2010 Comics for Kids Award Winner – Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vols.1-2 by Svetlana Chmakova

The Comics for Kids Award is sponsored by Guelph, ON comic shop The Dragon, which is owned by Jennifer Stewart. Jennifer presented the award at the Joe Shuster Awards ceremony in Toronto on June 5, 2010.

Jennifer is also a teacher of Latin and Drama at the Linden School in the heart of Toronto.  Underwhelmed by decades of the market exclaiming that “Comics aren’t just for Kids”, Jennifer decided to push back and reaffirm that ‘Comics are for Kids’ by creating and sponsoring this award.  At her school and at her store, working with the Word On The Street festival, assisting libraries and schools in selecting age appropriate reading through her Comics In The Classroom program, and presenting papers on comics such as: ‘the role of Mythology in the formation of the superhero’ and ‘the role of Women in Comics’, Jennifer works to promote reading and a love of comics to a new generation of readers.

This year Jennifer worked with a group of teachers and librarians who utilize comic books in their classrooms, so they could apply their hands on experience, and expertise, to this award.

The “Comics for Kids” Award recognizes the works which capture the attention and fascination of young readers, and help to create a passion for life-long reading. Works considered for this award are comic books and graphic novels by Canadian creators that are targetted at readers 14 and under.

Jennifer Stewart:

Someday I hope to actually have a nomination that’s in Latin, so I can actually use my Latin teaching for this award! But, I am very happy to be here to present this award again.

I feel that this is a hugely important area of the comic industry, and I look forward to seeing more and more retailers embracing the kids’ comics market.  There are a lot of publishers out there – not necessarily distributing their product through Diamond – that publish amazing books for kids. I hope that more and more of them begin to get recognition for their efforts.

The winner of the 2010 Comics for Kids Award is Nightschool: The Weirn Books, Volumes 1 and 2, by Svetlana Chmakova (published by Yen Press)

These books, the first two of a series, were chosen by the jury not only for their lavish and engaging art but also for their positive storylines — focusing on loyalty, family and the courage of its female protagonist.

The jury also felt that these books successfully combine all the elements necessary to capture the imagination of a reluctant reader. It’s the kind of book that you can give to a student, or a child and they would be instantly engaged and drawn into that story, and thus foster a lifelong love of reading.

Congratulations Svetlana!

Jennifer Stewart presents the "Comics for Kids" Award

NIGHTSCHOOL by Svetlana Chmakova

One of the Original Global Manga offerings in Yen Plus, Night School is an urban fantasy about a night-time school for witches, werewolves, vampires and other creatures of the night. It can be loosely described as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Harry Potter and it is a story Svetlana has been dying to write since high school. The main characters in the book are ‘weirns’, a special type of witch who are born with demon guardian spirits bound to them.

Nightschool answers the age-old question—Where do demons get their diplomas? Schools may close for the night and the lights may be off, but class is still in session. At the Nightschool, werewolves, vampires, and witches gather to learn everything from spell casting to calculus. Alex, a young weirn has always been home-schooled, but dark forces seem to be drawing her closer to the Nightschool and the mysteries within.

Svetlana Chmakova was born and raised Russian, and came to Canada at the tender age of 16. She finished high school here, then graduated Sheridan College with a three-year Classical Animation Diploma and is currently a freelance artist, as well as a fledgling North-American equivalent of a manga-ka. She has been in a love-hate relationship with comics and manga for several years now because she is too weak to break it off. Svetlana has drawn for how-to-draw-manga books, RPG manuals, toy designs, animation, book covers and a bunch of online comics.  Her previous series, Dramacon, was published by Tokyopop.


by Svetlana Chmakova

April 2009 | ISBN: 978-0-7595-2859-8 | $10.99 ($11.99) | 192 pages | 5.75”x 8.25″ | Teen

Schools may lock up for the night, but class is in session for an entirely different set of students. In the Nightschool, vampires, werewolves, and weirns (a particular breed of witches) learn the fundamentals of everything from calculus to spell casting. Alex is a young weirn whose education has always been handled through homeschooling, but circumstances seem to be drawing her closer to the Nightschool. Will Alex manage to weather the dark forces gathering?


by Svetlana Chmakova

October 2009 | ISBN: 978-0-7595-2860-4 | $10.99 ($12.99) | 192 pages | 5.75”x 8.25″ | Teen

When Alex’s sister, Sarah, vanishes and all memory and evidence of her existence is erased, Alex is determined to get to the bottom of her sister’s disappearance. What better place to start her investigations than the Nightschool itself? But when she discovers that sneaking into the Nightschool isn’t as simple as it might seem, Alex enrolls as a student. But is she prepared for what she might find?