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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Children’s Book Lovers Had a Lot to Love this Valentine's Day

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 account.

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

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