In a first, a graphic novel has been awarded the 2020 John Newbery Medal. Author and illustrator Jerry Craft’s New Kid, which won the prestigious honour, is about the life of African-American boy Jordan Banks, who is interested in art but is forced to enroll in a private school by his parents. He is one of the few kids of colour there.
“I’d love for New Kid to be a book that African-American kids proudly claim as their own, while other kids see it as a book that always embraces them without ever being condescending. And it’s very important for me to make them laugh.,” Craft wrote in 2019 as quoted by a report in CNET.
Named after the 18th-century bookseller John Newbery, The Newbery Medal is awarded to the author who has contributed most significantly to American literature for children. It is conferred annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. It was first awarded in 1922. Last year, Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina had received the honour.
New Kid also won the Coretta Scott King Award.
The win has greatly impressed people on social media with many egging the writer to craft a follow-up to his celebrated graphic novel.
Graphic novels, as a genre, have rarely been considered for literary prizes. In 2018, Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina was longlisted for the Booker creating a buzz.
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