Paul Register kindly drops us a line to let us know the details of the second annual Stan Lee Excelsior Awards, the very welcome comics gongs where the comics are chosen by groups of school student readers in the school library area for Sheffield schools, with some input from school students much further afield too (and the great man was generous enough to let the organisers lend his name to it). I think that’s what I really like about these awards – these are comics that high school students are reading and selecting, not what we are reading, not what we might try to suggest they read, these are what the kids read, they discussed among themselves in book groups, and chose what they liked reading, no politics, no trying to pick a certain book because it perhaps makes you look more intelligent or cool that you all read it, just picking the books they actually enjoyed, that simple.
The winners are:
1st Place – Star Wars: Blood Ties by Tom Taylor and Chris Scalf (Dark Horse)
2nd Place – Chimichanga by Eric Powell (Dark Horse)
3rd Place –Green Lantern: Secret Origin by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis (DC)
Winner of the JABBICA (Judge A Book By Its Cover Award) – Sita: Daughter of the Earth by Saraswati Nagpal and Manikandan (Campfire)
Winner of the True Believers Award (for the school that returned the most Rating Forms) – Chilwell School, Nottingham
Getting youngsters interested in reading – any type of reading – is, I believe, vital in any society. Obviously I’d think that, I’m a bookseller, so I have a bias there admittedly, but that aside reading tends to encourage more reading, open doors in the mind; even reading purely for pleasure still often plants little bits of ideas and information in the mind that you then connect up when reading further, which makes more connections, more ideas, more knowledge and better rounded, more able, better informed, more linguistically confident children who will be better informed, better educated adults in our society later on. Not to mention it means they are more likely to want to borrow books and comics from our libraries and buy them from our comics and bookstores! And any award that not only gets the kids interested in reading but gives them ownership of the awards, so that they are doing the selecting, so they are not just reading but discussing and thinking about what they read? Now that’s something special and huge kudos should go to Paul and his fellow librarians for fostering it.