2018 Eisner Award Nominees for Children and Teens
By Latrice Ferguson, Youth Services Library Assistant
Later this month fangirls and fanboys from all over the world will make their annual pilgrimage to comic and graphic novel heaven, the San Diego Comic Con. Every year the event draws large crowds of superhero, manga, and fantasy enthusiasts to celebrate the art and creativity of the industry’s best graphic fiction and nonfiction. The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, considered the Oscar’s of the comic and graphic book industry, was named for the renowned cartoonist and established in 1988. The awards committee does not neglect young readers, and you’ll find some great selections for kids and teens among the 2018 nominees. Be sure to check the Eisner website for the rest of the nominees, and later this month, the winners.
For the youngest readers, up to age 8, there are some great titles among the nominees, including one from bestselling author and illustrator Kevin Henkes. His clever picture book Egg is nominated this year. Told in pastels and bold lines, each page shows the progression of four eggs. “Egg, Egg, Egg, Egg….Crack, Crack, Crack, Egg.” From three eggs, three birds emerge, but what about the fourth egg? Henkes expertly crafts a tale of friendship and acceptance with few words and simple imagery. Young readers and pre-readers will enjoy this tale as the vivid illustrations are easily interpreted. Also nominated in the category for young readers is Arthur and the Golden Rope by Joseph Todd-Stanton. This adventure story is the first in the new “Brownstone Mythical Collection” series. Arthur is a small, but curious boy who loves exploring the magical forest beyond his home. One day, during one of his explorations the town is attacked by monsters who extinguish the ever burning fire at its center. The villagers need the fire’s continuous burn to keep the town warm. Someone must go ask for the help of Thor, the Norse god of Thunder, but everyone is too injured for the journey. Everyone, that is, except for little Arthur. It’s a funny story about a clever boy whom everyone underestimates, but he manages to overcome great odds to become the town’s hero and a legend.
Among the nominees for best publication for readers aged 9-12 is Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez. This captivating and creepy tale follows artistic young Sandy. In her notebook, she brings to life vividly imaginative creatures represented in vibrant colorful spreads throughout the graphic novel. The strict nuns at her school attempt to draw her attention, but Sandy’s focus cannot be corralled. She struggles to make friends, but soon meets the lavender haired Morfie. The ghostlike girl sees the magic that Sandy creates in her drawings, and wants to control and dictate Sandy’s creations. The beautiful and bold, yet eerie illustrations will draw readers in immediately, but the plot and theme leave much to consider well after you close the book. In addition to Nightlights, a nominee worth checking out from the library is Bolivar by Sean Rubin. Like Elvis and Tupac, it has long been disputed whether or not dinosaurs still live among us. Ok, maybe that’s not quite true, but in this tale there is for sure a dinosaur living next door to Sybil. The problem is that everyone is so busy with their day to day lives they don’t notice him. After the students laugh at her for saying she has a dinosaur for a neighbor, and the teacher admonishes her fibbing, Sybil grabs her camera determined to catch a picture of Bolivar the dinosaur. This graphic novel is beautifully rendered, and incredibly funny.
For teens there are a couple of great titles available for checkout at the Manhattan Public Library. One is written by author Marjorie Liu. Monstress vol. 1, with art by Sana Takeda, is set in the aftermath of a great war between humans and animal hybrids. Sold into slavery, Maika, seeks revenge and her quest begins in volume one of this graphic novel. This is a great choice for lovers of Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen. Also being considered is a modern day retelling of Jane Eyre by Aline Brosh McKenna. In this updated tale, Jane a sheltered college freshman learns all about the Rochester New York elite while working as a nanny for the daughter of a mysterious business man. Fans of the original will love this update.