Last night I attended my fourth Newbery Caldecott Banquet at the American Library Association Annual Conference.
I can tell you all about it... or I can show you.
Did you attend the banquet? Did you hear about it? Do you wish you were there?
Please, please, please leave a comment on this post (even if you've never commented on anything else ever before) and help me document this incredible and historic evening.
Perhaps it is because we are having one more dreary, cold, wet (yes, still snow flurries!) day in Nashville, all I want to do is what Jen has just recommended: cozy up with a good book. And I would add that I'd like to cozy up under a fabulous quilt!
I will use that quilt metaphor in this month's posting. So many of the postings this past month provide great fabrics of ideas and suggestions for developing in young children a love of reading. I will try to sew some of those fabrics into a quilt of connections. Thanks to James Ransome's end pages in Under the Quilt of Night for this quilt that I would choose for wrapping myself.
Immediately upon reading Jen's post, I registered to vote in the contest Ideas for Change in America. I had not heard about this Change.org contest and was delighted to read so many great project ideas. The "Read to Kids" campaign gets my vote, of course. I particularly like what the creators have said in the description:
"By reading aloud with children, we can improve their interest in and attitudes toward reading and improve children's fundamental literacy skills, including reading comprehension, vocabulary, reading ability, listening comprehension, attention span and ability to articulate thoughts. Being read to by an adult also helps build a child's self-esteem and confidence.
A national "Read to Kids" campaign could engage national and local literacy organizations, schools, teachers, parents, authors, publishers and nearly every sector of business and society that understands that our nation's future depends on our children's literacy skills."
I join Jen in encouraging you to vote....and suggest that you send the "Read to Kids" description on to those you know in the business world as well!
Thank you, Pam, for reminding us about Goin' Someplace Special. This ranks very high on my "favorite books of all time" list. Those who share my love of this book should be sure to check out the Reading Rockets website that Gina has led us to. The writing prompts for Goin' Someplace Special are excellent. Even though the February challenge has ended, I plan to store the ideas inside a copy of the book.
NOTE to teachers....be sure to check for the March prompts. One of my former students entered one of her second grader's writing in January and her student was selected for an honorable mention. What a fabulous way to validate the efforts of a young writer!
Susan got us all thinking about how we organize, shelve, and attempt to easily locate our books. As a Mac computer user, I have used a software package called Booxter for several years. The program allows me to use a scanner like they have at the grocery store to record the ISBN codes on the back of each book (you can also manually enter these). All the information I need, including a picture of the cover, immediately pops up and is added to my catalog of books.
Finally, I'll add my own "piece of fabric" to this quilt. It actually brings us back to our many conversations around this year's Caldecott Award winner, The Lion and the Mouse. The website Teaching Books includes a video of Jerry Pinkney as he talks about the creation of the book. He ends the interview by saying that this fable is truly about family and helping others.
Scroll on down the link and check out the suggestions for enriching a reading of Benny and Penny in the Big No-No (this year's Geisel Award winner). The book becomes interactive when you click on the "Play" button.
Let's hope for lots of sunshine and even some days that will make us all want to take our books and young readers outside!
Yesterday was Valentine's Day, a widespread celebration of romance and chocolate. Less well-known, perhaps, is that fact that February 14th is also the day that the winners of the Cybils are announced each year. As I've mentioned previously, the Cybils are a series of book awards given by children's and young adult literature bloggers. The awards are given to the books that panelists feel provide the best balance of literary merit and kid-appeal. This year, there are twelve winning titles, in categories ranging from easy readers to poetry to middle grade graphic novels to young adult fiction. Here are the winners:
Cybils Awards for Children's and Middle Grade Books
Picture Book (Fiction)
Picture Book (Non-Fiction)
Early Chapter Book
Middle Grade Fantasy and Science Fiction
Middle Grade Fiction
Cybils Awards For Young Adult Books
Fantasy & Science Fiction
Young Adult Fiction
You can find additional detail about the winners, including blurbs about each book, at the Cybils blog. You can also find a printable list of all of the shortlist titles (five to seven in each of the above categories) in the upper right-hand corner of the Cybils blog.
