Do you know about the Cybils? Since 2006, this annual award program has been hosted and staffed by bloggers who select the best children's and young adult titles. The goal is not only to reward the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and "kid appeal," but also to expand the sense of community among children's and young adult book bloggers.
I must confess, that one of my favorite parts of fall is the start of the Cybils process. In August, bloggers of all stripes - parents, educators, authors, librarians - threw their name into the hat to be on one of this year's judging teams. In a nutshell, for each of ten genres (we call them categories) there are two panels.
- The first panel (5 to 7 bloggers) read the nominated books and whittle them down to five (5!) finalists.
- The second panel (5 bloggers) read the finalists and then select the winner.
All through September, you can learn about each of the various award categories and and meet the Category Chairs. Here's a quick rundown of that list. Detailed genre descriptions and bios will be posted until the end of the month, when the nominations open.
Book Apps - Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books
Fantasy & Science Fiction (Elementary/Middle and YA subcats) - Sheila Ruth, Wands and Worlds
Fiction Picture Books - Pamela Coughlan, MotherReader and KidLitosphere Central
Graphic Novels - Liz Jones, Liz Jone Books
Middle Grade Fiction - Karen Yingling, Ms. Yingling Reads
Nonfiction Picture Books - Jennifer Wharton, Jean Little Library
Nonfiction Middle Grade & Young Adult - Gina Ruiz, AmoXcalli
Poetry - Jone MacCullough, Check It Out and Deo Writer
Young Adult Fiction - Jackie Parker, Interactive Reader
Easy Reader / Short (Illustrated) Chapter Book - Yours Truly, Family Bookshelf
This will be my fifth year as a Cybils participant. I started out as a first-round panelist for the inaugural year of the Easy Reader category. Since 2008, the category has been more inclusive and is now known as Easy Readers / Short (Illustrated) Chapter Books. Last year I took over as the Chair for the panel, moderating both Round 1 and Round 2, and I'm all set to do that again this year.
But this post isn't about me. It is about being part of a community of readers who love to talk about their favorite books of the past year and want to make sure other readers know about it. I hope you'll consider joining the conversation about children's and young adult books.
At 12:01 am (Pacific) on October 1, 2012, the nomination process opens; they close October 15, 2012. During these two weeks you are invited to nominate a book in one or all categories .... but only one. That means you can't nominate two books in a category; and it also means that if someone beat you to the nomination, you'll need to pick another. Check the website for more information about which books qualify.
When the nominations close the work of the panels begins ... and you have ready-made, genre-specific lists of books that have been recommended by peers (parents, educators, librarians, et al) who have read them with their kids and loved them just as much as you loved your nominee.
How sweet is that?