I am thrilled to be a second round judge for the Cybils – in the Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction category. This will be my third year judging this category and I can’t wait to see what the first round judges come up with as a shortlist!
In case you’re not familiar with the Cybils, it is a set of literary awards made by children and teen lit book bloggers. Unlike the more famous Newbery medal, the Cybils looks at both literary merit and reader appeal which, in my judgely opinion, makes it far more useful for librarians and parents looking for books for kids.
As well as my category, there are awards for fiction, nonfiction and speculative fiction for YA books, as well as middle grade books, and ones for poetry, graphic novels, easy reader/early chapter books and book apps. The awards have two rounds – in the first one, a panel of judges sifts through the numerous books nominated by book bloggers all over the country. They end up with a shortlist of seven books that go to the round two judges for more intense appraisal. The winners are announced around the middle of February.
I’ve found the past winners and shortlists really helpful when I’ve been looking for books to recommend as there are always titles I’ve never even heard of. And in my two previous stints as a second round judge, the shortlists were a terrifically well-balanced list of different types of fantasy and science fiction, with a good age spread.
So, hurrah for the Cybils and I’ll be getting ready to nominate my favorite books, starting on October 1.