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Cybils Graphic Novel Shortlists Announced

The first round of judging is over for the Cybils Awards, the only childrens and teen literature awards administered and judged by bloggers. I have the great honor this year of being the category organizer for the Graphic Novel Awards and the judges have worked very hard picking through the host of nominations to narrow them down to two shortlists. So, without further ado, here are the shortlists for the 2008 Cybils Awards for Graphic Novels:

Elementary and Middle Grade

Chiggers by Hope Larson
The mysteries and discoveries of adolescence are given a fresh-air, summer camp setting in this skillfully-drawn, sweetly-written graphic novel that always rings true.

Into the Volcano by Don Wood
Two brothers’ trip to Hawaii takes them into the heart of a real volcano hiding treasure and family secrets in the caves beneath its flows! The visual fireworks in this exciting mystery do not distract from its intense emotional core.

Jellaby by Kean Soo
When Portia discovers a gentle giant something in her backyard, she becomes
determined to help it find its home. Gorgeously produced, with some subtle hints of a deeper mystery to come in the sequel.

Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale, art by Nathan Hale
In this twist on the old tale, Rapunzel frees herself from the witch’s prison, using her legendary hair, and sets off with her new pal Jack (of beanstalk fame) to save their town from the witch.  A lively Wild West adventure with a hint of romance, and the most butt-kicking heroine this side of Alanna!

The Savage by David Almond, art by Dave McKean
A grieving boy’s story of a savage living in the woods comes true in this eerie tale of horror for lads who “put on a real tough front… but like most of us, [are] just dead soft inside.”

There’s a Wolf at the Door by Zoe Alley, art by R.W. Alley
The big bad wolf tangles up five classic yarns while chasing down some dinner, but his clever victims join forces to trip him up. A superb graphic novel for the picture book crowd.


Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki, art by Steve Ralston
Teenaged Emiko’s summer goes from babysitting and ice cream shop jobs to nights spent with underground art "freaks" and fabulous creativity.  But is this fabulous world she loves built entirely on a lie? Slightly gritty but warm, this will inspire anyone who has ever not quite fit in.

Kin: The Good Neighbors, book one by Holly Black, art by Ted Naifeh
When Rue discovers she’s half-faerie, she is confronted with a choice: in the coming war between the faerie world and humanity, where should her allegiance lie?  This atmospheric murder mystery/gothic fantasy is only the beginning of Rue’s story.

Life Sucks by Jessica Abel and Gabe Soria, art by Walter Pleese
This funny, believable, and ultimately, pretty sweet graphic novel swipes at popular notions of romantic vamp culture, mashing the myth into the mundane with hilarious results.

Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
Atmospheric and intimate at the same time, this debut graphic novel about an angsty teen avoids the usual cliches through sheer sympathy and grace and the beautiful art lends it an unusual delicacy.

Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa
When death stalks a child, the boy’s father does whatever he can to fight this tragic fate. A mesmerizing and ultimately heart wrenching look at how human beings deal with loss.

The round two judges will begin their work immediately, reading through these wonderful titles and, after much discussion, picking a winner in each of the two categories. The winners will be announced on February 14, 2009. Congratulations to all of the shortlist authors and illustrators!

Snow Wildsmith About Snow Wildsmith

Snow Wildsmith is a writer and former teen librarian. She has served on several committees for the American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association, including the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She reviews graphic novels for Booklist, ICv2's Guide, No Flying No Tights, and Good Comics for Kids and also writes booktalks and creates recommended reading lists for Ebsco's NoveList database. Currently she is working on her first books, a nonfiction series for teens.


  1. Into the Volcano is NOT set in Hawaii, but in a weird fictional place sort of resembling the island of Hawaii. To someone from Hawaii (such as myself), the book is very jarring when one runs into differences in language, geography, and other details. These don’t matter to the overall story (much), but it’s not Hawaii.

  2. Steve Rolston says:

    I think it’s awesome that Emiko Superstar was nominated but I thought I’d point out that my name is spelled “Rolston”.

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