Once again, a school librarian is at the forefront of making reading exciting for young people. Paul Register, the Learning Resource Centre Manager at Ecclesfield School in Sheffield, is an avid proponent for graphic novels and the enjoyment they bring to reading for young people. He has set up a new award for schools in his area, called the Stan Lee Excelsior Award, and has received the blessing of the great comic book writer himself. This is from the publicity material that Paul sent out to schools:
In 2011, Ecclesfield School in Sheffield will be organising and running a city-wide book award project called The Stan Lee Excelsior Award. Eight graphic novels will be on the shortlist, fourteen secondary schools are taking part and teenagers will be choosing the winner! The project will be run directly by school librarian and comics enthusiast Paul Register and has the full backing and support of both the Sheffield Schools Library Service and The Stan Lee Foundation. We are thrilled that Stan has given us his blessing and his permission to name this award after him.
Purpose and Function:
The overall goal of this scheme is to encourage reading amongst the teenagers of Sheffield. However, its secondary target is to raise the profile of graphic novels and manga amongst the librarians and teachers of Sheffield’s schools. This storytelling medium has been a largely underused resource within education for many years. The Excelsior Award attempts to highlight some of the amazing books that are out there, just crying out to be put in our school libraries!
The basic premise is that all the fourteen participating secondary schools will gather together a group of student readers who will rate and review each of the eight books on the shortlist (according to a variety of factors). This process will result in the shortlist being narrowed down to a 1st, 2nd and 3rd with the winning titles being announced at a special awards ceremony here at Ecclesfield School, Sheffield on 1st July. Kev F. Sutherland (noted Beano artist and comedian) has already agreed to attend as keynote speaker.
The Shortlist for 2011:
These books have been chosen for their quality, popularity and variety of genre and artistic styles. The other main criteria for inclusion on the shortlist is that the titles have to be suitable for 11-16 year olds and have to have been published in 2010. We will be providing a full set of the shortlisted titles to each of the schools – at our own expense. The Sheffield Schools Library Service has also agreed to match our funding and will be providing extra copies of each title to the schools.
The books that have made it onto this year’s shortlist are:
• The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects by Mike Mignola. Publisher: Dark Horse (7 Sep 2010). ISBN-13: 978-1595825018
• Batman and Robin: Batman Reborn by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Philip Tan. Publisher: Titan Books Ltd (25 Jun 2010). ISBN-13: 978-1848565388
• Grandville: Mon Amour by Bryan Talbot. Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd (2 Dec 2010). ISBN-13: 978-0224090001
• Mezolith by Ben Haggarty and Adam Brockbank. Publisher: David Fickling Books (1 April 2010). ISBN-13: 978-0385618267
• Black Butler: Vol. 1 by Yana Toboso. Publisher: Yen Press (26 Jan 2010). ISBN-13: 978-0316080842
• ABC Warriors: The Volgan War, Vol. 2 by Pat Mills and Clint Langley. Publisher: REBELLION/2000AD (15 Jan 2010). ISBN-13: 978-1906735234
• Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man by Brian Reed and Chris Bachalo. Publisher: Marvel Comics (6 Jan 2010). ISBN-13: 978-0785142393
• Twilight: The Graphic Novel Vol. 1 by Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim. Publisher: Atom (17 Mar 2010). ISBN-13: 978-1905654666
I have no doubt that these books will lead to discussions, debates and enjoyment across Sheffield’s schools – and across gender, race, reading ability and social class. I think this can be a hugely worthwhile project and I hope you can share my enthusiasm. If you have any questions or comments please contact me either by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or directly at the school on 0114 246 1156.