February 14 was a red-letter day for Children’s Book Lovers – The day the Cybils Award winners were announced!
Not everyone is aware of the Cybils
Awards — one of the best awards out there for recommending books to children
and teens. Cybils stands for Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary
Awards. The books are judged by book bloggers, and the process happens in two
phases. On January 1, Finalists were announced in 11 categories. On February 14, one
winner was announced from each category.
The winners are exciting, and
definitely worth reading, but the real power of the Cybils is in the lists.
Here’s why the Cybils are so
fantastic for librarians and other people who recommend children’s books: They’re
chosen for literary quality and
kid appeal. There’s some debate among children’s book lovers whether the most famous
literary awards are actually books children like or if they’re books that
appeal to the award panels. Cybils judges are charged to take kid appeal into
There is something for everyone in
the 11 categories, even book apps! The other categories are Fiction Picture Books, Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books, Poetry, Graphic Novels, and
Non-Fiction, Fiction and Speculative Fiction for both elementary/middle grade
and young adult.
Each list is chosen with variety
and diversity in mind. This partly comes from having a panel of judges, but
those judges do a good job representing their categories well. You’ll normally
find ethnic diversity represented, books with male and female protagonists and books
that simply appeal to a wide variety of readers. For example, the Elementary/Middle
Grade Speculative Fiction finalists usually include variations such as stories
set in a fantasy world, science fiction, animal stories, ghost stories and
paranormal adventures. Each category is much more varied than you might
imagine. The second round judges choose winners from these varied lists.
Celebrate some book love, and check out a Cybils Award winner or finalist!
--Sondra Eklund, City of Fairfax Regional Library