Children’s Awards Jury
Betsy Bird (Chair)
Jill Gerber (Assistant Chair)
David S. Serchay is a librarian in the Broward County Library (FL) Library System, where his responsibilities include selecting graphic novels. He is the author of The Librarian’s Guide to Graphics Novels for Children and ‘Tweens and The Librarian’s Guide to Graphic Novels for Adults, and co-author of Graphic Novels: A Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More, 2nd Edition. He has also contributed to various reference books on graphic novels, including The Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels, Comics Through Time, Icons of the American Comic Book, and multiple volumes of The Critical Survey of Graphic Novels. He has spoken on the topic of graphic novels and libraries at ALA conferences and the San Diego Comic-Con as well as in libraries around Florida. He has been a reader of comics since childhood and lives in South Florida with his wife and twin daughters. This is his third year as an EGL Juror.
Jessica Ruskin received her BA, summa cum laude, from Cornell University and went on to get her Master’s degree in Museum Education from George Washington University. She has been putting her education to good use working at the Smithsonian Institution, Kidspace Children’s Museum, the Exploratorium, and the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center where she has worked as the education director for the past 15 years. Jessica also spent time volunteering with Habitat for Humanity through the AmeriCorps national service program and, more recently, with her children’s schools, coordinating their annual fundraisers, teaching art to kids, and designing the yearbook. Jessica lives in Santa Rosa, CA with her two children, two dogs, two cats, a leopard gecko, and beta fish.
Tia Kimball is a lecturer at the University of North Florida and enjoys reading graphic novels. Discovering new graphic novel titles for the English language learners that she works with at a local elementary school is a hobby of hers. The EGL Awards are her favorite time of the year!
Middle-Grade Awards Jury
Amanda Jacobs Foust (Chair) is a long-time public services librarian. She has been presenting, writing, and talking about comics in libraries for over a decade and also produced and co-hosted the In the Library with a Comic Book podcast with Jack Baur of the Tigard Public Library. In addition to her comics work, Amanda has extensive experience as a conference and webinar presenter on a diverse range of topics related to librarianship.
Alicia Holston (Assistant Chair)
Dr. Stergios Botzakis is a professor in the Theory and Practice in Teacher Education Department at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His areas of expertise are content literacy, middle school education, working with struggling adolescent readers, and new literacies. His research interests include middle and secondary education, adolescent literacies, popular culture, graphic novels, and media literacy. He has been published in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Reading Research Quarterly, Review of Research in Education, English Journal, Language Arts, ALAN Review, and Teacher Education Quarterly among other venues. He is co-author, along with Les Burns, of Teach on Purpose!. He also blogs regularly at graphicnovelresources.blogspot.com and co-hosts the weekly Comics Alternative podcast.
Jameka B. Lewis is a native of Guthrie, OK. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Langston University and obtained a Master of Library Science degree from Texas Women’s University in 2012. Currently, she is the Senior Librarian at the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library. She enjoys educating lifelong learners and has recently begun offering courses related to equity, diversity, and inclusion in libraries. She serves as a regular guest speaker at community events and is a regular talkback guest for the Denver Center of the Performing Arts. In her spare time, Jameka enjoys researching materials and artifacts pertaining to African and African American history. She is an admirer and forever student in the area of Black History. and research. Notably, Jameka is the mother to Corrina and puppy mother to her Shi Chi Max. She is the Founder of Give a Child a Library, an organization that provides free books to K-12 children around the country.
Warren Shanks has been a Children’s Librarian with the Denver Public Library for eight years. He was a juror for the 2019 EGL Middle-Grade Award. He has also served on the ColoradoLibraries for Early Literacy’s CLEL Bell Awards committee as well as the Denver Public Library’sBest & Brightest Books List committee
Hadiya Evans is a reference librarian at the Denver Public Library, with a MA and MLIS in Library Information. She is a librarian with a passion and commitment to engagement that is rooted in nurturing collaborative partnerships and creating relevant and community-focused programming.
