The 2022 Excellence on Graphic Literature Awards Advisory Board and Juries select the best in graphic literature through a clearly defined and transparent process. The evaluation team is comprised of diverse, experienced, and informed professionals whose experience spans publishing, libraries, education, and other related fields.
Publishers and creators can submit graphic literature titles for consideration in the categories below. Each category will feature two winners: one in fiction, and one in non-fiction.
- Best in Children’s Graphic Literature
- Best in Middle-Grade Graphic Literature
- Best Young Adult Graphic Literature
- Best in Adult Graphic Literature
All submitted books will also be eligible for the awards below, regardless of category or fiction/non-fiction distinction:
- Book of the Year
- Mosaic Award
- EGL Reader’s Choice Award
2022 Advisory Board
Tracy Edmunds has experienced first-hand the potential of comics in education In her 13+ years as an elementary teacher and helps publishers, educators, librarians, and parents bring the power and joy of comics to all learners. Tracy is VP for K-12 Education for the nonprofit Reading with Pictures, serves on the advisory board for the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards, and works with publishers such as DC Comics, Marvel, Andrews McMeel, and Teacher Created Resources.
Kristina Maldonado Bad Hand is a Sicangu Lakota and Cherokee artist, educator, and activist that hails from Taos, New Mexico.
Crystal Chen is the Teen Center Coordinator at The New York Public Library and a 2018 American Library Association Emerging Leader. She received her MSLIS from Pratt Institute and is an active member of the Chinese American Librarians Association and Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association. She also serves as a community admin for We Here (wehere.space), a supportive community for BIPOC in LIS.
JJ Babb has developed and implemented an integrated Social Emotional Learning and literature curriculum for high-risk students in one of the nation’s largest
school districts. This curriculum, which she has presented nationally, relies on graphic novels to drive reluctant readers’ interest. JJ recently earned her EdD in Education Equity at the University of Colorado Denver and began work as an education researcher.
The 2022 Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards Advisory Board and Juries are comprised of diverse, experienced, and informed professionals whose knowledge and experience span the publishing, library, and education industries. Each title submitted for this year’s awards was reviewed by this group of expert graphic literature jurors who selected the best in graphic literature using a clearly defined and transparent process.
Children’s Awards Jury
Jameka Lewis (Chair) is the Senior Librarian at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library in Denver, CO. She has been a featured speaker for organizations such as The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Denver Press Club, and FAN EXPO Denver. Jameka is regularly featured by various media outlets, including newspapers, radio stations, and news stations. She conducts presentations and training in the areas of equity, diversity, inclusion, and Black representation in popular culture.
Jessica Ruskin is the Education Director at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center where she’s worked for the past 17 years, helping build an understanding of cartoon art today. Ruskin received her BA, summa cum laude, from Cornell University and her Master’s degree in Museum Education from George Washington University. Before the Schulz Museum she worked at the Smithsonian Institution, Kidspace Children’s Museum, and the Exploratorium, and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity through the AmeriCorps national service program. Ruskin lives in Santa Rosa, Ca with her two children, two dogs, two cats, and one leopard gecko.
Amanda Coltman lives in Arizona with her husband and dog. She received her Masters in Library Science and Technology in 2015 from UW-Milwaukee. Amanda is the Library Coordinator for 18 schools, both elementary and middle, and was previously a high school librarian. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and crocheting. Amanda enjoys graphic literature and seeing how authors from all over tell stories in their own creative ways.
Dr. Leslie Haas‘ experience in literacy education and leadership includes teaching at K-12, undergraduate, and graduate levels. Additional experiences include instructional coaching, professional development, curriculum design, and department administration. Opportunities in highly diverse settings have acted as both a catalyst and foundation for her focus on integrating and connecting literacy across disciplines through culturally and linguistically responsive instructional practices. Dr. Haas is particularly interested in technology-based literacy opportunities for underrepresented populations through engagement with popular culture, specifically gaming and fanfiction. She has been honored for her work in research, teaching, and technology through Buena Vista University, Fierce Education, The Texas A&M University System, and The Dallas Catholic Foundation.
Hadiya I. Evans is a reference and adult programming librarian at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library of the Denver Public Library, with a MA and MLIS in Library Information. Hadiya’s strong commitment to engagement is rooted in nurturing collaborative partnerships and creating relevant and community-focused programming. She is the current President of the Colorado Black Library Association and an affiliate of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.
Eli Palmer is a Young Adult Specialist from the rural town of Pinedale, WY, where they wrangle teens, tweens, and the occasional preschooler at the Sublette County Library. They previously served as a Juror on the Young Adult Jury. They are passionate about collection development and Dragon Age.
Middle-Grade Awards Jury
Christina Hicks (Chair) is the Youth Services Librarian for the Friendswood Public Library in Friendswood, Texas. She has served as a committee member and chair of the Texas Library Association’s Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List and has been honored to serve as a juror and chair on several committees for the EGL awards since its inaugural year. She loves to advocate for a kid’s right to read graphic novels with any parent who thinks ‘comics aren’t real reading.’
Dr. Stergios Botzakis is a professor in Theory and Practice in Teacher Education at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His areas of expertise are content area literacy, 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 blogs regularly at graphicnovelresources.blogspot.com.
Caitlyn Zaksheske has been the librarian of Yuma High School for eight years. Her adventure into the wonderful world of graphic novels began by winning the Eisner Foundation’s Graphic Novel Growth Grant 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 district. This expansive collection has allowed Cait to engage reluctant readers, SEI/ESL students, and students who have negative preconceived notions of graphic novels.
Mike Pawuk is a teen services librarian for the Cuyahoga County Public Library system in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the author of two editions of ABC-Clio’s Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More, 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.
Jason D. DeHart has served as a juror for the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards for three years now. DeHart taught middle grades English for eight years and currently serves as an assistant professor of reading education at Appalachian State University, where he shares his love of comics.
John Meier is the Head of STEM, Engagement, and Outreach at the Penn State University. He helped found the Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year and served on the inaugural jury. He served on the initial years of EBSCO’s SEE-IT graphic novel award jury. He has conducted research and written about comics in academic libraries. John has taught a first-year seminar in Japanese pop culture and has done instruction for game studies courses.
Young Adult Awards Jury
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.
Michael Gianfrancesco is a high school English teacher and a graphic novel educational consultant. He’s curated programming at institutions and events across the country, including Harvard, Brown, NCTE, San Diego ComicCon, New York ComicCon, and FAN EXPO Denver. He was the director of the New England Comic Arts in the Classroom conference in Providence, RI in 2011, is a founding member of the LitX cohort, and is the Program Director for Rhode Island Comic-Con.
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.
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 has worked in libraries for eleven years and is currently employed at Anythink Libraries in Adams County, CO where he buys materials for their collection. Before beginning his librarian life he was an archaeologist and a journalist.
Adult Awards Jury
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.
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:
- 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.