2020 Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards

Book of the Year

Graphic showing the cover of the graphic novel along with a photo of the creator(s)

White Bird: A Wonder Story by R. J. Palacio (Random House Children’s Books)

Mosaic Award

Graphic showing the cover of the graphic novel along with a photo of the creator(s)

Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable & Ellen T. Crenshaw (Macmillan Publishers)

EGL Advisory Board

JJ Babb, 2020 EGL Awards Advisory Board

JJ Babb (Chair) has developed, implemented, and presented nationally an integrated Social EmotionalLearning and literature curriculum for high-risk students at one of the nation’s largest school districts. This curriculum relies on graphic novels to drive reluctant readers’ interest. JJ is earning her EdD in Educational Equity at the University of Colorado-Denver

Dr. Christopher Bell (Assistant Chair) is an Associate Professor of Media Studies in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. He specializes in the study of popular culture, focusing on the ways in which race, class, and gender intersect in different forms of children’s media. Recognized nationally for his expertise in the area of children’s culture, he teaches both theory and methodology courses in critical analysis of popular culture, rhetorical theory, representation theory, and the history of mass media. Dr. Bell is a TED speaker, a diversity and inclusiveness consultant for Pixar Animation Studios and Warner Media, a 2017 David Letterman Award-winning media scholar, and the 2017 Denver Comic-Con Popular Culture Educator of the Year.

Dr. Christopher Bell, 2020 EGL Awards Advisory Board
Kristina Maldonado Bad Hand, 2020 EGL Awards Advisory Board

Kristina Maldonado Bad Hand is a Sicangu Lakota and Cherokee artist that hails from Taos, New Mexico. Her passion for community and social justice has led her to speak on matters of equality and cultural representation in pop culture. She has spoken on such matters at colleges, schools, conventions, and art festivals. She studied Media Arts and Animation for four years at the Art Institute of Colorado and is an entrepreneur with big dreams. Kristina has started two businesses: Bad Hand Illustrations, in which she works freelance in illustration and as a graphic designer specializing in branding, product and logo design; and áyA Studios LLC, a publishing and media company that focuses on the empowerment and enrichment of independent artists. She has 10 years of experience in after-school and summer programs — most notably for her work with Pop Culture Classroom in their comic-based literacy curriculum and as a Community Liaison with Jeffco Indian Education; providing social-emotional, cultural, and academic support through arts to American Indian students K-12. Currently, she spends her time as a Teaching Artist with Think 360 Arts, works part-time as a Substance Abuse Liaison with Jeffco Indian Education, and collaborates with many different arts and community organizations in the Denver Metro area.

Joe Pascullo is a young adult librarian at the Grand Central branch of the New York Public Library, as well as the host of the podcast Manga Monthly. This is his second year assisting Pop Culture Classroom in bringing you the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards.

Joe Pascullo, 2020 EGL Awards Advisory Board

2020 Jurors

Children’s Awards Jury

Tracy Edmunds, Chair - Children's Jury, 2020 EGL Awards

Tracy Edmunds, M.A. Ed. (Chair) is an educational author and curriculum specialist. In her 12 years as an elementary teacher, she experienced first-hand the power of comics in teaching and learning and now works to help other educators put that power to work for their students. Learn more at tracyedmunds.com

Jessica Ruskin (Assistant Chair) 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.

Jessica Ruskin
Hadiya Evans

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.

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!

Tia Kimball - Children's Jury, 2020 EGL Awards
Jameka Lewis, Children's Jury, 2020

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

Warren Shanks, Children's Jury, 2020 EGL Awards

Middle-Grade Awards Jury

Christina Hicks - Chair, Middle Grade Jury, 2020 EGL Awards

Christina Hicks (Chair) 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.

Dr. Stergios Botzakis (Assistant Chair) 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.

Dr. Stergios Botzakis
Jason Dehart, Middle Grade Jury, 2020 EGL Awards

Jason D. DeHart has been reading comics since he was seven. DeHart holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and he currently teaches courses in upper-elementary literacy, middle school language arts methods, and adolescent literacy. Dr.DeHart served as a middle school English teacher for eight years

Jenny Harmon is a recently retired teacher of pregnant and parenting teens in a California public high school. She taught many subjects through the years, including English and Language Arts. She became a fan of graphic literature when she met Maggie and Hopey in the early 1980s.

Jenny Harmon - Middle Grade Jury, 2020 EGL Awards
Jim McClain - Middle Grade Jury, EGL Awards

Jim McClain is a writer, game designer, graphic novel creator, and retired middle school teacher. His math superhero graphic novel, Solution Squad, was a finalist in the inaugural Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards. He has spoken on the use of comics to teach mathematics from coast to coast.

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. 

Mike Pawuk — Middle Grade Jury, 2020 EGL Awards

Young Adult Awards Jury

Joe Pascullo, 2020 EGL Awards Advisory Board

Joe Pascullo (Chair) 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.

Jenny Harmon is a recently retired teacher of pregnant and parenting teens in a California public high school. She taught many subjects through the years, including English and Language Arts. She became a fan of graphic literature when she met Maggie and Hopey in the early 1980s.

Jenny Harmon - Middle Grade Jury, 2020 EGL Awards
Michael Gianfrancesco, Assistant Chair, Adult Jury, 2020 EGL Awards

Michael Gianfrancesco (Assistant Chair) has been a high school English teacher in Rhode Island and adjunct professor for 15 years. He advocates for teaching with comics and has curated programming at Harvard, Brown, Fordham, SDCC, NYCC, C2E2, DPCC, ALA, NEATE, NCTE, and other events. He is also a founding member of the LitX teacher cohort.

Amanda Jacobs Foust 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.

Amanda Jacobs Foust
Dani Kachorsky

Dani Kachorsky (she/her) is an independent scholar and literacy educator. She earned her Ph.D. in Learning, Literacies, and Technologies at Arizona State University with a focus on multiliteracies and multimodality. She has twelve years of teaching and research experience across several contexts including universities, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and libraries. Dani has researched and published work focused on the nature of graphic novels and pedagogical approaches to using graphic novels in classrooms.

Matthew Galloway (Chair) is a librarian at Anythink Libraries in Adams County, Colorado. Part of his job involves choosing which adult fiction materials to purchase for the library system, which includes graphic literature. Prior to joining the library field, he was an archaeologist, a journalist, and a bit of a rover.

Matthew Galloway, Chair, Adult Jury, 2020 EGL Awards

Adult Awards Jury

Jack Baur

Jack Baur (Chair) 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.

Colin McGuire is a big ole comic nerd who works at a library. He also helped co-create a comics and graphic novels class at the University of Northern Colorado where he occasionally guests lectures.

Colin McGuire

Kimberly Brosan is a high school and middle school librarian in Williamsport, PA, with an interest in finding and sharing graphic fiction and non-fiction with her manga-obsessed students. This is her second year judging the adult category of Excellence in Graphic Literature for Pop Culture Classroom.

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:

  1. Help educators and librarians identify high-quality graphic literature to bring into diverse educational settings
  2. Help define and grow awareness for quality graphic literature
  3. 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.