New Award Recognizes Diversity in Comics

The Virginia Library Association is celebrating great comics and graphic novels of 2015 with the development of a new award that honors works that embrace and support diversity. As noted on the VLA’s website, the purpose of the award is “To promote graphic novels dealing with subjects or characters of diversity as quality literature that fits with the purpose of libraries to educate and promote reading to all reading levels.”

Whether the subject matter is race, disability, religion, or sexual orientation, both publishers and readers are welcome to nominate titles for the award. According to the official press release, the selections will be divided into two age groups, youth (ages 6-17) and adult, and the award will be announced at the 2016 Virginia Library Association conference.

The Virginia Library Association’s Graphic Novel Diversity Award joins other library association awards that have nominated and awarded many great contemporary graphic novels. In recent years, graphic novels like Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer, and Raina Telgemeir’s Drama have all be recognized by libraries as important and influential works in a variety of fields. As the VLA notes, it is important for libraries and educational groups to recognize all forms of literature that will help teach and promote reading.

As Heidi MacDonald of Comics Beat writes, “If there was a tidal wave that swept over the comics world in 2015 it was diversity. Great strides were made, though more needs to be done. And here’s an award to recognize come of what’s going on, under the auspices of the Virginia Library Association.”

Learn more about the award here.

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Contributing Editor Caitlin McCabe is an independent comics scholar who loves a good pre-code horror comic and the opportunity to spread her knowledge of the industry to those looking for a great story!