The early award season for books is here, and earlier this week the American Library Association handed out a slew of literary awards. As has been the recent trend, several graphic novels were recognized among the pictureless books:
— Derf Backderf’s My Friend Dahmer was named to the Alex Awards, given to for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences.
— Zeina Abirached’s A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return was named an Honor Book for the Mildred L. Batchelder Award given to an outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States:
— Raina Telgemeier’s Drama was an Honor Book for the Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender experience.
There were several other illustrated books using balloons that won in various categories devoted to the winners, but we’ll stick to the recognized comics for this.
Concurrently, YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association, has announced a list of 55 Great Graphic Novels for Teens that meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens. They’ve also released a Great Graphic Novels Top Ten as follows:
My Friend Dahmer, Derf Backderf. 2012, illus., Abrams, paper, $17.95, 978-1419702174.
Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb. Jonathan Fetter-Vorm. 2012, illus., Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Hill and Wang, $22.00, 978-0809094684.
Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller, Joseph Lambert. 2012, illus., Disney Hyperion/Disney Book Group, $17.99, 978-1423113362.
Ultimate Comics Spider-man, V.1. Brian Bendis and Sara Pichelli. 2012, illus., Marvel, $24.99, 978-0785157120.
Friends with Boys, Faith Erin Hicks. 2012, illus., Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $15.99, 978-1596435568.
A Flight of Angels, Alisa Kwitney, Rebecca Guay and others. 2011, illus., DC/Vertigo, $24.99. 978-1401232009.
The Silence of Our Friends, Marc Long, Nate Powell and others. 2012, illus., Roaring Brook/First Second, paper, $16.99, 978-1596436183.
Stargazing Dog, Takashi Murakami. 2011, illus., NBM Publishing, paper, $11.99, 978-1561636129.
Drama, Raina Telgemeier 2012, illus., Scholastic/GRAPHIX, $23.99, 978-0545326988.
Daredevil V. 1, Mark Waid, Paolo Manuel Rivera and Marcos Martin. 2012, illus., Marvel, $19.99, 978-0785152378.
All of these honors bring with them increased attention from librarians everywhere, and as many a graphic novel publisher will tell you, a librarian can be your best friend.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.