The finalists are:
- As the Crow Flies, by Melanie Gilman (Iron Circus)
- The Backstagers Volume 1: Rebels Without Applause, by James Tynion IV and Rian Sygh (BOOM! Box)
- Garbage Night, by Jen Lee (Nobrow)
- I Am Alfonso Jones, by Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson and John Jennings (Lee & Low Books)
- It's Treason, by George!, by Steve Hockensmith, Chris Kientz and Lee Nielsen (Smithsonian Books)
- Nightlights, by Lorena Alvarez (Nobrow)
- Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 2: A Recipe for Disaster, by Natalie Reiss (Oni)
- The Tea Dragon Society, by Katie O'Neill (Oni)
- Where's Halmoni?, by Julie Kim (Little Bigfoot)
- Witch Boy, by Molly Knox Ostertag (Graphix)
The judges for the 2018 award are writer and podcaster Ardo Omer (Put a Blurb on It), librarian Alenka Figa; and artist and comic shop employee Shayauna Glover. They have been assisted by Kids Read Comics cofounder and youth and teen librarian Edith Donnell.
Previous recipients of the award include Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson, Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova (see “'Awkward' Wins McDuffie Award for Kids' Comics”), and Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (see “'Ghosts' Wins McDuffie Award for Kids Comics”).
Click on the Gallery for cover images.