I hope that you'll take the opportunity to check out the Cybils winners. These are titles that are guaranteed to be well-written, kid-friendly titles, the cream of the crop from each category. You kids won't be disappointed with these books, and neither will you.
In my posting on January 2, I suggested that we put together a list of the 10 best picture books from the decade that just passed. I said that list would be my posting this month. Since I have already changed my mind about my New Year's resolutions, I have also changed my plan for this posting. BUT I promise to get back to that list very soon.
Given this year's Caldecott Award recipient, The Lion and the Mouse, is an almost-wordless picture book, I want to talk about ways to use such books with children. Parents and teachers may be at a bit of a loss on ways to share these books with children. With the great assortment of wordless picture books available, it would be a shame if children just looked at the pictures with adults telling the story.
Let me first include some of my favorite wordless picture books. David Wiesner's books may well be the leaders of the group. Three of his books have been awarded the Caldecott Award: 2007 for Flotsam, 2002 for The Three Pigs, and 1992 for Tuesday.
Raymond Briggs's The Snowman gave us the first "modern day" wordless picture book. Mitsumasa Anno followed with many beautiful wordless (or almost wordless) picture books, my favorite being All in a Day.
So how might we "read" these books with children? The youngest child will enjoy looking at the illustrations and will likely discuss what he sees. Jerry Pinkney would want us to spend a good bit of time on the end pages! Those endpages caught my eye when I shared them with you last November.
On Monday, January 18th the American Library Association Youth Media Awards were announced. I had made some predictions on the Newbery and Caldecott Medals and NAILED IT! The books I covered did get a shiny gold or silver sticker, and some additional books were named.
For the Newbery Medal, I predicted the winner, When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead and two honor titles, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly. Two additional honor titles were chosen: Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice, by Phillip Hoose and The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, by Rodman Philbrick.
For the Caldecott Medal, I picked that the winner would be The Lion & the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney and also suggested an honor title, All the World, written by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee. One additional honor title was named: Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors, written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Not bad. Many other awards are given, which include the Coretta Scott King, Schneider, and Pura Belpré. Here are the winners of those awards, and I've selected one from each to share more fully.
Recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults
Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award:
Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
CSK Author Honor Book:
Mare’s War, by Tanita S. Davis
Forced on a cross-country road trip with their eccentric grandmother, teen sisters Octavia and Tali discover more about their family history through a series of recollections of Mare's time in the Women's Army Corp. Along the journey, the teens develop a better understanding of their grandmother and themselves. A wonderful, engaging book, the positive and strong characters earned the author a nomination for a NAACP image award.
Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:
My People, illustrated by Charles R. Smith Jr., written by Langston Hughes
CSK Illustrator Honor Book:
The Negro Speaks of Rivers, illustrated by E. B. Lewis, written by Langston Hughes
Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award:
The Rock and the River, by Kekla Magoon
Django, written and illustrated by Bonnie Christensen
Anything but Typical, by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Jason is a sixth-grade boy, who loves creative writing, and has been diagnosed with autism. He is comfortable in his online world, where he can shape his words of fiction and interaction. He is less comfortable among people, where he needs to turn to his lessons on social expectations and body language to interpret the world around him. When the two worlds are scheduled to mix, Jason faces a true conflict of interest and self. An interesting and well-written book, it slipped under the radar in children's literature - probably due to the attention given to the Young Adult book that focused on a character with Asperger's syndrome and its title is...
Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork
Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award:
Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day; Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros, illustrated by Rafael López, written by Pat Mora
It's Children's Day and Book Day and the kids are celebrating by reading their favorite books anywhere and everywhere. The bright lively pictures and joyful, bilingual text are engaging. The festive feeling is infectious. A fun picture book to extol books and reading as a cause of celebration.
Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Books: Gracias Thanks, illustrated by John Parra, written by Pat Mora; My Abuelita, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, written by Tony Johnston and Diego: Bigger Than Life, illustrated by David Diaz, written by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand
Pura Belpré (Author) Award:
Return to Sender, written by Julia Alvarez
Pura Belpré Author Honor Books:
Diego: Bigger Than Life, written by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, illustrated by David Diaz; and Federico García Lorca, written by Georgina Lázaro, illustrated by Enrique S. Moreiro
Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.
Maybe you watched the live webcast of the press conference. Or followed the updates on Twitter. Or read about the results online or in the newspaper. Maybe you saw the interviews with the Caldecott and Newbery medal winners on Tuesday morning's Today Show. Or maybe, you're just finding out about it all now.
What to know more? Here's my in-depth look at some of the highlights from January 18, 2010. Wondering what all these awards are? Take a look at this post.
5 am: Committee members woke up and headed over to the convention center.
6 -7 am: Phone calls were made to the illustrator or author of the books that won or received honors. As I walked through the convention center on my way to the press conference, I could hear the shouts of joy and applause from the press booth as the committees made their phone calls. Check out these photos of Grace Lin recieving her Newbery Honor call.
6:30 am- 7 am: Multitudes of people (including librarians, publishers, editors, writers and me) slog their way through heavy sleet, freezing temperatures and unbelievable wind to get to the press conference.
7 am: A crowd starts started to gather in front of the Grand Ballroom at the Boston Convention Center.
7:30 am: All over the country, booksellers and librarians log into the live webcast. Some are just curious, but others are all business as they try to order the winning books the second they are announced. They're ready to pick up the phone or place an online order for anything they don't already have in stock.
7:35 am: The doors open and the vast, excited, chattering crowd full of anticipation makes its way into the ballroom.
7:40 am: Twitter starts buzzing with comments.
7:45 am: The press conference gets off to a rollicking start as the Alex Awards, the Schneider Family Awards and the Coretta Scott King (CSK) awards are announced. Marcelo in the Real World gets a great audience response as it wins the Schneider Family teen book award. There is thunderous applause as Walter Dean Myers is announced as the first ever winner of the Virginia Hamilton life time achievement award. This is his 12th Coretta Scott King Award. My People, a book that aches to be read aloud, wins the CSK illustrator award and Bad News for Outlaws takes home the CSK author award. Kekla Magoon wins the John Steptoe New Talent Award for The Rock and the River.
8 am: The YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) awards are announced. Jim Murphy becomes the first winner of the Margaret Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award to be honored for non-fiction books! The crowd is delighted. (Check out his books, they're wonderful). The new YALSA non-fiction award goes to Charles and Emma: The Darwin's Leap of Faith. The YA Morris debut award goes to Flash Burnout. Onto the big one, the Printz award for excellence in Young Adult Literature. There's earsplitting applause as Going Bovine wins. Then slowly the realization hits the onlookers that Marcelo in the Real World (one of the predicted favorites) didn't win the Printz award or an honor. The audience starts to talk amongst itself. The booksellers watching from their homes or stores, get on the phone with their sales reps or distributors immediately to make sure they have plenty of copies of Going Bovine.
8:15 am: Onto the ALSC awards. Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken wins the Odyssey Award. The Pura Belpré awards are announced. Book Fiesta! by Pat Mora, the founder of ALSC's Dia de los niños wins the Belpré illustrator award. Julia Alvarez gets the Belpré author award for Return to Sender. A Faraway Island wins the Batchelder. Lois Lowry adds the Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award to her considerable resume.
8:25 am: Random House accidentally posts on Twitter that When You Reach Me has won the Newbery Medal.... 13 minutes before the Newbery is actually announced.
