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Press Release: Kidlit Bloggers Announce Finalists for Literary Awards

For Immediate Release: Knuffle Bunny is among the finalists for a Cybils, but Harry Potter is not.

The New York Times bestselling Knuffle Bunny Too, by Mo Willems, earned a spot on the short list for fiction picture books at The Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards (Cybils), which began posting its lists of finalists on Jan. 1. But the boy wizard was mysteriously absent from Fantasy and Science Fiction.

The contest, the only one by book bloggers, is now in its second year, and has posted four short lists so far for 2007 titles. Besides Fiction Picture Books and Fantasy/Science Fiction, judges announced finalists for Poetry and Middle Grade fiction.

Jane Yolen's anthology, Here's a Little Poem made the Poetry list, up against last year's winner Joyce Sidman, who returns with a new collection, This is Just to Say, cited by judges for its "emotional impact and poetic virtuosity."

Girls dominated middle grade fiction with such titles as Miss Spitfire and Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree.

The Cybils is set to announce four more lists on Jan. 7, in Graphic Novels, Young Adult fiction, Non-Fiction Picture Books and Non-Fiction for Middle-Grade/Young Adult readers. Those lists were delayed due to some review copies arriving late.

The contest drew more than 570 nominations from the public this fall, up from 490 last year. It also enlisted 90 judges from around the blogosphere including college professors, librarians, authors and teachers, as well as teenagers and parents. About 50 judges participated in this first round, and the remaining judges will now decide the winners, to be announced Feb. 14 at 6 a.m. Central time.

Cybils began last year with kidlit bloggers hoping to steer a middle course between the lofty Newbery Medal and populist Quill Awards.

Bloggers decided to organize, start a group blog (at and honor children's books based both on popularity and literary merit.

But Harry Potter's dominance didn't earn it a berth on the 10-book Fantasy/SF short list. Though it broke all sorts of publishing records, The Deathly Hallows was nudged aside by books such as Catherine Fisher's Incarceron, which isn't available in U.S. bookstores yet, and the humorous Skullduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was one of a handful of books, along with Melissa Marr's Wicked, Lovely and R.L. LaFevers' Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos, that had strong support on the panel but which didn't make the final cut," said Sheila Ruth, who organized the Fantasy & Science Fiction panel. "Hard choices had to be made, and we're excited to introduce readers to what we considered the very best in an amazing selection of science fiction and fantasy."

While several authors are repeating from last year's finals, one author finds himself listed twice this year. Adam Rex is up against Mo Willems for his picture book, Pssst about a girl's misadventure at the zoo, and is also vying for the Fantasy/SF Cybil with his satirical The True Meaning of Smekday.

Find the full lists at