Svetlana Chmakova’s Awkward was announced as the winner of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Kids’ Comics at last weekend’s Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival (A2CAF).

The award, a companion to the McDuffie Award for Diversity in comics, won this year by Ms. Marvel.

The McDuffie Award for Kids Comics is sponsored by the non profit Kids Read Comics organization to a book that represents ” Quality, Timelessness, Originality and Diversity.” The judging panel included Edith Donnell, a Kids Read Comics cofounder and youth and teen librarian; Andrew Woodrow-Butcher, manager of Little Island Comics, a comic shop exclusively for kids; Eva Volin, a children’s librarian and comics-in-libraries advocate; and Marv Wolfman, a comics and animation writer and editor whose storied career goes back nearly half a century.

Awkward, published by Yen Press,follows the adventures of middle-schooler Peppi, with all the anxiety, in-fighting, friendships and complexities of that age. Chmakova has been a star for a while, and it’s a well deserved win for her. You can see her acceptance speech in the below video.

In accepting the award on video, Svetlana Chmakova said, “When I heard about the award, I was so happy to see that one of the four judging criteria was diversity. When I create my work, inclusion is something that’s always at the forefront of my mind. And not just because I think it’s actually overdue…but also because I was an immigrant, and I experienced it. I experienced inclusion.” Recapturing what that experience meant to her, she added, “I was a kid and it was so important.”
“While I’m truly, truly thankful to be the recipient of this year’s award,” Chmakova went on to say, “I’m even more thankful that this award exists.”


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