Louisville artist donates illustration award to local library – 89.3 WFPL News Louisville
Louisville artist Danica Novgorodoff chose the West Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library to receive a portion of her award for an international illustration award.
The Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal is a UK-based award that celebrates illustrative work in children’s literature. Novgorodoff won the award for his graphic novel adaptation of Jason Reynolds’ “Long Way Down.”
Reynolds chose Novgorodoff to tell the story of Will, a young black boy trying to get revenge for his brother’s gang violence-related death. The book details how gun violence affected his life.
Novgorodoff said the story attempts to make the reader feel empathy for Will. Pictures, she says, can help.
“I think graphic novels can express emotions and express a character’s inner feelings in ways that words alone can’t always express,” Novgorodoff said. “We live in a world of images.”
She said graphic novels can be a gateway for readers who don’t like reading blocks of text.
“A lot of kids love to read graphic novels, and anything that makes kids love reading is a wonderful thing,” Novgorodoff said.
Novgorodoff’s adaptation is the first graphic novel to win a Kate Greenaway Medal since 1973.
As part of the prize, Novgorodoff was able to choose a library to receive £500, or about $610. She chose the West Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library. She said graphic novels gave many young people greater access to reading, in the same way that libraries provided greater access to information.
“We are really delighted with this donation and are giving back to the community a little more with these funds,” Paul Burns, Director of Communications at LFPL.
Novgorodoff chose the western branch partly for its historical significance.
“It opened in 1905 as one of nine original Carnegie libraries in Louisville. And it was the first library to be served and operated entirely by African Americans,” she said.
Novgorodoff hopes the donation, though small, can help the library continue to give the public access to books and information.
“They might not be able to go to a bookstore and spend $20 on a book, but you can easily access all kinds of literature at libraries,” Novgorodoff said. “That’s why it’s so important to have librarians who are professionals and book experts to find the right book for a certain child.”
This access is a pillar of LFPL’s mission.
“It’s what our library system has been doing for over a century, so it’s very important to us to provide access for everyone,” Burns said. “Whether it’s books, audiobooks, magazines, IT, courses, story times, just about anything you can think of the library has to offer.”
Burns said the library has yet to make any plans for the donation.