The finalists for this year’s Dwayne McDuffie Award for Kids’ Comics were announced May 18.
Kids Read Comics, a volunteer-run nonprofit that promotes comics reading and comics making, sponsors the award, which honors Dwayne McDuffie, pioneering comics and animation writer and Humanitas Prize winner, who cofounded Milestone Media and created the teen superhero Static among others. The award runs in tandem with the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity and focuses on comics aimed at young readers.
The winner will be announced June 14 at the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival, run jointly by Kids Read Comics and the Ann Arbor (Michigan) District Library.
The 2019 finalists are:
- Be Prepared, by Vera Brosgol, sends young Vera, a Russian girl living in an American suburb, to summer camp—Russian summer camp, the only one her single mom can afford and the one where she just might be able to fit in,
- The Cardboard Kingdom, by Chad Sell, follows a neighborhood of kids who transform ordinary cardboard into fantastical homemade costumes as they explore conflicts with friends, family, and their own identity.
- Hidden Witch, by Molly Knox Ostertag, continues the story of Asler, hero of The Witch Boy, as he takes magic lessons from his grandmother and tries to help his non-magical friend Charlie escape from a curse that’s trying to attach itself to her.
- Last Pick, by Jason Walz, takes readers to an earth overrun by alien invaders, where only those too young, too old, or too “disabled” have been spared from abduction…but maybe the kids last picked can step up and start a revolution.
- Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass, by Lilah Sturges and polterink, finds the Janes separated during an orienteering outing, thanks to a mysterious compass that others very much want to lay their hands on.
- My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder, by Nie Jun, introduces Yu’er and her grandpa, who live in a small neighborhood in Beijing that’s full of big personalities—with a story around every corner and a hint of magic each day.
- Onibi: Diary of a Yokai Ghost Hunter, by Atelier Sento, transports readers to the places where natural and supernatural meet, as it explores some of the lesser-known parts of Japan in a story that is part fantasy and part travelogue.
- Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths, by Graham Annable, tells the story of two best friends who are nothing alike—Peter loves their tree and never wants to leave, while Ernesto loves the sky and wants to see it from every place on earth.
- The Prince and the Dressmaker, by Jen Wang, finds Prince Sebastian hiding a secret life?taking Paris by storm wearing fabulous dresses as the Lady Crystallia?and relying on the brilliant young dressmaker Frances, who guards his secret but has dreams of her own.
- Sanity & Tallulah, by Molly Brooks, features best friends who live on a dilapidated space station at the end of the galaxy?but when Sanity creates a definitely-illegal-but-impossibly-cute three-headed kitten, the havoc it wreaks may mean the end of their outer space home.
The award judges are Faith Roncoroni, Tameshja Brooks, and Nola Pfau, assisted by Kids Read Comics and A2CAF co-founder Edith Donnell.