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Countdown to the Eisners: 2019 Nominees for Best Publication for Early Readers (Up to Age 8)

Fanbase Press’ coverage of the 2019 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards continues with the “Countdown to the Eisners” series. From Wednesday, May 29, through Wednesday, July 10, 2019, Fanbase Press will highlight each of the Eisner Awards’ 31 nomination categories, providing comic book industry members and readers alike the opportunity to learn more about the nominees and their work. Stay tuned for Fanbase Press’ continued coverage of the Eisner Awards, including live coverage of the ceremony at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, July 19.

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8) is a newer Eisner category established in 2012 to acknowledge creative achievement amongst creators of American comic books for young children.  Prior winners have included James Kochalka for Dragon Puncher Island (Top Shelf) in 2012 and last year with Liniers’ Good Night, Planet (Toon Books).

Here are the 2019 Eisner Award nominees for the Best Publication for Early Readers (Up to Age 8) category:

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Johnny Boo and the Ice Cream Computer by James Kochalka (Top Shelf/IDW)

School Library Journal described “Johnny Boo is sweet without being sugary and comfortably familiar yet fresh on every page.  All in all, Kochalka’s light touch has created the quintessential small gem.” This is the eighth book in a series featuring Johnny Boo, a puffy, cute ghost from the creative mind of Kochalka, and in this latest adventure, Johnny invents a computer that turns anything into ice cream – what child would not want one of those?! But where is the limit of what can be turned into ice cream? Kochalka’s artistic style is simple, bright, and straightforward and attracts, entertains, and engages young minds.  

Click here to purchase.

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Petals by Gustavo Borges (KaBOOM!)

Comics featuring animals are often used as a method to broach difficult themes, such as war and death in David Petersen’s epic Mouse Guard or Garth Ennis’ post-apocalyptic Rover Red Charlie.  Gustavo Borges’ Petals is a wordless graphic novel that follows a family of foxes as they seek to survive a particularly challenging winter while exploring themes of friendship.  BOOM! Studios Editor Whitney Leopard said, “Gustavo Borges has crafted a beautiful story that can be enjoyed by any reader, with deeper layers that older readers will appreciate and infused with beautiful imagery that the youngest of readers will treasure.” (See BOOM! Studios‘ “Petals First Look” May 2018 post for an excerpt from the book.)

Click here to purchase. (Amazon)

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Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths by Graham Annable (First Second)

Publishers Weekly states, “Annable’s gift for caricature and zippy dialogue shines through, as he celebrates his characters’ contrasting temperaments without a hint of snark.” Graham Annable’s tale of two sloths is a study for young readers to identify with the lead characters while learning to appreciate the differences in each of us. In Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths, homebody Peter learns to expand his world while adventurer Ernesto grows to appreciate the importance of home, but through their respective lessons and separation, their friendship matures and becomes stronger as a result. (See MacMillan Publishers’ page for an excerpt.)

Click here to purchase. (Amazon)

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This Is a Taco! by Andrew Cangelose and Josh Shipley (CubHouse/Lion Forge)

This Is a Taco! is the first of two books from writer/artist duo Andrew Cangelose and Josh Shipley in 2018.  Cangelose and Shipley take a different approach to sharing animal facts with young readers by breaking the fourth wall and letting a squirrel named Taco, who likes eating tacos, to take over storytelling when Taco does not like (or is scared) of the real facts being shared on the pages.  The creative team followed up This Is a Taco! with This Is a Whoopsie! which introduces readers to a clumsy moose who falls down often.

Click here to purchase. (Amazon)

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Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri (First Second)

“Real or not, nightmares affect us, and so the true victory in Tetri’s book comes in unlikely collaborations and creativity in the face of terror,” states The New York Times. (See the full review here.) Writer/illustrator Emily Tetri’s story follows a young tiger and her under-the-bed monster, who form a friendship and band together to fight off a big, mean nightmare. Tiger vs. Nightmare has already garnered a 2019 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor, 2018 Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of the Year, and School Library Journal Best Graphic Novel of 2018.

Click here to purchase.

Stay tuned to the Fanbase Press website each day as we continue our “Countdown to the Eisners” coverage! Plus, follow Fanbase Press’ Facebook, Twitter (@Fanbase_Press), and Instagram (@fanbasepress) with the hashtag #FPSDCC to stay up to date on our SDCC and Eisner Awards updates, including a live-tweet of the 2019 Eisner Award Ceremony from the Hilton Bayfront Hotel at San Diego Comic-Con on the evening of Friday, July 19th!


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