The full set of National Book Awards 2022 longlist are here and once again comics have received recognition in the Young People’s Literature category. Two of the ten titles in this year’s National Book Awards 2022 Young People’s longlist are graphic novels – Johnnie ChristmasSwim Team; and Dawud Anyabwile, Derrick Barnes, and Tommie Smith’s Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist For Justice.

The ten titles in the National Book Awards 2022 longlist will be whittled down into finalists on Tuesday October 4 before a winner declared November 16.


Johnnie Christmas’ Swim Team book synopsis:

“Bree can’t wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees—until she’s stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than a little queasy, yet she’s forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears. Lucky for her, Etta, an elderly occupant of her apartment building and former swim team captain, is willing to help.

“With Etta’s training and a lot of hard work, Bree suddenly finds her swim-crazed community counting on her to turn the school’s failing team around. But that’s easier said than done, especially when their rival, the prestigious Holyoke Prep, has everything they need to leave the Mighty Manatees in their wake.

“Can Bree defy the odds and guide her team to a state championship, or have the Manatees swum their last lap—for good?”

Dawud Anyabwile, Derrick Barnes, and Tommie Smith’s Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist For Justice synopsis:

“On October 16, 1968, during the medal ceremony at the Mexico City Olympics, Tommie Smith, the gold medal winner in the 200-meter sprint, and John Carlos, the bronze medal winner, stood on the podium in black socks and raised their black-gloved fists to protest racial injustice inflicted upon African Americans. Both men were forced to leave the Olympics, received death threats, and faced ostracism and continuing economic hardships.

“In his first-ever memoir for young readers, Tommie Smith looks back on his childhood growing up in rural Texas through to his stellar athletic career, culminating in his historic victory and Olympic podium protest. Cowritten with Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Honor recipient Derrick Barnes and illustrated with bold and muscular artwork from Emmy Award–winning illustrator Dawud Anyabwile, Victory. Stand! paints a stirring portrait of an iconic moment in Olympic history that still resonates today.”

Graphic novels (and picture books) have consistently made it into the Young People’s Literature category in recent years – several of which became finalists.  Shing Yin Khor’s The Legend of Auntie Po in 2021; Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed’s When Stars Are Scattered in 2020; and Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s graphic memoir Hey, Kiddo in 2018. A graphic novel won the category in 2016 – John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell’s March: Book Three.