Although things may have appeared all cool, calm and collected on the blog front this last month (ha!), I’ve been feverishly beavering away behind the scenes acting as a judge for The Cybils. The Cybils awards are given each year by bloggers, for the year’s best children’s and young adult titles published in the US.
Yesterday the winners were announced! Three hearty cheers for the following books which won in their respective categories:
Elementary & Middle Grade
Fiction Picture Books
Nonfiction Picture Books
I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat: History's Strangest Cures
by Carlyn Beccia
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Nominated by: Mary McKenna Siddals
Early Chapter Books
Fantasy & Science Fiction
Middle Grade Fiction
Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
by Candace Fleming
Schwartz and Wade Books
Nominated by: Monica Edinger
Fantasy & Science Fiction
Young Adult Fiction
I was a second round judge on the Easy Reader and Early Chapter book panel. This mean I got to read:
Just Grace and the Double Surprise (The Just Grace Series)
by Charise Mericle Harper
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Nominated by: Danielle Smith
Reviewed by: Katie_Ahearn | The1stdaughter
The Trouble with Chickens: A J.J. Tully Mystery (J.J. Tully Mysteries)
by Doreen Cronin
Balzer + Bray
Nominated by: Amanda Snow
Reviewed by: Katie_Ahearn | Maestra Amanda
I consider myself very lucky to have been a Cybils judge. I got to read some brilliant books and discuss them passionately with my fellow judges Ashley Barrineau (YA Library in Training), Katie Davis (Katie Davis), Amanda Furman (Maestra Amanda’s Bookshelf), and Stacey Loscalzo (Stacey Loscalzo). Terry Doherty, the Executive Director of The Reading Tub, was our chairperson, and she did marvellous job of allowing conversations to develop but stepping in at just the right moment when we needed her. It was really rewarding and enjoyable to talk in detail about books with such a knowledgeable, thoughtful team. Yep, it was quite some work, but I can wholeheartedly recommend being a judge to anyone. I’ll definitely be putting my hat in the ring once more when the next call for judges goes out in the Autumn.
I’m utterly delighted that Atinuke’s Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus won in the Early Chapter Book category. I reviewed it here, and interviewed Atinuke here and here (all before I knew the winning book had been shortlisted for a Cybils award).
I Broke My Trunk by Mo Willems, the winner in the Easy Reader category, was a revelation. Having spent the last year reading Easy Readers sent home from school with M, I had no idea that books aimed at the very first readers could be so funny and SO enjoyable to read.
Willems has a bit of a habit of winning in this category – a sign that he really has a knack for writing pithy tales, pitch perfect for his young audience. They are illustrated with perceptive and yet deceptively simple images, leaving pages uncluttered and yet inviting. If you’ve a kid who’s only just started reading, I highly recommend this book. Being aware of my international audience it my be useful to point out that there were no American-only spellings in this book (a possible worry for learners and their parents if they’re learning British English).
Congratulations once more to all the winners, and to Anne Levy, the Cybils overlord (her words!). It’s been a huge honour to be part of the awards this year.