My Newbery Predictions

Tomorrow morning will be very exciting, for reasons besides the (hopefully) impending snow…….it’s Newbery Day! The 2008 Newbery Award will be announced at 7:45am from ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia. I know that thousands of books are published each year and the odds that I will have already read the Newbery are slim to none, but I can hope. I can’t begin to decide which should win the gold and which should be Honor books (or how many honor books there may be this year). Here are my predictions for this year’s awards.

  • Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis (I really, really want this book to win the gold!)
  • Home of the Brave by K.A. Applegate
  • Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
  • Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Schlitz
  • A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

I will be waiting with baited breath tomorrow morning, hoping one of “my” books wins. Of course, the odds are that another book will sweep in, under the cover of night, and take the big prize. (If that is the worst case scenario, it just means I will have another book to add to my pile of must-reads.)   My students are also very excited about tomorrow’s awards. They get to school at 8:10am and I have already promised to let them know the winners as quickly as I can. I signed up to receive the winners via text message from ALA, so I should know very soon after the awards are announced and before the students get to school. We will be spending our reading workshop tomorrow reviewing the terms and criteria for the Newbery along with perusing the list of past winners. We will then use this information to develop criteria for our own class award (to be awarded later in the school year). This way, the award will be a “real” part of their life even if we have not yet read the winner. Should the winner be a short(er) novel, it may just become our next read-aloud!

Cybils Shortlists

Don’t forget!  The Cybils Shortlists for the remaining categories are released tomorrow!  I am on pins and needles to see what makes the list for YA.  What list are you waiting for? 

My Favorite Books of 2007

This year has been a banner one in terms of books I have read. I have always been a voracious reader- my aunt was a 7th grade teacher who started giving me her favorite books when I was in 2nd/3rd grade. I still remember the day she handed me “Speak” (Laurie Halse Anderson) in 6th grade and the effect it had on me. I never really left MG and YA literature behind. As Little Willow stated so perfectly, I still hear the bell. :) I did read less in college, thanks to my abundance of reading of English canon in my English major. Since beginning this blog and joining the kidlitosphere, I feel like I have been reading amazing books. I have read books that I never would have heard of it not for the recommendations from my fellow bloggers. Thanks to them, the quality of books I am reading (and consequently bringing into my classroom) has risen exponentially. When I sat down to write up my “Best of 2007″ list, I was struck by just how many great books I have read. Choosing only a few to highlight was nearly impossible! However, I somehow managed to do it….

My Favorite Middle Grade Books of 2007

Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree: Wow. What a stunning debut novel from Lauren Tarshis. I fell in love with Emma and Colleen, and Tarshis’ accurate portrayal of middle school archetypes. This was one of my read-alouds this year, and both classes really enjoyed it. This is my favorite book of the year.

Cracker: Cynthia Kadohata’s novel about war dogs and young men in the Vietnam War left me in tears. A beautiful book.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: As a huge Harry Potter fan, it was inevitable that this book would be on any list I made for 2007. I fantastic ending to one of the best fantasy series of all time.

The Wednesday Wars: A wonderful historical fiction novel, with a great male protagonist. A definite Newbery contender!

Into the Wild: Sarah Beth Durst’s novel was one of the first blog-recommended books I read this year. A funny, fractured fairy tale of a book that had me laughing out loud in many parts. I am definitely looking forward to the sequel!

Best YA Books of 2007

*note- I read a lot of YA in 2007, but most of it was published pre-2007*

The Book Thief: Life-changing. This novel should be on every high school’s required reading list.

Elsewhere: Gabrielle Zevin’s novel was thought-provoking and fun- what a great combination!

A Great and Terrible Beauty: Libba Bray’s first novel about Gemma Doyle sat on my pile of books for months until I recently read it from cover to cover. Did I mention that I read it in about a day? An amazing book, and I am flying through the second book, “Rebel Angels” as we speak. I love Bray’s writing style, her characterization, and the paranormal historical fiction that she so beautifully combines.

Looking for Alaska: John Green’s Printz Award-winning novel was one of the best books I have ever read. One of the few books I have put down halfway through because I couldn’t bear to find out what happened to the characters. Sadly, I didn’t review this, as I read it before I started TheReadingZone. But WOW.

Well, well well! What an eclectic list! Let me tell you, this was no easy task. And as I type, I am looking over at my very, very large pile of books to be read. Thanks to kidlitosphere recommendations, I know there are a number of potential award-winners in that bunch. I need to get reading!

Cybils Nominations Closed!

Cybils nominations are now closed!  I’m keeping an eye out for the finalized lists of nominees in each category, and I will be sure to post them here when I can.  I am also trying to figure out how to get the Cybils Nominations widget to work here on WordPress.  No luck yet, but I’m trying!  Has anyone else on WordPress had luck posting the widget yet? 

Down to the wire!

Nominations for the Cybils close on Wednesday, November 21st. Be sure to nominate your favorite books of the year before then! Remember, anyone can nominate a book they have read, so don’t be left out.


Fantasy and Science Fiction

Fiction Picture Books

Graphic Novels

Middle Grade Fiction

Nonfiction: Middle Grade and Young Adult

Nonfiction Picture Books


Young Adult Fiction

Be sure to enter your nominations! I love the Cybils….besides giving me a great “to be read list” just by looking at the nominations, I think it is amazing that the kidlitosphere can come together to honor the best books if the year. :)


It’s Cybils time! Head on over to to nominate your favorite children’s or YA book for this great award from the blogosphere!

Here is the official press release:
Here’s the official press-release from co-founder Anne Boles Levy:

Will Harry Potter triumph among critical bloggers? Will novels banned in some school districts find favor online?

With 90 volunteers poised to sift through hundreds of new books, the second annual Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards launches on Oct. 1 at Known as the Cybils, it’s the only literary contest that combines both the spontaneity of the Web with the thoughtful debate of a book club.

The public’s invited to nominate books in eight categories, from picture books up to young adult fiction, so long as the book was first published in 2007 in English (bilingual books are okay too). Once nominations close on Nov. 21, the books go through two rounds of judging, first to select the finalists and then the winners, to be announced on Valentine’s Day 2008.

Judges come from the burgeoning ranks of book bloggers in the cozy corner of the Internet called the kidlitosphere. They represent parents, homeschoolers, authors, illustrators, librarians and teens.

The contest began last year after blogger Kelly Herold expressed dismay that while some literary awards were too snooty – rewarding books kids would seldom read – others were too populist and didn’t acknowledge the breadth and depth of what’s being published today.
“It didn’t have to be brussel sprouts versus gummy bears,” said Anne Boles Levy, who started Cybils with Herold. “There are books that fill both needs, to be fun and profound.”

Last year’s awards prompted more than 480 nominations, and this year’s contest will likely dwarf that. As with last year’s awards, visitors to the Cybils blog can leave their nominations as comments. There is no nomination form, only the blog, to keep in the spirit of the blogosphere that started it all.

See you Oct. 1!

I’ve made my nominations, so head on over to make your voice heard!


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