The list of 2018 VLA Graphic Novel Diversity Award winners and honorees is officially here. As the name suggests, the Virginia Library Association recognizes comics that promote and embrace diverse perspectives through its characters or subject matter, in hopes to increase visibility and support libraries stocking these books.
To be eligible, applicants must feature “a diverse protagonist (casual or issue-based), a diverse supporting character that impacts the story, or a diverse subject,” be published in the award year in North America, have a stand-alone story and be submitted in either the Adult (18+) or (Youth 6-17) category.
The winner in the Adult category is Bingo Love, written by Tee Franklin, drawn by Jenn St-Onge with colors by Joy San. Published by Image Comics, this comic tells the story of Hazel Johnson and Mary McCray – two women whose love is suppressed by the expectations of family and society. Bingo Love follows their relationship and its struggles from their first encounter to their reunion decades later.
In the Youth category, Blue Deliquanti and Soleil Ho’s Meal takes the award home, adding to the Prism Award it received at SDCC. Published by Iron Circus, this punnily named comic asks its readers and characters to think more broadly about the food of cultures’ other than its own. Specifically, insects. The protagonist, Yarrow, loves cooking with bugs and wants to show the whole world how wonderful they can be by working at the renowned Casa Chicatana. She has to prove herself to the head chef – and muster up the strength to ask out the girl next door. (You can check out our review here!)
Following, this announcement, winners are invited to be recognized at the 28th Annual Scholarship and Awards Banquet at the VLA Annual Conference on October 23 and also receive a $500.00 cash reward. A list of honorees for each category, along with an overflow for the VLA Graphic Novel Diversity Award follows below. This year, 35 publishers participated, submitting more than 60 individual titles across the two categories. Submissions for the 2019 VLA GNDAs are open now.
Honor Books: Adult
My Brother’s Husband, Volume 2 by Gengoroh Tagame. Translated by
Anne Ishii. Published by Pantheon. Themes: Japanese culture, LGBTQ+
Dumb: Living Without a Voice by Georgia Webber. Published by
Fantagraphics Books. Theme: Disability
Amla Mater by Devi Menon. Published by Yali Books. Theme:
Puerto Rico Strong, edited by Hazel Newlevant, Desiree Rodriguez,
Marco Lopez, Derek Ruiz, and Neil Schwartz; multiple authors and artists.
Published by Lion Forge. Themes: Race, Ethnicity, Nationality
Honor Books: Youth
The Bride Was a Boy by Chii. Published by Seven Seas Entertainment. Theme: LGBTQ+
The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell. Published by Random House
Children’s Books/ Alfred A Knopf. Themes: Race, Ethnicity, Nationality
The Strange by Jérôme Ruillier. Published by Drawn & Quarterly. Theme:
A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni
and Tristan Jimerson. Published by Oni Press. Themes: LGBTQ+
Overfloweth Books: Adult
Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation by Anne Frank. Illustrated
by David Polonsky. Adapted by Ari Folman. Published by Knopf; Pantheon.
The Flutter Collection by Jennie Wood, Jeff McComsey, and Chris
Goodwin. Published by Dark Horse Books. Theme: LGBTQ+
Love Letters to Jane’s World by Paige Braddock. Published by Lion Forge.
Tales from la Vida: A Latinx Comics Anthology, edited by Frederick
Luis Aldama; multiple artists. Published by The Ohio State University
Press. Themes: Race, Ethnicity, Nationality
Luisa: Now and Then by Carole Maurel; adapted by Mariko Tamaki.
Published by Humanoids. Theme: LGBTQ+
And finally, Overfloweth Books: Youth
Check Please!: Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu. Published by Macmillan
Children’s Publishing. Theme: LGBTQ+
On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden. Published by Macmillan Children’s
Publishing. Theme: LGBTQ+
Brazen: Rebel Ladies who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu.
Published by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. Themes: Gender,
Feminism, Race, Ethnicity, LGBTQ+
My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder by Nie Jun. Published
by Lerner Publishing Group. Themes: Chinese Culture, Disability