nate powel
The Term 'Graphic Novel' Has Had A Good Run. We Don't Need It Anymore.
Coined in an era when comics were considered 'junk' culture, graphic novel is a hoary, meaningless, and often completely inaccurate term. Comics are comics; stop apologizing for them.

Hey Glen, did you hear? Last night, March: Book Three by Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell — the final book in their graphic novel trilogy about young Lewis’ experiences in the civil rights movement — won the National Book Award for young people’s literature!

I heard! It’s fantastic! Both the fact that it won, and the comic itself, which is a deeply moving, eye-level, feet-on-the-ground account of the era that shows just how much hard, punishing work it took to change America. Lewis and co-writer Aydin take time to dig into the kind of small, human moments of pain, anguish, doubt and fear that history books tend to breeze past. And Artist Nate Powell makes sure you feel all those emotions — as well as moments of joy and soaring triumph.

It ends up offering far more than a how-to on civil disobedience — ultimately, it’s a why-to: a searingly hopeful testament to the power of protest, and a celebration of the young people who sacrificed their safety to make the country a more just place to live.

Yeah, I figured you’d be happy. I know you’re a graphic novel guy, so.

… It’s not a graphic novel.


That’s the second time you called it a graphic novel. Stop calling it a graphic novel. It’s not a graphic novel. For one thing, it’s non-fiction.
Rep. John Lewis: I hope my book inspires people to ‘speak up and speak out’
Upon winning the Walter prize for his graphic memoir, the civil rights legend speaks up about the power of the pen.

Today we announced the winners and honorees for the Walter Dean Myers Award in an exclusive with the Washington Post. 

Congratulations to all!


At a gala ceremony in New York City, the 67th National Book Awards gathered many of literature’s leading lights in celebration of just a few authors: Colson Whitehead, who won in the fiction category; Ibram X. Kendi, who won in nonfiction; Daniel Borzutzky, who won in poetry; and Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, who all won in young people’s literature.

On an evening in which many of the winners were black, the speeches were filled with celebrations of great literature, and with condemnations of the racism many of the authors fear from the incoming Trump administration.

Colson Whitehead, Rep. John Lewis Among National Book Award Winners

Congrats to Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell on their National Book Award for MARCH: BOOK THREE

“I remember in 1956 when I was 16 years old, going down to the public library, trying to get library cards, and we were told that the libraries were whites-only and not for coloreds,” Lewis said in his acceptance speech.


By Fall 1963, the Civil Rights Movement is an undeniable keystone of the national conversation, and as chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, John Lewis is right in the thick of it. With the stakes continuing to rise, white supremacists intensify their opposition through government obstruction and civilian terrorist attacks, a supportive president is assassinated, and African-Americans across the South are still blatantly prohibited from voting. To carry out their nonviolent revolution, Lewis and an army of young activists launch a series of innovative projects, including the Freedom Vote, Mississippi Freedom Summer, and a pitched battle for the soul of the Democratic Party waged live on national television. But strategic disputes are deepening within the movement, even as 25-year-old John Lewis heads to Alabama to risk everything in a historic showdown that will shock the world.


Six from 2016: Nonfiction for Youth About Resistance, Struggle, and Survival

We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler, Russell Freedman

“In his signature eloquent prose, backed up by thorough research, Russell Freedman tells the story of Austrian-born Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie. They belonged to Hitler Youth as young children, but began to doubt the Nazi regime. As older students, the Scholls and a few friends formed the White Rose, a campaign of active resistance to Hitler and the Nazis. Risking imprisonment or even execution, the White Rose members distributed leaflets urging Germans to defy the Nazi government. Their belief that freedom was worth dying for will inspire young readers to stand up for what they believe in.”

March: Book 3, John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell

“Welcome to the stunning conclusion of the award-winning and best-selling MARCH trilogy. Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, joins co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to bring the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today’s world.”

The Plot to Kill Hitler: Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Spy, Unlikely Hero, Patricia McCormick

“Perfect for fans of suspenseful nonfiction such as books by Steve Sheinkin, this is a page-turning narrative about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor and pacifist who became an unlikely hero during World War II and took part in a plot to kill Hitler.”

Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II, Albert Marrin

“A close look at the history of racism in America and carefully follows the treacherous path that led one of our nation’s most beloved presidents to make this decision. Meanwhile, it also illuminates the history of Japan and its own struggles with racism and xenophobia, which led to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, ultimately tying the two countries together.”

Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger, Anita Silvey

“Pete Seeger was an internationally honored folk musician and political radical who devoted his life to furthering humanitarian causes and getting people to sing. This biography traces his musical career, including the period when he was blacklisted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and the growth of his conviction that freedom and justice had to be defended and that the power of song could be used to fight back when these ideals were threatened.”

Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story, Caren Stelson

“This striking work of narrative nonfiction tells the true story of six-year-old Sachiko Yasui’s survival of the Nagasaki atomic bomb on August 9, 1945, and the heartbreaking and lifelong aftermath. Having conducted extensive interviews with Sachiko Yasui, Caren Stelson chronicles Sachiko’s trauma and loss as well as her long journey to find peace.”



Nearly sixty years after its creation, a little-known landmark of comic book history returns! This 16-page comic is a simple but revolutionary account of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, in which Rosa Parks, Dr. King, and 50,000 others used the power of nonviolence to battle segregation on city buses – and win.

First published in December 1957 by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, it went unnoticed by the mainstream comic book industry but spread like wildfire among civil rights groups, churches, and schools, helping to mobilize a generation to join the global fight for equality – nonviolently.

Personally endorsed by Martin Luther King, Jr. himself, over time this comic book has reached beyond his time and place to inspire activists in Latin America, South Africa, Vietnam, Egypt, and beyond… as well as inspiring MARCH, the new graphic novel trilogy by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell.

This new fully-authorized digital edition is published by the Fellowship of Reconciliation in partnership with Top Shelf Productions. All proceeds go to F.O.R.’s work promoting nonviolence around the world.

March Vol. 1-3 by John Lewis, Nate Powell, and Andrew Aydin

Okay. It’s good, obviously. I especially appreciated on how it focused on the very concrete details of WHAT their resistance movement looked like. This is very important information. Lots of white Americans like to think of this chapter of history as like, over and done with, so when we teach history in our schools we miss some very necessary context. March includes the context of the time, which really highlights how radical using nonviolent resistance was.

I also appreciated how March included how many disagreements within the resistance there were. Sometimes people broke off to start their own factions, sometimes they stayed. Lots to think about.

My only “complaint” about March is that I wish there was more of it. I want to know how John Lewis from Troy because Representative John Lewis. How does he see the issues of the 60s linked to those today? How about his work and life as a Congressman?

My public school education covered the Civil Rights Movement in detail but never told us WHY we spent so long on it. Lots was missing, obviously. It was never, ever supposed that we, elementary school students of the American suburbs in the 1990s, would need to use these techniques to advocate for our own rights someday. A friend of mine recently told me about how it was just assumed our generation would never have a Great Struggle, like WW2 or the Great Depression, and how since the election we’re all in shock because ta-da! Here it is. Time to fight.

Read March.


Books are one of the best tools we have to see the world through someone else’s point of view. Rincey has some books worth picking up if you want to understand the Black Lives Matter movement a little bit better.

Books Mentioned
March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
Citizen by Claudia Rankine
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Congratulations to this year’s National Book Award nominees! NPR News blogger (and Friend of NPR Books) Colin Dwyer writes:

Unlike the shortlist for the U.K.-based Man Booker Prize, which was announced Tuesday, the long lists for the National Book Awards still feature their fair share of familiar names — albeit occasionally in different genres than we saw them last. Jacqueline Woodson, who has won an NBA in young people’s literature, returns with Another Brooklyn, her first novel for adults in two decades. Viet Thanh Nguyen, who won last year’s Pulitzer for his fiction, makes an appearance on the long list for nonfiction for Nothing Ever Dies — which, like his 2015 novel, delves into the kaleidoscopic legacy of the Vietnam War. And Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, iconic activist and politician, joins his collaborators Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell on the YPL list for their third volume in a graphic memoir series on the civil rights movement.

You can find the full lists here – stay tuned for more coverage!

– Petra