The #1 bestseller, about Congressman John Lewis and the Civil Rights Movement, is the first graphic novel recipient in the awards’ 67-year history.
NEW YORK (November 17, 2016) — Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell received an unprecedented honor last night, as their book March: Book Three became the first graphic novel to ever receive the National Book Award.
The March trilogy, published by Top Shelf Productions / IDW Publishing, depicts Lewis’s firsthand account of the Civil Rights Movement, reflecting on the role of young people in the “nonviolent revolution” of the 1960s and its direct legacy in the modern day. Its previous honors include the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the Eisner Award, two Harvey Awards, and a Coretta Scott King Author Honor. March is rapidly being adopted by universities and public school systems from New York to San Francisco, and recently spent six continuous weeks holding the top 3 spots on the New York Times Bestseller List.
“This is unbelievable,” said Congressman Lewis after receiving the award from Katherine Paterson, chair of the Young People’s Literature award jury. His voice shook with obvious emotion as he recalled a childhood visit to the public library in rural Alabama, where “we were told that the library was for whites only and not for coloreds. Now, to come here and receive this award, with these two… it’s too much.”
Nate Powell dedicated the award to his children “and their generation that will inherit this earth,” as well as to the incoming president of the United States, expressing a wish that it might transform his heart.
“There are two important lessons from this,” concluded Andrew Aydin, after many thank-yous. “One is that the story of the Movement must be told. We all must know it, if we are to understand the politics of today. And two: let the prejudice against comic books be buried once and for all.”
Archived video of the ceremony’s livestream is available online at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/92795242.
The three volumes of March are available wherever books are sold, separately as well as together in a slipcase set.
“Congressman John Lewis has been a resounding moral voice in the quest for equality for more than 50 years, and I’m so pleased that he is sharing his memories of the Civil Rights Movement with America’s young leaders. In March, he brings a whole new generation with him across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, from a past of clenched fists into a future of outstretched hands.” — President Bill Clinton
“With March, Congressman John Lewis takes us behind the scenes of some of the most pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement. In graphic novel form, his first-hand account makes these historic events both accessible and relevant to an entire new generation of Americans.” — LeVar Burton
“March is one of the most important graphic novels ever created — an extraordinary presentation of an extraordinary life, and proof that young people can change the world. I’m stunned by the power of these comics, and grateful that Congressman Lewis’s story will enlighten and inspire future generations of readers and leaders.” — Raina Telgemeier
“An incredible accomplishment. It is the history of John Lewis, the Civil Rights Movement and his role in it… a book that explains — more deeply than anything else I’ve ever read — the methods and the moral foundations of the civil rights movement, how civil rights activists did what they did and won what they won, and how they had the strength to do it in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.” — Rachel Maddow
“Brave acts of civil disobedience… [give] March its educational value even as Powell’s drawings give Lewis’s crisp narration an emotional power.” — The New York Times
“There is perhaps no more important modern book to be stocked in American school libraries than March.” — The Washington Post
“Essential reading… March is a moving and important achievement… the story of a true American superhero.” — USA Today
“A riveting chronicle of Lewis’s extraordinary life… it powerfully illustrates how much perseverance is needed to achieve fundamental social change.” — O, The Oprah Magazine
“March offers a poignant portrait of an iconic figure that both entertains and edifies, and deserves to be placed alongside other historical graphic memoirs like Persepolis and Maus.” — Entertainment Weekly
About Top Shelf Productions
Top Shelf Productions, based in Marietta, Georgia, has published critically acclaimed and popularly beloved graphic novels since 1997. Now an imprint of IDW Publishing, Top Shelf continues to showcase the vanguard of the comics medium, publishing works of literary sophistication, visionary artistry, and personal resonance.
IDW Media Holdings, Inc. (OTC:IDWM) is a fully integrated media company, which includes publishing, games, entertainment, and the San Diego Comic Art Gallery.
IDW Publishing’s comic book and graphic novel catalog includes some of the world’s most popular entertainment brands, including Transformers, My Little Pony, Star Trek, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, and Disney’s classic characters. At IDW’s core is its commitment to creator-owned comics including 30 Days of Night, Locke & Key, Wormwood, Ragnarök, V-Wars, and Archangel by bestselling sci-fi author William Gibson.
IDW Publishing is also home to the acclaimed and award-winning imprints: Top Shelf Productions, The Library of American Comics, Yoe! Books, and Artist Editions, showcasing the greatest original art ever published in American comic books.
IDW Games’ diverse line-up includes the international phenomenon Machi Koro, as well as hit licensed games such as X-Files, Back to the Future, The Godfather, and TMNT.
IDW Entertainment currently serves as the worldwide distributor of Wynonna Earp airing on the Syfy Channel in the U.S. and is producing BBC America’s Dirk Gently, based the best seller by Douglas Adams starring Elijah Wood and Sam Barnett, and Brooklyn Animal Control for USA Network.