Children's Literacy Round-Up: September 15
Press Release on Strengthening Inner-City School Libraries in LA

The Cybils Are Coming!

Cybils2010small Read any good children's or young adult books this year? Now is the time to start thinking about which ones you think are the best of the best. Because nominations for the 2010 Cybils open October 1st. The Cybils, of course, are the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards, given each year to books (in a range of categories) that demonstrate both kid-appeal and literary merit.

This is the fifth year of the Cybils awards. I've been involved since year one, sometimes as a category organizer (for young adult fiction and for middle grade/young adult nonfiction), generally as a round 2 judge in one category or another, and currently as Literacy Evangelist (cheerleader/promoter/person who has been an organizer since the beginning and has some context to offer). Although I have very limited time for my blog this year (hello Baby Bookworm), I chose to stay involved with the Cybils because I believe strongly in what the Cybils awards stand for.

First of all, the Cybils are about winnowing through the many books published each year to find a few in each category that are especially well-written and kid-friendly. I've said many times that I believe that one of the most important things that comes out of the Cybils process is the shortlists that are published at the end of round one. The shortlists are lists of five to seven top titles in each category (a couple of the categories are further split by age range, for a total of about a dozen short lists). The shortlists are tremendously valuable, for parents, teachers, librarians, and children's literature fans of all ages.

The other thing that is wonderful about the Cybils is that there are ways for lots of people to contribute. Anyone can nominate titles (one book per category). The people who make the shortlists, and pick the winners in each category, are bloggers who have demonstrated expertise in that area. I think it's a nice mix. And because there are so many categories, lots of people are able to be involved in the process.

What's going on with the Cybils right now is that judging panels are being formed. What I can tell you from my behind-the-scenes viewpoint is that the organizers in the nine categories (ranging from picture books to young adult titles) are making a tremendous effort to assemble well-balanced panels. They are striving for a mix of new and returning panelists, and a range of perspectives and job experiences on each panel. Unfortunately, not everyone who volunteers can get a spot on a panel - one price of success of the awards is that we have more volunteers than we have room for. But I promise you that the organizers are doing their best to include as many people as they can, while making the strongest panels that they can. Panels will be announced starting Monday.

For more about the Cybils, check out:

  • Gina Ruiz's post at AmoXcalli about the Cybils: Year 5, the reflections of a first-year panelist and current organizer. And while you're there, stop and leave a comment to welcome Gina back to blogging at AmoXcalli, after a year-long absence. Gina is the Social Media Guru for the Cybils. She urges: "Follow us on Twitter, fan us on Facebook, support us by buying Cybils swag and sport our bling on your blogs and websites. Most of all get those nominations in and keep reading!"
  • Sherry Early's post about the "unexpected treasure" that she's found through the Cybils at Semicolon, a post that she wrote as part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Sherry was also a first-year panelist for the Cybils. She says: "I don’t know if I’ll be judging for the Cybils this year or not, but I’m so hooked that I’ll be there on October 1 to nominate my favorites, and I’ll be reading as many of the nominated titles as I can find whether I’m judging or not. Cybils is great place to dig for unexpected treasure."
  • For further reading, bios of all of the Cybils organizers are now available on the Cybils blog.

Stay tuned! It's just starting to get interesting.

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