The best children’s books chosen by bloggers aka The Cybils winners

posted in: Atinuke, Mo Willems | 10

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

Book Apps

The Monster at the End of This Book
by Callaway Digital Arts, Inc
Nominated by: Sheila Ruth

Fiction Picture Books

Me . . . Jane
by Patrick McDonnell
Little, Brown
Nominated by: Kerry Aradhya

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

Easy Readers

I Broke My Trunk! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
by Mo Willems
Nominated by: Becky

Early Chapter Books

Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus!
by Atinuke
Kane/Miller Book Pub
Nominated by: Madigan McGillicuddy


Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto
by Paul B. Janeczko
Candlewick Press
Nominated by: Tricia Stohr-Hunt

Graphic Novels

Zita the Spacegirl
by Ben Hatke
First Second Books
Nominated by: Isaac Z

Fantasy & Science Fiction

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale
by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright; illustrations by Barry Moser
Nominated by: Monica Edinger

Middle Grade Fiction

Nerd Camp
by Elissa Brent Weissman
Nominated by: Jennifer Donovan

Young Adult

Nonfiction Books

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
by Candace Fleming
Schwartz and Wade Books
Nominated by: Monica Edinger

Graphic Novels

Anya's Ghost
by Vera Brosgol
First Second Books
Nominated by: Robin

Fantasy & Science Fiction

Blood Red Road
by Moira Young
Margaret K. McElderry
Nominated by: Leila Roy

 Young Adult Fiction

Stupid Fast
by Geoff Herbach
Sourcebooks Fire
Nominated by: Karen Yingling


I was a second round judge on the Easy Reader and Early Chapter book panel. This mean I got to read:

Aggie Gets Lost (Aggie and Ben)
by Lori Ries
Nominated by: Jeff Barger
Reviewed by: Cath in the Hat | darshana

I Broke My Trunk! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
by Mo Willems
Nominated by: Becky
Reviewed by: Maestra Amanda

Frog and Friends (I Am a Reader)
by Eve Bunting
Sleeping Bear Press
Nominated by: Lois Hume
Reviewed by: Cath in the Hat | Katie_Ahearn

Dodsworth in Rome (The Dodsworth Series)
by Tim Egan
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Nominated by: Sondra Eklund
Reviewed by: Katie_Ahearn | Sherry

Clementine and the Family Meeting
by Sara Pennypacker
Nominated by: Sarah Sammis
Reviewed by: Katie_Ahearn

Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus!
by Atinuke
Kane/Miller Book Pub
Nominated by: Madigan McGillicuddy
Reviewed by: darshana | Zoe

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

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie
by Julie Sternberg
Nominated by: Janelle
Reviewed by: Cath in the Hat | 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.

10 Responses

    • Zoe

      Hi Polly, great idea. A couple of other Mo Willems books have won Cybils in previous years. I don’t know if they are all ok re UK spellings – you might want your husband to check that if that matters to you. But all are witty and appealing to young readers.

  1. Darshana Khiani

    Hi Zoe,
    I am glad to have met you and your blog through the Cybils!

    Interesting, relevant point on the “no American spelling”. Thanks for pointing it out.

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