8:30 am: Almost Astronauts takes home the Siebert Medal. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus wins the Carnegie Medal and the crowd is treated to a clip of the irascible pigeon. A few minutes later, Benny and Penny in the Big No-No! becomes the first graphic novel ever to win the Geisel Award. Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie books are shut out of the Geisel (after winning two straight years in a row.) But hey, Mo won the Carnegie, which is his 6th award in the same number of years. I think he'll survive.
8:34 am: Time for the Caldecotts. I'm holding my breath, hoping The Lion and the Mouse doesn't show up as an honor book (which would mean it wouldn't have won the medal). Marla Frazee wins her second Caldecott Honor in two years for the beautiful book All the World. Pamela Zagarenski wins a Caldecott Honor for her wonderful mixed media and computer illustrations in Red Sings from Treetops.
8:35 am: Drumroll as everyone waits to find out the Caldecott winner. And it's The Lion and the Mouse!!! Jerry Pinkney finally won the medal 21 years after his first of five Caldecott honors. There is earth shattering applause as the crowd goes crazy for this stunningly beautiful book and its wonderfully talented creator.
8:36 am: The applause keeps going. A picture appears on the big screen of the The Lion and the Mouse with a Caldecott Medal on its gorgeous cover.
8:37 am: And now it's Newbery time. A surprising number of people in the crowd are follwing Twitter and Facebook during the annoucements via their phones and laptops, so sadly, this is a bit anticlimatic since the winner has already been leaked. Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice wins its third honor of the day (it also was recognized by the Siebert and YALSA non-fiction committees. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, a lovely historical fiction book filled with great characters, wins a Newbery honor. Grace Lin's beautiful and timeless book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon wins one too. The humorous Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg wins a surprise Newbery honor.
8:38 am: When You Reach Me is officially declared the Newbery winner. This book is a bit on the older side (recommended for grades 5-8) and it's a fantastic, wonderful book with a surprise ending. The crowd goes wild as When You Reach Me wins. Rebecca Stead wins the Newbery 47 years after the book it was based on, A Wrinkle in Time won the Newbery.
8:40 am: The crowd in the room grab press releases as they slowly meander their way out. Tons of side conversations start. The crowd at home logs off from the webcast. Exhausted book buyers hang up their phones, turn off their computers and then race around to find every last copy of every book that won an award or honor.
8:45 am: A multitude of reactions to the awards start to get posted on a multitude of blogs. Listserv discussions begin.
9 am: When You Reach Me is # 613 on Amazon's list of bestsellers (this includes all books, not just children's books.)
9:30 am: The award committee members finally get to eat breakfast.
9 pm: When You Reach Me is # 23 on Amazon's list of bestsellers.
9:50 am on Tuesday: Jerry Pinkney and Rebecca Stead are interviewed on the Today Show.
10 am on Tuesday: When You Reach Me is # 4 on Amazon's list of bestsellers.
Wondering why I have exact times such as 8:37 am in this post? I ventured onto Twitter (something I rarely do) and tweeted my reactions while sitting at the press conference.
Curious about how Caldecott and Newbery books (and all the rest) get their shiny stickers? Here's the answer, to the best of my knowledge.
What were you doing between 7:45 - 8:35 am on Monday morning? Were you at the press conference? Did you follow the webcast? What about Twitter or Facebook? Or were you (quite understandably) asleep?
Got opinions about the awards? I'd love to hear them.
We've been talking about children's book awards on Booklights quite a bit lately because award season is in now full swing. Why are we so interested in which books win the awards?
For one thing, the lists of the winners and honor books make excellent reading lists and offer good suggestions for a child looking for the next book to read.
And for another, (particularly in the case of the Caldecott and the Newbery medals) schools and libraries are more likely to buy the books that win the awards. That means they'll be readily available and it's more likely that your children may read them.
Some (not all) of the award winners turn into classics. Where the Wild Things Are won the Caldecott medal and A Wrinkle in Time won the Newbery Medal. The classics aren't always award winners though. Dr. Seuss never won the Caldecott medal, although he did receive three honors. Eric Carle has never won a Caldecott medal or an honor.
