New York, NY — Once again, in 2019, the New York City Big Book Award achieved worldwide participation. Entries remained impressive. Book submissions streamed in from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. Cities across the globe such as Bangkok, Cape Town, London, Los Angeles, Nagaski and New York were represented in the 2019 entries. Winners were recognized globally from Australia, Cambodia, Canada, England and the United States of America. The competition is judged by experts from different aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters. Selected New York City Big Book Award Winners and Distinguished Favorites are based on overall excellence.
“We are proud to announce the diversity of the 2019 Winners and Distinguished Favorites in our annual New York City Big Book Award,” said awards sponsor Gabrielle Olczak. Included are New York Times bestseller author Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians: Alice’s Story,” a graphic novel, to the independent publisher Fig Tree Books’ “A River Could be a Tree,” a memoir by Angela Himsel. Categories featured a wide variety of subjects. “Ephphatha,” a nonfiction account of a deaf boy’s rise to Ivy League basketball; to a young adult fiction title “The Adventures of Jules Khan,” a story about a Muslim superhero were amongst the 2019 New York City Big Book Award Winner and Distinguished Favorite respectively. Excellent books exist globally, regardless of where the author resides or the culture. “We are happy to highlight these books, recognize their excellence, and share their achievements.” said Olczak. Source
The Adventures of Jules Khan: A Teenage Muslim Superhero by Karim K Devji is an action-filled young adult fantasy with a strong spiritual thread which crosses all faiths. Set in the World War II era, it describes the coming-of-age of a superhero with fantastical powers while the theme of respecting people, regardless of religion, nationality, or culture, is emphasized throughout. Born in Europe of mixed religious and ethnic heritage, Jules is sent to a secret boarding school in Africa at the age of thirteen to learn martial arts along with spiritual and intellectual studies to prepare him to become the protector of a book that holds the secret to world peace. At eighteen, Jules heads to Harvard and is immediately pursued from one country to another by the warmongering National Weapons Association that wants the book.
In The Adventures of Jules Khan, Devji gives us a teenage superhero for our times; a spunky and faith-filled young man who is a proponent of world peace through understanding what unites us. Although Jules is a Muslim superhero, the story is engaging for teens of any faith and Devji is respectful of all traditions. Prayer and meditation are as much Jules’ weapons against evil as the impressive superpowers he possesses. There are a series of violent encounters in the story, but Jules is always a defendant, not an initiator of it. The narrative is descriptive and moves along at a good pace. The story is told in Jules’ own words and laced with his charming sense of humor. My favorite scene is when he initially gains his powers. It’s pure fantasy and utterly beautiful in construction. An entertaining and thought-provoking read. I hope we see more of Jules and more from Devji.