroes of the Wild West, Written and Illustrated by James Otis Smith (TOON Books)

Best in Middle-Grade Graphic Literature


  • Go with the Flow, Written by Karen Schneemann and Lily Williams and Illustrated by Lily Williams (Macmillan Publishers)
  • Snapdragon, Written and Illustrated by Kat Leyh (Macmillan Publishers)
  • Stepping Stones, Written and Illustrated by Lucy Knisley (RH Graphic, Random House Children’s Books Imprint)
  • Superman Smashes the Klan, Written by Gene Luen Yang and Illustrated by Gurihiru (DC)
  • Twins, Written by Varian Johnson and Illustrated by Shannon Wright (Scholastic/Graphix)


  • Action Presidents 4: John F. Kennedy!, Written by Fred Van Lente and Illustrated by Ryan Dunlavey (HarperCollins Children’s Book)
  • Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier, Written by Jim Ottaviani and Illustrated by Maris Wicks (First Second)
  • History Comics: The Great Chicago Fire, Written by Kat Hannigan and Illustrated by Alex Graudins (Macmillan Publishers)
  • Noisemakers: 25 Women Who Raised Their Voices & Changed the World, Edited by Erin Bried (Knopf – Random House Children’s Books)
  • Seen: Edmonia Lewis, Written by Jasmine Walls and Illustrated by Bex Glendining (BOOM! Studios)

Best in Young Adult Graphic Literature


  • A Map to the Sun, Written and illustrated by Sloane Leong (Macmillan Publishers)
  • Displacement, Written and Illustrated by Kiku Hughes (Macmillan Publishers)
  • Juliet Takes a Breath, Written by Gabby Rivera and Illustrated by Celia Moscote (BOOM! Studios)
  • Lizard in a Zoot Suit, Written and Illustrated by Marco Finnegan (Lerner Publishing Group)
  • The Magic Fish, Written and illustrated by Trung Le Nguyen (RH Graphic, Random House Children’s Books Imprint)


  • Constitution Illustrated, Written and Illustrated by R. Sikoryak (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Drawing the Vote, Written by Tommy Jenkins and Illustrated by Kati Lacker (Abrams ComicArts)
  • Shame Pudding, Written and Illustrated by Danny Noble (Street Noise Books)
  • Spellbound: A Graphic Memoir, Written and Illustrated by Bishakh Som (Street Noise Books)
  • The Mars Challenge, Written by Alison Wilgus and Illustrated by Wyeth Yates (Macmillan Publishers)

Best in Adult Graphic Literature


  • Algeriennes: The Forgotten Women of the Algerian Revolution, Written by Swann Meralli and Illustrated by Deloupy (Penn State University Press)
  • Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence, Written and Illustrated by Joel Christian Gill (Oni Press)
  • Invisible Differences, Written by Julie Dachez and Illustrated by Mme. Caroline (Oni Press)
  • Quince: The Definitive Bilingual Edition, Created by Sebastian Kadlecick, Written by Kit Steinkellner, Illustrated by Emma Steinkellner (Fanbase Press)
  • Soldiers Unknown, Written by Chag Lowry and Illustrated by Rahsan Ekedal (Great Oak Press)


  • Guantanamo Voices, Written by Sarah Mirk and Illustrated by Various (Abrams ComicArts)
  • Happiness Will Follow, Written and Illustrated by Mike Hawthorne (BOOM! Studios)
  • Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio, Written and Illustrated by Derf Backderf (Abrams ComicArts)
  • Phoolan Devi: Rebel Queen, Written and Illustrated by Claire Fauvel (NBM Graphic Novels)
  • Year of the Rabbit, Written and Illustrated by Tian Veasna (Drawn & Quarterly)

Each year, Pop Culture Classroom’s Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards celebrate the best in fiction and nonfiction graphic novels and comics. Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards finalists and winners are selected by advisory boards and juries comprised of diverse, experienced, and informed professionals whose experiences span publishing, libraries, and education using a clearly defined and transparent process.

The EGL Awards help:

  1. Educators and librarians identify high quality graphic literature to bring into diverse educational settings.
  2. Publishers of graphic novels increase their sales and growth potential with libraries and schools.
  3. Parents, Pop Culture Fans, and Other Discerning Readers find compelling, expertly crafted graphic literature to read and enjoy.

The 2021 Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards winners for Best in Children’s, Middle-grade, Young Adult, and Adult Graphic Literature will be announced later this month with the EGL Book of the Year and Mosaic Prize for inclusive storytelling to follow. For more information about the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards, please visit

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Pop Culture Classroom is a 501c3 education nonprofit dedicated to inspiring a love of learning, increasing literacy, celebrating diversity and building community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression. For more information, please visit

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