A few words of caution before you dive into the award lists, though. It's important to know what the award was actually given for. For an example, let's look at two different awards for picture books. The Randolph Caldecott medal is awarded to the book with the best illustrations. (The Caldecott is actually only given to the illustrator, not the author.) The Charlotte Zolotow award, which Ann wrote about is given to the picture book with the best writing. The Lion and the Mouse, this year's Caldecott favorite, could never have won the Zolotow award. It's a wordless book. But the illustrations are incredible.
Also, make sure to check that the book is appropriate for your child. Not every award winner is for every kid. Take a look at part of the Newbery criteria:
A "contribution to American literature for children" shall be a book for which children are an intended potential audience. The book displays respect for children's understandings, abilities, and appreciations. Children are defined as persons of ages up to and including fourteen, and books for this entire age range are to be considered.
For example, the The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo won the 2004 Newbery medal and is generally recommended to ages nine and up (although some children read it at a younger age.) The 2005 Newbery medalist was Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata which is generally recommended for ages 11-14. These two books both meet the Newbery criteria but they have two very different audiences and are intended for different age groups.
I mentioned the ALA Youth Media Awards in my post last week. The Newbery and Caldecott are the most famous children's book awards given by the American Library Association, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. The press conference where the announcements are made is an hour and a half long and many, many awards are given. It's well worth checking out the lists of past winners and honors of these awards while we wait to find out which books will be getting the awards this year. Below is a list of all the awards that will be announced at the press conference on January 18. The official description of each award is from the the appropriate American Library Association (ALA) division's website.
Awards administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC):
The John Newbery Medal
The Newbery Medal honors the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
The Randolph Caldecott Medal
The Caldecott Medal honors the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
The May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award
The Arbuthnot award honors an author, critic, librarian, historian, or teacher of children's literature, of any country, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site.
The Pura Belpré Medal
The Belpré Medal honors a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose works best portray, affirm, and celebrate the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.
The Mildred L. Batchelder Award
The Batchelder Award is given to an American publisher for a children's book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English and published in the United States.
The Andrew Carnegie Medal
The Carnegie Medal honors the producer of the most outstanding video production for children released during the preceding year.
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal honors the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished contribution to the body of American children's literature known as beginning reader books published in the United States during the preceding year.
The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal
The Sibert Medal honors the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published during the preceding year.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award
The Wilder Medal honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. (This award is only given every other year. Since it was awarded last year, the next winner will be announced in 2011.)
Awards administered by The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA):
Michael L. Printz Award
The Printz Award honors excellence in literature written for young adults.
The Alex Awards
The Alex Awards are given annually to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults.
The Margaret A. Edwards Award
The Edwards Award honors an author and a specific work for significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens.
The William C. Morris YA Debut Award
The Morris Award honors a book written for young adults by a first-time, previously unpublished author. The first award was given in 2009.
YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults
YALSA's newest award honors the best nonfiction book for young adults; the first winner will be named this year.
Jointly administered by ALSC and YALSA:
The Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production
The Odyssey Award is awarded annually to the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States.
Under the auspices of the Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT):
The Coretta Scott King Awards
The Coretta Scott King Awards are given to African American authors and illustrator for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions, the Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream of a pluralistic society.
The John Steptoe New Talent Awards
The John Steptoe New Talent Awards affirm new talent and offer visibility to excellence in writing or illustration at the beginning of a career as a published book creator.
Under the auspices of the American Library Association:
The Schneider Family Book Awards
The Schneider Family Book Awards honors an author or illustrator for the artistic expression of the disability experience for children and teens. The award is given in three categories: birth through grade school, middle school, and teens.
Follow the announcements live on January 18th:
Be sure to tune in on January 18 . You can either watch the live webcast or get updates via Twitter to find out this year's winners. You may be able to hear me screaming on the webcast.... I'll be in the audience at the press conference at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston. Look for a 2010 ALA award post game analysis here on Booklights next week.