Young Adult Awards Jury
Tim Smyth (Chair)
William Kist, Ph. D. (Assistant Chair)
Joe Pascullo is a young adult librarian for the 53rd St branch of the New York Public Library. He is a 2x co-chair for the system’s Best Comics Committee and also contributes to School Library Journal, and other blogs online. He once ran a podcast called Manga Monthly. This is his 4th year of involvement with Pop Culture Classroom’s Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards.
Mike Pawuk is a teen services librarian for the Cuyahoga County Public Library system in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the co-author of the recently published Libraries Unlimited book Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More, 2nd edition and contributes to School Library Journal’s Good Comics for Kids blog. He has been a longtime supporter of graphic novels in libraries with the American Library Association and YALSA, helping to create the Great Graphic Novels for Teens award and the Graphic Novels and Comics Roundtable, and has also served on award committees including the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.
Jack Baur is a Senior Librarian in Adult Services at the Tigard Public Library, near Portland, OR. Previously Jack worked as a Teen Librarian and Supervisor at Berkeley Public Library, where he also bought all the graphic novels. Jack was the co-host of the In the Library With a Comic Book Podcast; the coordinator of the 2014 Berkeley Comic Arts Festival; and a regular speaker at ALA, SDCC, CLA, and various other cons and conferences.
Cait Zaksheske has been the librarian at Yuma High School in Yuma, Arizona since 2014. Prior to moving to the high school library environment, she was a librarian at the Mercyhurst University of Pennsylvania. Cait began her adventure into the wonderful world of graphic novels when she won the Will Eisner Foundation’s Graphic Novel Growth Grant for the Yuma High Library in 2015. Thanks to the initial support of the Eisner Foundation grant, she has since expanded her library’s graphic novel collection to be the largest in her school district. This expansive graphic-novel collection has allowed Cait to engage reluctant readers and SEI/ESL students as well as students who may have never considered picking up a graphic novel. Cait’s students devour comics; she enjoys utilizing comics to inspire a love of reading and to help boost her student’s confidence in their own literacy skills. Cait is also the winner of the 2017 Dollar General LiteracyGrant and the 2020 Education Foundation of Yuma County Mini-Grant. Additionally, Cait has participated in multiple panels regarding the benefits of graphic novels to help spread the good word about comics! In previous years she has served on the EGL YA Jury as assistant chair and juror.
Adult Awards Jury
Karen Gavigan (Chair)
John Weaver (Assistant Chair)
Christina Hicks is the Youth Services Librarian at the Friendswood Public Library. Before serving as Chair of the middle-grade jury of the EGL Award she was a member of the adult jury. She has also chaired the Maverick Graphic Novel List committee for the Texas Library Association.
S.E. Fleenor is the managing editor of Bella Media Channel and their writing has appeared in ElectricLiterature, Vice, Xtra Magazine, Upworthy, and them.us. Fleenor co-hosts the podcast Bitches on Comics and is a staff writer for SYFY WIRE’S FANGRRLS. Learn more about them at: SEFleenor.com
About the Awards
Since 2017, the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards has worked with dozens of prestigious jurors from across the world, received hundreds of submitted titles, and recognized some of the most innovative, exciting, and educational graphic literature being published today!
In addition to receiving the prestigious Excellence in Graphic Literature Award, winning and nominated titles earn the honor of including a cover medallion on all prints. This medallion is also intended to make 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.
The goals of the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards are to:
- Help educators and librarians identify high-quality graphic literature to bring into diverse educational settings
- Help define and grow awareness for quality graphic literature
- Help graphic novel publishers increase their sales and growth potential with libraries and schools.
In support of this two-fold vision, the program is designed to create or improve market awareness of new titles, extend the sales windows and increase momentum for existing titles, and amplify and confirm publishers’ content strategies and marketing decisions as they apply to librarians and educators.