But I Live: Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust (New Jewish Press) has won two Professional & Scholarly Excellence (PROSE) category awards from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) – for Non-Fiction Graphic Novels, and Biography & Autobiography.
The Charlotte Schallié-edited anthology which paired three Holocaust survivors’ testimonies with graphic novelists Miriam Libicki, Gilad Seliktar, and Barbara Yelin, has already earned a significant amount of praise since its release in May 2022. In October 2022, But I Live received a Canadian Jewish Literary Award (Biography).
In a press release, Manager of AAP Member Programs Emily Bokelman said:
“The 2023 PROSE Award entries considered by our judges illustrate the wide breadth of excellence, diversity, and merit in scholarly works published today, in all areas of academic study. Our 25-judge panel evaluated this year’s entries to select 105 titles as finalists, further naming 40 exceptional titles to be honored as Category Winners.”
The PROSE awards have been active since 1976 and are predominantly aimed at academic works in the sciences and humanities. But I Live was seemingly the only comic to make it get significant PROSE awards attention this year – since there were no finalists listed in the Nonfiction Graphic Novels category, and the other Biography finalists were not comics.
The synopsis of the book:
“An intimate co-creation of three graphic novelists and four Holocaust survivors, But I Live consists of three illustrated stories based on the experiences of each survivor during and after the Holocaust.
“David Schaffer and his family survived in Romania due to their refusal to obey Nazi collaborators. In the Netherlands, brothers Nico and Rolf Kamp were separated from their parents and hidden by the Dutch resistance in thirteen different places. Through the story of Emmie Arbel, a child survivor of the Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps, we see the lifelong trauma inflicted by the Holocaust.
“To complement these hauntingly beautiful and unforgettable visual stories, But I Live includes historical essays, an illustrated postscript from the artists, and personal words from each of the survivors.
“As we urgently approach the post-witness era without living survivors of the Holocaust, these illustrated stories act as a physical embodiment of memory and help to create a new archive for future readers. By turning these testimonies into graphic novels, But I Live aims to teach new generations about racism, antisemitism, human rights, and social justice.”