*Doing the happy Cybils dance*

I can finally announce that this year I will be dedicating the months of October, November, and December to the Cybils once again!  I am on my dream panel, the YA fiction round 1 panel, for the first time and I could not be more excited.  My panel is tremendous and I can not wait to work with them. Check out who I am lucky enough to talk YA with!

Round 1

Leila Roy
Bookshelves of Doom
@bkshelvesofdoom

Sarah Gross
The Reading Zone
@thereadingzone

Kellie Tilton
The Re-Shelf
@thereshelf

William Polking
Guys Lit Wire
@Polking

Clementine Bojangles
Early Nerd Special
@clemmybojangles

Kendall Kulper 
Blogging for YA
@Kendall_Kulper

Kirstin Fearnley
Sprite Writes
@spritewrites

Round 2

Maureen Kearney
Confessions of a Bibliovore
@mosylu

Maureen Eichner 
By Singing Light
@elvenjaneite

Adrianne Russell 
The Writer’s Republic
@writersrepublic

Michelle Castleman
The Hungry Readers
@ShelTheProf

Jessica Silverstein
Reading on the F Train
@SilversteinELA

 

We have about two weeks until the nominations open, but I will be preparing in the mean time.  Start thinking about the books you want to nominate so that you can get started on October 1st.  I am looking forward to reading all of the nominated titles!

Why You Should Apply to be a Cybils Judge

The Cybils are awesome.  There’s no better way to say it. I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved as a panelist for the last few years and it’s non-stop fun.  Is it a lot of work?  Hell yeah.  You will be reading, and reading, and reading, and then reading some more.  You will ignore your family and friends because you need to try every book for yourself.  You will reread a lot of books to try and see what your fellow panelists might see in it that you missed the first time around.

The conversations you have with your fellow panelists will be enlightening and you will learn so much.  It’s a frantic few months, but so worth all of the time and energy you will invest into it.  So if you haven’t applied yet, I strongly encourage you to do so.  And soon! The deadline is August 31st.

But you be chosen as a judge if you don’t put in your application!  So get on it.

Classroom Awards

My class this year helped me with my goal of reading the Newbery before it was announced at the ALA Midwinter meeting. They cheered me on, snagged my ARCs after I read them, and helped keep me motivated when my to-be-read pile became overwhelming. On Monday morning they came into the room asking, “Did Emma-Jean win?? Did they announce it? Was it a book you read??” (We read Emma-Jean aloud, and they loved her!). After I shared the winners with them, I also told them I had good news for all of them- one of their favorites had won the Caldecott Medal! Needless to say, everyone who had read “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” was thrilled beyond words. It was a great day!

On Monday, I also had the pleasure of introducing our latest project to them- our very own classroom awards! The students spent our reading workshop time reviewing the list of previous Newbery winners to see which ones they had previously read and enjoyed. As a class, we discussed the books to see if they had any special qualities in common. They had read and average of 6-8 books from the list. Needless to say, they were a bit impressed that I have read 86 of the winning titles/honor books!

We then reviewed the criteria and terms for the Newbery Medal. We read each rule carefully, noting the definitions of the phrases that we were not familiar with. The students were shocked that the rules were so open. They thought that it was much stricter and seemed to think only certain books could even be eligible for the award. It was certainly an eye-opening experience for them.

After reviewing the past winners and learning about the terms for the Newbery Medal, we began to brainstorm criteria for our own classroom award- the Mulbery! The students conferred with one another, sharing criteria as they brainstormed. Other students would then respond to the suggestions. Once we came to a consensus, the rule was added to the chart. After about 15 minutes of debate, we came up with the following criteria:

  • books may be published in any year
  • ARCs are eligible to win
  • books must be published for ages 10-16 (they decided that they tend to read YA novels with a few MG thrown in)
  • authors do not have to be American or maintain American residency
  • fiction books must be at least 100 pgs. to be eligible
  • both fiction and non-fiction books are eligible
  • if necessary, the committee may designate categories, such as “Best Series”, “Best New Author”, etc.
  • each student may nominate up to 3 titles
  • nominations will close at the end of March
  • in order to vote for the awards, you must have read a percentage of the books (TBD) or your vote will be discarded
  • only my students are eligible to cast votes

Criteria may be added at a later date, should the class deem it necessary. However, they seem fairly content with the rules as they stand. We are all very excited about making our own little mark on the world of children’s literature. My students have very strong opinions about what makes a great kid’s book. Who am I to argue with them- they are the experts! They were shocked that some of their favorites, including Darren Shan’s “Cirque du Freak” series, Andrew Clements’ books, and “Tuck Everlasting” are not award-winners. It should be interesting to see what they choose at the end of the year. I will be sure to keep you all updated!

Cybils

It’s Cybils time! Head on over to Cybils.com 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 http://www.cybils.com. 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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