Friday, August 25, 2023

Cybils 2023: Call for Judges


It's time for the 2023 Cybils!!! I am honored to be the Poetry Category Chair once again. 

The official Call for Judges has been announced and you have until Friday, September 8  to apply to be a panelist or judge. Read the Call for Judges here. Anyone who reads and reviews children's and young adult books via a social media platform (a blog, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, GoodReads, TikTok, etc.) is eligible to apply. If you can't volunteer to be a judge, help spread the word about Cybils on social media and nominate your favorite books. Nominations open to the public on October 1.

I've served as a panelist 7 times...5 times in Poetry and 2 times in Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction. It's a fun process. You get to read lots of great books and discuss them with like minded people. I'm not going to lie: It's also a lot of work, but so rewarding. The beauty of Cybils is that nominations come from the public and the judges are a mix of teachers, librarians, parents, and book bloggers. I like the emphasis that is placed on kid appeal. Often I read major award winning books and I wonder about the amount of kid appeal (or lack thereof) that they have.

I'm going to list all the categories below, but forgive me for recommending my own category. Poetry is fun to read and discuss. It also usually has fewer nominations than the other categories. In 2022, Poetry had 60 nominations. 

Cybils Awards Categories
  • Fiction Picture Books & Board Books 
  • Easy Reader & Early Chapter Books
  • Elementary/Middle Nonfiction 
  • Middle Grade Fiction 
  • Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction 
  • Graphic Novels 
  • High School Nonfiction 
  • Poetry (Poetry Collections & Novels in Verse)
  • Young Adult Speculative Fiction 
  • Young Adult Fiction 

Find Cybils on Social Media

Friday, June 23, 2023

Kitty by Rebecca Jordan-Glum

Granny's cat sitting and due to misplaced glasses which leads to a case of mistaken identity, she spends the whole time taking care of a raccoon and trying to keep "kitty" out of trouuble. 

Thoughts: Hilarious! I love that the start of the problem was misplaced glasses. It's also hilarious that Granny never realized the kitty she was caring for was actually a racoon. The illustrations are colorful with a darker hued color scheme and almost no lines. Would pair well with Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin or Peanut by Lisa Alsenas. 

Themes: Raccoons, Cats, Pets

 (Roaring Brook Press, 2022.)

Monday, June 19, 2023

I'm Hungry! ¡Tengo Hambre! by Angela Dominguez

A red dinosaur is hungry and a blue bird tries to help. He offers the dinosaur everything he can think of, but the dinosaur isn't interested. He doesn't even want pizza? Will the bird ever be able to help the hungry dinosaur? 

Thoughts: Too fun! I would love to find a Spanish speaking volunteer to help me with a bilingual storytime using Angela Dominguez's books. They are all so fun. I love the back and forth dialogue and the simple, colorful illustrations. The bird's outrage when he realizes what the dinosaur wants to eat is hilarious. 

Themes: Dinosaurs, Birds, Bilingual 

(Henry Holt and Company, 2022.)

Friday, June 16, 2023

There's a Lion in the Forest! by Mônica Carnesi

Toucan hears a "deep, growly growl." He's convinced there's a lion in the forest. But that can't be. They're in South America. There aren't any lions in South America...or are there? 

Thoughts: So fun! I love the progression of the story and the final reveal of the lion. The illustrations are colorful with a mixture of styles and excellent use of white space. The back matter (The Animals of the Atlantic Forest of South America) offers readers more information about the animals. I can't wait to use this book in storytime. The possibilities are endless. Pair with Oh, No by Candace Fleming, Fear the Bunny by Richard T. Morris, or Chris Haughton

Other Books by Mônica Carnesi

  • Sleepover with Beatrice and Bear 
  • Little Dog Lost 

Themes: Jungle Animals; South America; Lions; Lions and Tigers; Lions, Tigers, and Bears

(Nancy Paulsen Books, 2022.)

Monday, June 12, 2023

Solitary Animals: Introverts of the Wild by Joshua David Stein

Everyone talks about animal groups, but what about those animals who prefer their own company? 

Thoughts: Solitary Animals is a visually stunning book. I like the juxtaposition of animal groups with the solitary animals. The digitally created illustrations are bright and bold. There's one page in the back with more information about solitary animals. No sources are cited. I think I would like to have that especially if kids want to know even more. 

Themes: Animals 

(Illustrated by Dominique Ramsey. Rise, 2021.)

Friday, June 9, 2023

A Dress with Pockets by Lily Murray

Aunt Augusta takes Lucy dress shopping for her birthday. The store has every kind of dress imaginable. but Lucy's looking for something different--a dress with pockets! 

Thoughts: There's so much to love about A Dress with Pockets! Lucy, her aunt, and two of the store employees are BIPOC. The simple fact that Lucy wants a dress with pockets for so many different reasons. (Did you know you can even get night gowns with pockets now? I'm not sure why.) The digitally rendered illustrations are charming. I especially like all the dresses and the scenes where Lucy is explaining why she needs a dress with pockets. I can't wait to use this book in storytime. Visit the publisher's website here for activity sheets. 

Themes: Clothes, Dresses 

(Illustrated by Jenny Løvlie. Peachtree, 2022.)

Monday, June 5, 2023

Line Up! Animals in Remarkable Rows by Susan Stockdale

Kids are often asked to line up. Did you know that some animals in nature also line up? Their reasons are a little different. They're not headed to the cafeteria for lunch, but they line up all the same. 

Thoughts: Susan Stockdale remains one of my favorite authors of nonfiction for the youngest children. Line Up! did not disappoint. I think it's genius to start with a concept children are familiar with (lining up) and then proceed to explore animals in their natural habitats through that lens. I know I learned something from reading the book. The illustrations are colorful and appealing. I love how the style varies some from animal to animal. My favorite are the arctic wolves and the fairywrens. The endpapers are also very interesting with lines of the animals in outlined white on a colored background. The back matter provides readers with more information about all the featured animals (type of animal, location, and why they line up). Visit the publisher's website here for activity sheets and a teacher's guide. 

Don't miss these other books by Susan Stockdale! (Links are to my reviews.) 

Themes: Animals, Lines 

(Peachtree, 2023.)