DENVER — June 1, 2019 — This weekend, Pop Culture Classroom, the educational nonprofit behind Denver Pop Culture Con, introduced the winning books for the 2019 Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards during the ceremony held at the Colorado Convention Center.

The ceremony marked the culmination of a year-long effort that saw over 200 submitted books submitted for consideration.

In front of a room full of artists, fans, publishers, and educators, ten talented creators from six different publishers walked away with Excellence in Graphic Literature awards.

Kicking off the evening were introductions about the program by Director of Programming Bruce MacIntosh and special presenter Dr. Chris Bell. Each talked about the development of the awards program, the evolution of graphic literature as a medium, and the need to recognize and celebrate its growing influence in classrooms and communities.

Here are the awards and winners in the order of introduction during the awards ceremony:

  • Best in Children’s Books
    • Fiction: Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri (First Second)
    • Nonfiction: The Eye that Never Sleeps by Marissa Moss & Jeremy Holmes (Abrams ComicArts)
  • Best in Middle-Grade Books
    • Fiction: Crush by Svetlana Chmakova (Yen Press)
    • Nonfiction: The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler by John Hendrix (Abrams ComicArts)
  • Best in Young Adult Books
    • Fiction: Illegal by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin (Sourcebooks)
    • Nonfiction: Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Scholastic)
  • Best in Adult Books
    • Fiction: Berlin by Jason Lutes (Drawn & Quarterly)
    • Nonfiction: Monk!: Thelonious Pannonica, and the Friendship Behind a Musical Revolution by Youssef Daoudi (First Second)
  • Mosaic Award: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (First Second)
  • Book of the Year: Berlin by Jason Lutes (Drawn & Quarterly)


The Book of the Year and the Mosaic winners were awarded with Saga sculptures. The winners of the Children’s, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult categories were awarded with Saga Medallions.

The sculptures and medallions were created by the talented team of Colin Poole and Kristine Poole.

Highlights of the evening included introductions by 2019 Jury Chairs of each category’s winners, as well as speeches from 2019 Awards Manager Tara Bannon Williamson and Pop Culture Classroom Education Program Manager Adam Kullberg.

Jameka Lewis, Senior Librarian at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, presented the Mosaic and Book of the Year Awards.

While the Book of the Year awards the best in all publishing, the Mosaic award celebrates stories about and from our diverse communities, ethnicities, nationalities, faiths and orientations.

Integral to the 2019 Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards are an advisory board and juries representing booksellers, librarians, academics, teachers and industry professionals:

  • Awards Manager: Tara Bannon Williamson
  • Children’s Books Jury
    • Betsy Bird (Chair)
    • Jill Gerber (Assistant Chair)
    • David Serchay, Jessica Ruskin, Tia Kimball, Janna Morishima, Christina Blanch
  • Middle-Grade Books Jury
    • Amanda Jacobs Foust (Chair)
    • Alicia Holston (Assistant Chair)
    • Gina Gagliano, Stergios Botzakis, Jameka Lewis, Warren Shanks, Hadiya Evans
  • Young-Adult Books Jury
    • Tim Smyth (Chair)
    • William Kist, Ph.D. (Assistant Chair)
    • Joseph Pascullo, Mike Pawuk, Jack Baur, Cait Zaksheske, Katie Palazzol
  • Adult Books Jury
    • Karen Gavigan (Chair)
    • John Weaver (Assistant Chair)
    • Christina Hicks, Geoff Gerber, S.E. Fleenor, Amie Wright, Erin Boyington

The awards were followed by a special VIP reception and party for all award winners, the 2019 Advisory Board members, jury members and other special guests.

For the entire list of nominated titles, information on the awards, and background on the creation of the awards, please visit the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards link on the Pop Culture Classroom website.

Books published in 2019 are eligible for the 2020 Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards. Submissions for the 2020 awards will begin this Fall. 

About Pop Culture Classroom

Pop Culture Classroom is the educational non-profit organization behind Denver Comic Con. Founded in 2011, Pop Culture Classroom is on a mission to ignite a love of learning, increase literacy, celebrate diversity and build community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression. Learn more at www.PopCultureClassroom.org.

About the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards

The Excellence in Graphics Literature program was begun by Pop Culture Classroom to help define and grow needed awareness for quality graphic literature; expand legitimacy and respect for the format, the medium, and its creators; and drive growth for the graphic novel publishing category.

The inaugural Awards Ceremony took place at Denver Pop Culture Con (formerly Denver Comic Con) in 2018, keynoted by legendary musical artist and comics creator Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC.

The first winners in each category were officially announced at the event in front of a packed house that included the honorees, representatives of the respective book publishers, industry luminaries, and fans.

Press Contact

Pop Culture Classroom
Tara Hubner