Hard to believe, but nominations for the TENTH annual CYBILS Awards are now open!
Every fall, the CYBILS – an acronym for Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards – begins accepting nominations of books that readers, authors, agents, and publishers feel are the best of the year.
And for the third year in a row, I’m very honored to be one of the judges!
Two years ago, I was a second-round judge in the Poetry category. As such, I worked with a handful of other judges to sort through 7 books that had been pared down from nearly two dozen that the first-round panelists had deliberated. Ultimately, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Forest Has a Song (Clarion, 2013) nabbed the top spot.
Then last year, I returned to my role, and along with the other second-round judges managed to nail down a winner, Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014). This was a tough decision, because it was the first time verse novels were included in the Poetry category – up til then, collections and anthologies had a nearly exclusive lock on the category. This time around, we had three novels from which to choose!
From what I hear, there are even more verse novels this year – which should make the judging even more difficult. It’s my hope that eventually verse novels get their own category because it’s extremely difficult comparing a book of poems for 7- or 8-year-olds like Jon J. Muth’s Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons (Scholastic, 2014) with Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014).
Oh, and the reason I say “from what I hear” is because I will not be involved with the Poetry category in any way this time around…this year, I am a first-round panelist for the Graphic Novel category! As someone who grew up with comic books – and their big, bold graphics – I’m looking forward to expanding my horizons. I’ve read a number of graphic novels but the genre is still fairly new to me, so I’m guessing I was chosen to provide a fresh perspective. I’ve already started reading a couple of nominees and am having a blast.
I will miss being a part of the Poetry category, but didn’t feel it would be appropriate to be a part of it, since I have poems in four different anthologies this year, and any one of them – or all of them! – might be nominated. I trust my poetry friends who will be judging will do an admirable job, though.
So before the nominations close on October 15, please log on the CYBILS website and nominate your favourite children’s books from this past year! From Middle Grade and YA Fiction to Non-Fiction, Picture Books and Book Apps, I’m sure there is a category you’ll want to nominate a book for. And stay tuned for updates, right here!