Posted in awards, Cybils

It’s that time of year again… The CYBILS are back!

Yup, it’s that time of year again, my friends… get your nominations in order, because the CYBILS (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers) are gearing up to start taking nominations again. Have a bunch of books but can only nominate one per category? Add your choices to the CYBILS Padlet, to help other folx out if they’re stuck on a category.

The CYBILS have been great to me over the last several years. I discovered the site when I was still in library school, and it was an exciting chance to get involved with an awards committee. Over the years, I’ve been a Round One judge (READ ALL THE BOOKS!) and a Round Two judge (read the finalists, vote on the winner) for Middle Grade Speculative Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, and now, Graphic Novels. It helps keep my Readers Advisory skills sharp, keeps my Collection Development radar strong, and I meet all sorts of fun new friends who l get to talk books with.

All that said, here are the panelists and judges and the categories for this year. Look through your GoodReads and reading journals, get your nominations ready, and visit the Padlet to contribute your suggestions!

YA Speculative Fiction

YA Fiction

High School Nonfiction

Graphic Novels (one category; we will choose finalists for YA, Elementary, and Middle Grade)

Poetry

Middle Grade Fiction

Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction

Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction

Easy Reader/Early Chapter Books

Fiction Picture Books

 

Give some love to the panelists and judges, follow them on social media, and cheer us on as we get ready to read!

 

Posted in Graphic Novels, Middle Grade, Teen, Tween Reads, Young Adult/New Adult

A CYBILS graphic novel rundown

I know, being on the CYBILS first round, I can’t give TOO much away about graphic novels I’m reading, but I did have these on my TBR before I was nominated to judge, so… I’ll just talk them up a wee bit. To whet your appetite for what’s coming.

Softies: Stuff That Happens After the World Blows Up, by Kyle Smeallie, (Oct. 2020, Iron Circus Comics), $15, ISBN: 9781945820489

Ages 10-14

This is sort of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, with a dose of stuffed animals tossed in for good measure. Earth blows up: kablooey, just like that. But there’s a survivor! Kay, a thirteen-year-old girl, is floating around in space when she’s rescued by Arizona, an alien space-junk collector, and his cybernetic pet Euclid. Arizona looks like a cuddly pink space stuffie that you’d find on the shelves in Target, and Euclid would definitely have his own action figure. There are laughs to be had, especially when Kay explains where she’s from, time and again, to blank faces – we’re not that well-known in the universe after all – and the levels of bureacracy that pop up time and again, as the new friends make their way through space. Softies is comprised of short stories, put together into one volume. The artwork is cartoony and very kid-friendly; the material is probably better suited for higher middle grade to middle school. There are some chuckleworthy moments and some sweet moments as Arizona and Kay try to figure things out together in this new relationship they’re forging. The storytelling has some lags, but overall, kids will get a kick out of it. Good to have for those tough-to-pin-down middle school collections.

 

The Magic Fish, by Trung Le Nguyen, (Oct. 2020 Random House Graphic), $23.99, ISBN: 9780593125298

Ages 12+

Told in parallel narratives between fairy tales and real life, The Magic Fish is the story of Tiến, a Vietnamese teen who loves his family but lives with a secret that he fears will change things. He’s gay, and doesn’t quite know how to come out to them. He shares stories with his parents, particularly his mother, and we can see the story within the story here: each is about suffering, and eventually, rising above difficult circumstances, which mirrors not only Tiến’s life, but his mother’s escape from Vietnam to America and her longing to be with her mother. The artwork itself is breathtaking; the fairy tale scenes are incredible, dreamlike; Tiến’s reality is realistically drawn with fleshed-out characters and expressive body language. Sensitive, beautifully drawn, and perfect for teen collections. The Magic Fish has starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus, and is an Indie Next pick.

