Australian author Tom Taylor, best known for his work on various DC Comics series, has made comic book history. With his collaborator, Harley Quinn artist Jon Sommariva, Taylor was presented an award for their work on the book Neverlanders.
What Award Did Tom Taylor Win?
Taylor and Sommariva won the Children’s Book of the Year Award for Older Readers. The award is presented annually by the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA). The win marks the first time in the awards’ history that a graphic novel has been recognized. This is notable, as graphic novels are not usually acknowledged by awards devoted to children’s literature.
Tom Taylor announced the achievement on Twitter. He added that both he and Jon Sommariva were “honoured and so grateful” to be recognized by the CBCA.
Based on the classic children’s novel Peter Pan, Neverlanders puts a dark, modern spin on the story. The action centers around a group of modern-day runaways who encounter the last surviving Lost Boy. He reports that Neverland has been besieged by a new pirate leader, who seeks to steal the land’s magic. With the aid of Tinkerbell, the new Lost Ones (comprised of both girls and boys) must fight a war to save their new home.
Why Neverlanders’ Win Is Important
Neverlander’s win is prompting many to reconsider the validity of comic books as an artform and an outlet for important ideas. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Tom Taylor said graphic novels are “the greatest educational tool for reluctant readers” and explauined why his book resonates with young readers.
“This is essentially a book about the climate crisis, but there’s a lot in there about family and issues with parents,” Taylor noted. “I’ve always used my writing to vent or as an outlet for outrage.” These themes resonate with modern children, while building on the world of Peter Pan.