First, welcome back to Booklights posting, Susan! Your January 6 posting got many of us looking forward to next Monday when the Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King Awards and others will be announced. Several other important awards have already been announced.....so I want to talk about one of particular interest to Booklights parents.
The thirteenth annual Charlotte Zolotow Award was announced this morning. The award is given annually for outstanding writing in a picture book (published in the United States in the preceding year) for children from birth - age seven.
And the 2010 Charlotte Zolotow Award goes to.....What Can You Do with a Paleta? a beautiful story of a young Mexican-American child's delight with a popsicle on a hot summer day (which may be difficult to imagine after this past cold, cold week). The book is both culturally specific and universal in its theme.
As the judges said, "Author Carmen Tafolla playfully appeals to all of our senses with rich imagery and crisp language. She invites us to think of all the creative things that can be done with a paleta, from painting your tongue purple or giving yourself a blue mustache to making a new friend or learning to make tough decisions. A sprinkling of Spanish words and Magaly Morales' sun-warmed acrylic illustrations add details of life in a vibrant barrio where the daily arrival of the paleta wagon is met with anticipation and celebration."
So parents and teachers, go ahead now and check out this beautiful book and have it ready for a sunny day when your children are ready for popsicles/paletas!
The 2010 Zolotow Award committee named three Honor Books:
Birds, written by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek
Pouch! written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein
Princess Hyacinth: (The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated),
written by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Lane Smith
The 2010 Zolotow Award committee also cited four titles as Highly
Hello Baby! written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Ready for Anything! written and illustrated by Keiko Kasza
Under the Snow, written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by
Constance R. Bergum
Who Will I Be, Lord? written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and illustrated by Sean Qualls
I also want to mention that the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction was also just announced. It went to Matt Phelan for The Storm in the Barn. It is a graphic novel that will be most enjoyed by children ages 9-12.
Happy reading of award-winning books! Ann
On Thursday, Pam focused on three Cybils picture book finalists for her Thursday Three. Today I'd like to talk a bit more about the Cybils finalists in general, and why I think that they're such a great resource for parents, teachers, and librarians.
The Cybils are an annual series of book awards given by children's and young adult book bloggers. Now in their fourth year, the Cybils were started by Anne Boles Levy and Kelly Herold with a dual purpose:
"1. Reward the children's and young adult authors (and illustrators, let's not forget them) whose books combine the highest literary merit and "kid appeal." What's that mean? If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussel sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we're thinking more like organic chicken nuggets. We're yummy and nutritious.
2. Foster a sense of community among bloggers who write about children's and YA literature, highlight our best reviewers (and shamelessly promote their blogs) and provide a forum for the similarly obsessed."
The Cybils award process is quite an undertaking. Each year, children's book fans nominate titles in a variety of categories ranging from picture books to young adult fiction and nonfiction. This year, 939 books were nominated across the different categories. Anyone who likes can nominate titles (one per category).
Once the nominations close, two rounds of judging ensue for each category. The judges are drawn from children's book bloggers, including authors and reviewers, people who immerse themselves year-round in their respective categories. Nearly 140 bloggers are involved in this volunteer-run effort. Many authors and publishers help by providing review copies, though panelists also buy, borrow, and share titles.
In each category, the first team of panelists weeds down the nominated titles to a shortlist of five to seven titles. Then a second panel selects a winner from that shortlist. This year, there are a total of 72 shortlist titles spread across a dozen sub-categories. The winners will be announced on February 14th (and we'll be sure to share the news here at Booklights).
This year, in addition to being the Literacy Evangelist for the Cybils (read: person who jumps up and down and tells people how great the Cybils are), I'm a second round judge for the Middle Grade Fantasy and Science Fiction category. I'm currently reading my way through the seven shortlisted titles. I know from my experience in past years that selecting the best of the best will be a difficult task. That's because, honestly, every title that makes it onto the shortlists is amazing.