Witches of Brooklyn, by Sophie Escabasse, (Sept. 2020, Random House Graphic), $12.99, ISBN: 9780593119273
Ages 8-12
I LOVED this magical story! Effie is a kid whose mom has passed away, and she’s brought to Brooklyn to live with her aunt, Selimene; a woman she’s never met before. Selimene and her partner, Carlota, are two “herbalists” who just seem plain weird to Effie, until she discovers that the two women are… shhhh… witches. Good witches, to be sure, but witches! And shortly after arriving, Effie discovers her hands start glowing and that she’s a witch, too! Could this day get better? You bet – she makes two great friends in school, and when she arrives home, discovers that her favorite pop star, Tily Shoo, is in her house in need of Selimene and Carlota’s help. Everything is fun about Witches of Brooklyn, which also has wonderful storytelling and statements about family. Great artwork, great character development and storytelling, and  – let’s hope – more to come. Give this to your Lumberjanes readers and while you’re at it, hand them a copy of Emma Steinkellner’s graphic novel, The Okay Witch.
Swamp Thing: Twin Branches, by Maggie Stiefvater/Illustrated by Morgan Beem, (Oct. 2020, DC Comics), $16.99, ISBN: 9781401293239
Ages 12+
Twin brothers Alec and Walker Holland are sent off to spend their last summer before college with their rural cousins after catching their father having an affair. Alec, the studious one, buries himself in a lab where he continues working on a project that takes everything in him – a bit literally – to keep going, while Walker hits the social scene. The two brothers find themselves diverging this summer, with tensions and memories forcing their way between the two. And the swamp… well, that’s just waiting for someone, isn’t it? Maggie Stiefvater is an amazing YA writer, and Morgan Beem has a nice list of comics illustration to her credit. She creates an eerie atmosphere with her green and murky artwork, giving Maggie Stiefvater’s creepy storytelling a wonderfully oogie vibe. I’ll be honest, the story dipped for me a few times when Alec gets caught up in his botany discussions, but the overall storytelling is strong and macabre; very American Gothic.
Posted in awards, Cybils, Graphic Novels

Cybils Check-In: Graphic Novels

Yesterday was the closing date for the 2020 Cybils nominees: did you get your picks in? So now, the reading begins. Actually, the reading’s been going on; I’m a first-round judge in Graphic Novels this year, so my Holds list runneth over with all sorts of great nominees.

This year, because of… well, 2020 being 2020, Graphic Novels is collapsed into one category, and we’re reading both YA and Middle Grade graphic novels, which fits perfectly in my wheelhouse. I’m thrilled with the graphic novel storytelling happening these days; there are great autobiographical stories, like Robin Ha’s Almost American Girl, and great realistic fiction, like Nat Enough. Fun fantasy stories, like Dungeon Critters, and all the superheroes you can imagine, thanks to DC’s middle grade and YA original graphic novels. I’m proud of this medium and what it’s accomplished: there’s a lot of respect for the power of sequential storytelling now, and being part of the Cybils Graphic Novels panel means so much.

No spoilers here – I won’t be writing about the novels we’re discussing, but full disclosure, several novels were on my review list before they were Cybils nominees. I’ll review those as I normally would, mention that they are a Cybils nominee, and that’s it.

 

I’ve got a stack of books to get to, so I’ll close here for now. More to come!

Posted in Uncategorized

The CYBILS Judges Announced!

I’m running a little late on this one, but I wanted to make sure the word was out and about: the CYBILS Judges have been announced, and guess what?

I’m a Round One Graphic Novels Judge!! 

What does that mean? That means over the next few months, I am going to be reading A LOT of graphic novels. Like, a lot. But bring it! I haven’t been a Round One Judge in a few years, and I’ve usually been a Round Two Judge on Speculative fiction so this is exciting and new for me! Let me give some love to my co-judges in Round One; make sure you visit their blogs, too!

Maggi at Books for Squids

Rebecca at Sloth Reads

Cecelia at The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia

Christa at This is a Metaphor

Josephine at Jo the Book Girl

Reshama at Stacking Books

 

Can’t wait to start reading and talking graphic novels with this fine group of folx!

Posted in awards, Cybils

It’s that time… to be a CYBILS judge!

The call has gone out, have you answered? The CYBILS Children and YA Bloggers’ Literary Awards is still happening this year, albeit with some COVID-necessitated changes. If you’ve never been a CYBILS judge before, but enjoy reading and talking about children’s and YA books, I encourage you to throw your name into the hat! We love having passionate readers to judge with us. I’ve been lucky enough to be a judge for several years running, and it is always a pleasure to read the exciting books that first-round judges have selected as finalists. I’ve been a first-round judge in the past, and if you have the ability to be a first-round judge, it is hectic and so much fun!

The deadline to apply is September 7th, and follow this link to find out how you can be a judge. Good luck!

 

Posted in awards, Cybils

The #CYBILS Judges have been announced!

It’s that time of year again: The CYBILS Awards – Children and Young Adult Bloggers – have just announced their judges for the 2019 season, and I’m excited to be on the middle grade Speculative Fiction second round panel! Thanks so much to Charlotte from Charlotte’s Library, Sheila Ruth, and all the wonderful folks at the CYBILS who do this for the love of kidlit.

via GIPHY

Nominations open up on October 1st, so now is the time to start looking through your reading journals and GoodReads lists to see what you read and loved this year. Check the breakdowns of category descriptions and all the judges’ websites at the CYBILS blog.

