Maus to March & the Rise of Graphic Novels
At this point, it is getting hard to keep up with the awards won by Congressman & Civil Rights activist John Lewis' graphic novel March, Book 3. Less than a month ago, it practically swept the ALA Youth Media Awards, winning the Coretta Scott King Author Award, the Printz Award for Excellence in YA Literature, the Sibert Informational Book Award and the YALSA Award for excellence in Young Adult Fiction.
This is on top of being the first graphic novel to win a National Book Award, and the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature – Young Adult Category. It has been given starred reviews in most major publications, showed up on virtually every "best of" list for the year, and has drawn inevitable comparisons to another award-winning graphic novel series: Maus.
Maus and March are perhaps fitting bookends to the story of graphic novels -- that's not to say that there's not more to come, as I suspect there is lots more -- but rather that they mark distinct moments in the history of the humble comic book. Maus, over 25 years ago, marked the beginning of the era of "comic book as serious literature," and now, the awards showered upon March signal the format's accepted place on our bookshelves.
There's lots in between, of course. Graphic novels have been winning awards and honors for years. When I worked in the Children's Department, there was perhaps not a more requested middle-grade title than Raina Telgmeier's Smile for years after its publication. There are even more that aren't anywhere on my radar because I, perhaps like you, could use a lot more education on graphic novels. I could certainly stand to read a few more.
One place, of course, that you can learn more about the genre is our upcoming Non-Fiction Read-In +Graphic Novels event. We'll have Eden Grey speaking about how to choose Graphic Novels for your collection, in addition to 4 hours of reading time for you to check out comics and non-fiction titles.
Looking further into the future, we're offering PCI Webinars about Diversity in Comics on March 21st and the Best Manga of 2016 & 2017 on April 27th. (Don't know what manga is? Read Manga 101 from School Library Journal, check out some titles at our read-in and sign up for the webinar!)
There's new training out there every day, so always keep an eye on our calendar and we'll keep an eye our for graphic novel training for you.
In the meantime, we'll see you at the Main Branch of the Boone County Public Library on March 22nd for our Read-In. Register today and don't forget: School Library Media Specialists get a discount. Just email us for the code!
Cassondra Vick, MLIS
Technology Educator, SWON Libraries