Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: A Baker's Dozen
PBS Engage Features Susan Meddaugh

Cybils: Call for Easy Reader Nominations

CybilslogosmallNominations for the Cybils are pouring in. Many thanks to everyone who has nominated titles and/or helped to spread the word. It is clearly going to be a banner year! The fiction picture books, middle grade fiction, young adult fiction, and fantasy and science fiction categories are all going strong, and the nonfiction categories, while not as prolific, are holding their own.

However (as Gail Gauthier noted this morning), a couple of categories are rather sparse in terms of nominations, and that includes the brand-new Easy Reader category (for which I'll be a judge). Currently there are 14 eligible nominated titles (there are more comments, but some are duplicates, or have been moved to other categories).

Here is what category organizer Anastasia Suen had to say about the Easy Reader Category:

"Easy readers are books with simple words and short sentences for children who are learning how to read. While picture books are read to a child by an adult, easy readers are meant to be read by the child himself. Easy readers are the bridge between picture books and chapter books. (You'll know you've found an easy reader when you see the words "read," "reader," or "reading" on the cover.

Learning to read takes place on a continuum, and the books reflect that. Easy readers range from 8 page books with a single word or a simple phrase on each page to 64 page books divided into chapters. (After children have become fluent readers, they move up to longer chapter books.)

In the Easy Reader category of the Cybils, we are looking for high-interest books with active stories (whether true or imaginary) that are told with simple plot patterns, predictability, and repetition. The art in these books should support the child reading the book by clearly illustrating what is taking place in the story.

Did you find an 8-64 page easy reader book that a child just had to read again and again? Nominate it so we can read it too!"

Using this criteria, Clementine's Letter (while a lovely title) is not an easy reader. It's a middle grade fiction title that falls on the lower end of the 8 to 12 year old reading range. Books that are Easy Readers that I've reviewed and that are on the nomination list include Gail Gauthier's A Girl, A Boy, and Three Robbers, and Tim Egan's Dodsworth in Paris. We also have the latest Putter and Tabby and Maybelle books.

But surely there are other titles. Aren't there? I'm going to reiterate Anastasia's plea: "Did you find an 8-64 page easy reader book that a child just had to read again and again? Nominate it so we can read it too!" I would really love to see this category make a strong showing this year, and I hate to think that there are kid-friendly, parent-friendly easy readers out there that we're missing.

I'll also point out, this notion borrowed from Gail, that if you nominate a book in a category that only had a few nominated titles, your choice is much more likely to be the winner than if you are nominating in a category that already had 90 titles. So, think Easy Readers, Poetry, and Graphic Novels. And head on over to the Cybils blog to nominate your favorites. (It's not a popularity contest, however, so there is no advantage to nominating a book that is already on the list. One nomination per person per category, please.) Nominations close at the end of the day on October 15th.

UPDATED TO ADD this suggestion from Susan of Wizards Wireless: "My advice for anyone not familiar with eligible titles is to head over to and see what titles are mentioned there." You can also see some titles mentioned on Susan's 2009 award predictions post, in the Geisel Awards section.