Wow. Gene Yang’s AMERICAN BORN CHINESE, published by First Second, has scored a National Book Award nomination in the YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE category. These awards are extremely prestigious — a win for Yang would be almost as earth-shaking as Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer for Maus. Just to be a finalist is a huge accomplishment for Yang and First Second.
UPDATE: We’re informed this is the first ever National Book Award nomination for a graphic novel.
According to the award PR:
Gene Luen Yang, America Born Chinese (First Second/Holtzbrinck)
This graphic novel portrays the life of a young Chinese-American boy who moves from San Francisco’s Chinatown to the suburbs, where he is one of two Asian children in the school.
Gene Yang is a San Francisco Bay Area native and has been drawing comic books since the fifth grade and is the author of Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks and Loyola Chin and the San Peligran Order (both 2004), among other books. In 1997 he received a Xeric Grant. He still lives in the Bay Area and teaches computer science at a Roman Catholic high school.
Other finalists in the category:
M.T. Anderson, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume One: The Pox Party (Candlewick Press)
Martine Leavitt, Keturah and Lord Death (Front Street Books/Boyds Mills)
Patricia McCormick, Sold (Hyperion)
Nancy Werlin, The Rules of Survival (Dial/Penguin)