The American Library Association announced the 2015 honorees of its Youth Media Awards yesterday, and graphic novels scored big! In a pair of comic firsts, Cece Bell’s El Deafo made the shortlist for the Newbery Medal and This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki did the same for the Caldecott. This One Summer was also shortlisted for the young adult Printz Award, which was previously won by Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese in 2007.
A graphic novel was honored in a lesser-known award category as well. Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust, written by Loic Dauvillier and Marc Lizano and illustrated by Greg Salsedo, was on the honor list for the Mildred L. Batchelder Award which recognizes books that were originally published in a language other than English. This One Summer and Hidden were both published by First Second Books, whose editorial director Mark Siegel remarked on “how far we have come since the days when comics were disqualified from the literary conversation.”
In interviews with the Washington Post’s Michael Cavna, cousins Jillian and Mariko Tamaki said the ALA’s recognition of their respective illustrating and writing skills were welcome but unexpected. This One Summer already won the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustration in their native Canada, and upon receiving a Caldecott Honor as well Jillian said that “it’s great to get some recognition and encouragement in this crazy profession you’ve chosen.” Here at CBLDF we are also thrilled to see ALA’s award committees placing graphic novels among the top children’s and YA books of the year. Congrats to all the honorees!
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Contributing Editor Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.