2020 Category Description: Graphic Novels

Cybils Awards logo, 500 px

A picture is indeed worth a thousand words! It’s no wonder that Graphic Novels remain a favorite for young readers year over year. In fact recent data shows 2019 sales just crossed the 1B sales showing a strong 11% increase in sales of Graphic novels year over year. 

Graphic Novels are not just for reluctant readers. Young readers need a broad range of reading material in various forms and formats (picture books, poetry, non-fiction, literature). Graphic Novels have evolved into a beloved genre of reading format and evolved into a unique form of story-telling. The sub-range within Graphic Novels has also evolved. We see a rich selection of fiction as well as non-fiction subgenres depicted in this format.

Graphic Novels are fun but also complex reading. Imagine the visual elements on a page; the complex storytelling with a rich combination of illustrations and color choices. Imagine the blank space and choice of author’s use of language (or not). These elements add to visual storytelling and rendering of information in new and interesting ways.

Finally, we are seeing an exciting range of diversity in this category.  A range of diverse themes (LGBTQ, racial justice) for diverse audiences (diverse characters) can be found in abundance. 

Here at Cybils, we’re interested in the best graphic novels published over the past year. Submit your nominations for elementary/middle grade (approximately ages 5-12) and young adult readers (approximately ages 13-17). In the graphic novels category, we want books that could not exist without the art. Illustrated novels should be submitted to their proper genre and age category, and you may submit picture books without panels to our picture book category. Don’t let questions stop you from nominating, though! Comics and graphic novels are sometimes tricky to place. When in doubt, nominate and let us sort it out. 

— Reshama Deshmukh, Category chair