Minneapolis is going through some crap right now (and what big city isn’t). People outside the city say they’re staying away – the same people who never had a desire to go into the city in the first place.
Just a heads up that there isn’t any place in Minnesota right now I’d rather be. There’s a ton of people here who are working hard to make things better in the face of adversity. And I like being a part of that.
Spotlight on writer/illustrator Jerry Craft! Jerry is an African American Literary Award winner (five times no less) and cofounder of the Schomburg Center’s Annual Black Comic Book Festival.
In addition to his numerous graphic novels and books he’s illustrated, Jerry is also the creator of the acclaimed comic strip Mama’s Boyz.
Jerry and I go back a ways. We met at King Features Syndicate back in the 1990s when we both worked in the King Features Comic Art Department.
And here’s a more recent pic. Jerry is one of those friends where even if you don’t see them for awhile you can just pick up from where you left off the last time you met.
Jerry has put Easter Eggs in his books for my family (like naming a character in one of his graphic novels after my daughter Tessa). And here’s me returning the favor in the July 8, 2018 Sally Forth Sunday page where the Forth family is at a comic convention.
Note the Mama’s Boyz banner on the back wall in panel 5.
And last but not least an unabashed plug for Jerry Craft’s latest graphic novel, New Kid.
It’s the story of seventh grader, Jordan Banks. He’s the new kid in school at a prestigious private school far from the neighborhood he grew up in. And as if navigating a new school isn’t tough enough, Jordan also just happens to be one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
June 2020 Update: Since my original post, Jerry’s book New Kid has gone on to win the prestigious Coretta Scott KingBook Award and The John Newbery Medal! The award ceremonies with Jerry’s acceptance speeches are linked to below.
Jerry Craft wins the Coretta Scott King Book Award for New Kid!
Jerry Craft’s graphic novel New Kid wins 2020 Newbery Medal!
“The major award in libraries is the John Newbery Medal for “the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year”. This year, Jerry Craft won for his graphic novel New Kid. Other graphic novels had previously received honor citations in this category, but this is the first time a graphic novel has won the medal outright, awarded for the best literary work, as a book, not as a graphic novel or illustrated work. It won because of the story presented, which just happened to be told in words and pictures.”