Graphic Novels & Comics Roundup

We’re not going to lie—the team here at Medal on My Mind loves comics and graphic novels. So we’re particularly excited about this inaugural roundup post!

The Stonewall awards have a short but sweet history of recognizing graphic novels. In the Young Readers category, Drama got an honor in 2013 and a+e 4ever was honored in 2012. In the Nonfiction categories (irrelevant here but still good to know), Fun Home took home the gold in 2007 and Pedro and Me was honored in 2001.

There are a number of graphic novels this year that have the potential to be contenders in the Young Readers category. There are also a number of volumes of comic books that could be eligible, depending on how one interprets the award criteria. The GLBTRT site about the awards notes:

Re-printings of previously published books will not be considered. Substantially changed new editions of previously published works and English translations of foreign-language books are eligible for the awards.

So where do volumes of comics previously published as issues fit into this framework? How about webcomics now published in print? Team MoMM hopes they’ll be considered, so we’re tossing them into the mix here. What do you think?

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Ramona Blue

Ramona Blue coverRamona Blue by Julie Murphy
Balzer + Bray, May 2017
Reviewed from hardcover

I’ve been itching to shout about Ramona Blue far and wide since I read a galley back in March. I was planning to skim through a few parts in my hardcover to prep for this post, but I couldn’t make myself stop reading–Ramona grasped me yet again and refused to let go, even a second time around. It’s a book that’s simultaneously fierce and soft; funny and heart-wrenching, thoughtful and real.

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It’s Not Like It’s A Secret

Cover of It's Not Like It's A Secret by Misa SugiuraIt’s Not Like It’s A Secret by Misa Sugiura
Harper Teen, May 2017
Reviewed from ARC

There’s something very satisfying about kicking off our first contender post with a first novel. Numerical symmetry aside, this is a book I’ve been excited to talk about because of its representation of queer Japanese American and Mexican American characters, upfront discussion of racism, engaging voice, and well-paced plot. It’s Not Like It’s A Secret hasn’t garnered a huge amount of critical attention, and it’s not a flashy book in terms of language or narrative structure. It’s a high school/family drama, where drama is definitely the emphasis. It’s also a well-crafted exploration of intersecting identities and interpersonal relationships that centers a complex character within an equally complex social world.

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Previous Winners

Before we dive into discussion of criteria and contenders, we thought we’d start by paying homage to Stonewall Book Awards past, while keeping our focus on this year’s titles. Listed here are the authors of previous winners or honors (across all three of the awards: the Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award, the Barbara Gittings Literature Award, and the Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award) who have eligible children’s or YA books out this year. Could any of these authors win a second (or third or fourth or fifth) Stonewall medal? We’ll take a closer look at many of the new books mentioned here in the months to come.

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Welcome to Medal on My Mind

Medal on My Mind is a blog for speculation about the Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award that aims to promote LGBTQIA+ children’s and YA books and generate conversation about what constitutes “exceptional merit” when it comes to awarding them. The work of four queer librarians, Medal on My Mind follows in the footsteps of other mock award blogs in the children’s literature community (we’re looking at you, Heavy Medal, Calling Caldecott, Someday My Printz Will Come, and Guessing Geisel).

Between September and ALA’s Youth Media Award announcements in early February, we will consider individual books as possible contenders for the award, as well as highlighting additional titles through round-ups on shared themes and formats. These discussions will go beyond the nebulous idea of “literary merit,” taking a critical look at what identities are represented, how they are represented, and who is doing the representing. We are committed to looking beyond the parameters of the award as stated—“gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience”—to support an expansive, inclusive, and intersectional understanding of queerness.

Our approach throughout is multi-voiced, and we won’t always agree with one another. We’re a small team with a finite range of identities and experiences, and we recognize our own responsibility to be constantly learning. At the same time, we appreciate input from additional viewpoints, so please feel free to engage in the comments or contact us at

We have no affiliation with the current Stonewall Award committee, and our views are our own. Our opinions do not reflect those of the institutions with which we are affiliated. Our commentary on books does not constitute review.

We look forward to speculating with you.