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Children's Literacy and Reading News Round-Up: February 15

The Cybils Winners Are Here!

Cybils2009-150px Around the corner of the Internet known as the Kidlitosphere, February 14th is a double holiday. It's Valentine's Day, of course, that annual celebration of love and chocolate. But February 14th is also the day that the Cybils winners are announced. The Cybils are an annual celebration of children's and young adult literature that is both well-written and kid-friendly.

This year, there are twelve winning titles, in categories ranging from easy readers to poetry to middle grade graphic novels to young adult fiction. You can find the complete list of winners, with descriptions, at the Cybils blog.

I was on the second round judging committee for middle grade fantasy and science fiction this year. From this shortlist: 

11 Birthdays
by Wendy Mass
Scholastic
Nominated by: Maggi Idzikowski

Dreamdark: Silksinger (Faeries of Dreamdark)
by Laini Taylor
Putnam Juvenile
Nominated by: Melissa

Farwalker's Quest, The
by Joni Sensel
Bloomsbury USA
Nominated by: Joan Stradling

Odd and the Frost Giants
by Neil Gaiman
HarperCollins
Nominated by: Susan the Librarian Pirate

Prince of Fenway Park, The
by Julianna Baggott
HarperCollins
Nominated by: Doret

Serial Garden, The: The Complete Armitage Family Stories (Junior Library Guild Selection)
by Joan Aiken
Big Mouth House
Nominated by: Charlotte

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin
Little, Brown
Nominated by: EM

We selected:

Silkinger cover final Silksinger! You can read my review (written well before the judging period). Or you can read Laini Taylor's response to having her book selected. Here's the blurb that my fellow judges and I put together about the book:

"The judges were blown away by the three-dimensional world-building, believable characterization, lyrical writing and non-stop adventure of this complex fantasy. Silksinger picks up where Blackbringer left off, as fairy champion Magpie fights to find the sleeping Djinn and restore them to their rightful places of power. We meet two new fairy heroes along the way, each with secrets of his or her own. Themes of friendship and betrayal are explored in a way that doesn't shy away from ambiguity or nastiness, while retaining strong appeal for middle grade readers. Although it is a sequel, Silksinger is satisfying on its own -- but why wouldn't you want to start with the first book in this compelling series?"

Many thanks to my fellow judges:

Tarie Sabido, Into the Wardrobe
Emily Mitchell, emilyreads
Melissa Baldwin, One Librarian's Book Reviews
Sam Musher, Parenthetical

They were a pleasure to work with, thoughtful and responsive and passionate about finding just the right mix of beautiful writing and page-turning story. We think that you'll find Silksinger a winner. Thanks also to category organizer Sheila Ruth for keeping us on track.

I hope that you'll all consider reading Silksinger, as well as the other Cybils winners. A lot of people put a lot of thought into selecting this set of wonderful titles. While we of course support libraries and independent booksellers, we are also hoping that enough people purchase the winning books from Amazon that we see a blip in the sales numbers for the winners. We find this a nice, tangible way to say, to publishers and authors, that the Cybils make a difference.

And remember, you can find a printable list of all of the shortlist titles in the upper right-hand corner of the Cybils blog.

Congratulations to all of the Cybils winners! And Happy Valentine's Day! 

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