 

Posted in awards, Cybils

CYBILS 2016 Winners Announced!

The CYBILS winners were announced today! I had a great time being one of the Middle Grade Speculative Fiction second round judges, and I’m super-excited that Shadow Magic, by Joshua Khan, is the winner in that category. Every book was good; it was a solid group of finalists and it was tough to pick one winner.

cybils

Add these books to your TBR;  there are some great books here. I can’t believe, out of all the books I read in a given year, that I’ve only read two of these winners (Shadow Magic and CityBlock) – talk about developing a complex.

Congratulations to all the winners, congratulations to all the finalists, and thank you to the CYBILS fearless leaders that allowed me the opportunity to be part of the panel again this year. Go read books!

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Fiction, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Tween Reads

I’m a CYBILS Judge!

cybils

I can finally talk about it! I’m thrilled to be a CYBILS judge again, returning to the Middle Grade Speculative Fiction category. There have been SO many great books published, and I’ll be diving into the finalists this time around, as a second round judge. Wanna see who’s up for the award? Take a look, and adjust your TBRs accordingly.

grace-lin

When the Sea Turned to Silver, by Grace Lin, (Oct. 2016, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), $18.99, ISBN: 978-0316125925

Inspired by Chinese folklore, this companion to the Newbery Honor Winner, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, is the story of a girl on a mission to save her kidnapped grandmother.

voyage-to-magical-north

The Voyage to Magical North, by Claire Fayers, (July 2016, Henry Holt & Co.), $16.99, ISBN: 978-1627794206

An orphan keeps house for an irritable magician and his equally obnoxious apprentice, and ends up accidentally becoming a pirate.

smallbone

The Evil Wizard Smallbone, by Delia Sherman, (Sept. 2016, Candlewick), $17.99, ISBN: 978-0763688059

A boy runs away from his uncle’s home, discovers a bookstore run by a self-proclaimed Evil Wizard who won’t let him leave, but calls him his apprentice.

shadow-magic

Shadow Magic, by Joshua Khan, (April 2016, Disney-Hyperion), $16.99, ISBN: 978-1484732724

An outlaw’s son is sold into slavery. A girl is the last surviving member of her family, a line of dark sorcerers. Together, they’ll break the rules.

memory-thief

The Memory Thief, by Bryce Moore, (Sept. 2016, Adaptive Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9781945293030

This was published as a Barnes & Noble exclusive in 2016, but is being published in wide release this March.

Twins wander off at a county fair; Benji, the brother, wanders into a tent where he meets an old man who collects memories. He asks to train as a Memory Thief and ends up on an adventure.

goblin-puzzle

The Goblin’s Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called Alice, by Andrew Chilton, (Jan. 2016, Knopf Books for Young Readers), $16.99, ISBN: 978-0553520705

A fantasy adventure filled with dragons, goblins, and puzzles.

firefly-code

The Firefly Code, by Megan Frazer Blakemore, (May 2016, Bloomsbury USA), $16.99, ISBN: 978-1619636361

When a new girl moves to Firefly Lane, a girl and her friends start questioning everything they’ve known.

 

I’ll recap after we select a winner!

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

CYBILS Judges Announced!

The CYBILS judges for the 2016 awards have been announced, and I made the cut! I’ll be a second round judge for the Elementary/Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction category, and I’m thrilled! Go to the CYBILS main page for links to the judges in each category and discover some great blogs.

Your turn is coming! Nominations open on October 1, and we want to know what you think are the best children’s and YA books you’ve read this year! Rules for nominating are here.

cybils

2016 Elementary/Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction Judges: 

First Round

Sherry Early
Semicolon http://www.semicolonblog.com

Kristen Harvey
The Book Monsters thebookmonsters.com

Brandy Painter
Random Musings of a Bibliophile http://randommusingsofabibliophile.blogspot.com/

Charlotte Taylor
Charlotte’s Library http://charlotteslibrary.blogspot.com

Brenda Tjaden
Log Cabin Library http://logcabinlibrary.blogspot.com
Second Round

Mark Buxton
Say What? http://buxfantasy.blogspot.com

Monica Edinger
Educating Alice http://medinger.wordpress.com

Heidi Grange
Geo Librarian http://geolibrarian.blogspot.com

Rosemary Kiladitis
MomReadIt https://momreadit.wordpress.com

Tasha Saecker
Waking Brain Cells wakingbraincells.com