And that's why I'm telling you about the Cybils shortlists at Booklights. Where else can you find recommended titles, guaranteed to have both literary quality and kid appeal, helpfully grouped by age range and genre? There are thousands of children's and young adult books published every year. What the Cybils process does is start with those thousands, and then use an open nomination process to narrow down to roughly 1000 nominated titles, and then us a well-thought-out judging process to get the list down further to a few dozen recommendations. And although I'll be taking my round two judging seriously, my personal belief is that the most valuable thing that comes out of the Cybils are these shortlists. Are you looking for high-quality nonfiction picture books? Look here. Are you looking for middle grade graphic novels? Here you go. The Cybils shortlists are an excellent resource for anyone looking to match books to kids.
Here are the links to this year's Cybils shortlists (the Easy Reader and Short Chapter Books and Graphic Novels categories each are broken into two sub-lists, by age range):
Easy Readers & Short Chapter Books
Fantasy & Science Fiction (Middle Grade)
Fantasy & Science Fiction (Young Adult)
Fiction Picture Books
Middle Grade Fiction
Non-Fiction Middle Grade/YA
Non-Fiction Picture Books
Young Adult Fiction
I hope that you'll find the Cybils shortlists a useful resource. I know I do.
January is a month of wild speculation in the children's literature world. With the ALA Youth Media Awards on the verge of being announced, everyone is trying to guess what books will win this year's Caldecott and Newbery medals. The answer will come on January 18 at an early morning press conference held by the Association of Library Service to Children (a division of the American Library Association).
Who will walk away the winners this year? After receiving 5 Caldecott honors, will Jerry Pinkney finally earn the Caldecott medal for The Lion and the Mouse? Will Jacqueline Kelly earn the Newbery medal for her debut novel, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate?
While we wait anxiously with the potential winners to find out whose telephone will ring on January 18, here are a few things we know for certain:
The winning books, whichever ones they happen to be, will be completely sold out within hours of the announcement. They will be purchased by nearly every school, library and bookstore (with a children's department) in the country. With very few exceptions, they will never go out of print.
The winners receive a phone call from the entire 15 member committees shortly before the official announcement at the press conference. If the ALA Midwinter meeting is on the East Coast (this year it's in Boston), a winner who lives in California can expect to get a phone call around 3 a.m. I love hearing the stories that authors and illustrators tell about when they got "the call."
I'm curious to know which past winners are your favorites. Since so many schools and libraries buy the winning books, you may have read more than you realize.
Here are my favorite Caldecott winners. This list changes every time I put it together:.
2008: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
2007: Flotsam by David Wiesner
2005: Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
2004: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
2002: The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
1996: Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
1994: Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say
1992: Tuesday by David Wiesner
1991: Black and White by David Macaulay
1986: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
1980: Ox-Cart Man, illustrated by Barbara Cooney; text: Donald Hall
1968: Drummer Hoff illustrated by Ed Emberley; text: adapted by Barbara Emberley
1965: May I Bring a Friend? illustrated by Beni Montresor; text: Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
1964: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
1955: Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper, illustrated by Marcia Brown; text: translated from Charles Perrault by Marcia Brown
1954: Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans
1943: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
1942: Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
I'm more of a picture book person (as you can probably tell from the list above) but I do have several favorite Newbery medal winners.
2009: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
2008: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz
2007: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
2002: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
1999: Holes by Louis Sachar
1984: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
1982: A Visit to William Blake's Inn by Nancy Willard
1979: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
1978: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
1972: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
1968: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
1949: King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry
1945: Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
1944: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
Be sure to tune in on January 18 via Twitter and/or a live webcast to find out this year's winners.
Want to find out more about how the winners are selected.? ALSC has put together a great list of answers to frequently asked questions about the awards.
What are your favorite Caldecott and Newbery medal books and why? Have you ever tried (successfully or unsuccessfully) to read all the winners? Got any predictions for this year? I'd love to hear about it.