How could I have forgotten to mention this? The finalists for the Cybils have been announced, and in this horse race it’s anybody’s guess how it’s going to end up. Except for the judges in each category, they have a pretty good idea how things are going to end up, but then they only figure it out a few days ahead of the announcements. At least that’s my memory from participating in the last couple of years.
This year, however, instead of judging graphic novels I’m on the Middle Grade fiction panel. Why? Mostly because I spent the better part of the last year reading, studying, and finally writing a middle grade book so it seemed the most logical choice. Call it an affinity, if you will.
That said, half of the finalist titles presented are surprises to me. This is good because I hate going in feeling like I already know something about the book and have to separate that from my reading experience. It makes the process of judging… cleaner?
That said, I will say I am disappointed that one middle grade book didn’t make the cut. Anywhere. Some felt it belonged in one category, others in another, and its final placement, I feel, is what killed its chances in the first round. These things happen, I’m not surprised, and they are usually the backstory behind why certain “obvious” choices don’t end up winning in awards contests. As disappointing as it might be, it’s a great object lesson for me as a writer to not be upset should anything I write ever end up “overlooked” for awards.
Anyway, check out the lists and root for your favorites. I doubt there are any office pools like people do with the Oscars, but who knows? Maybe some librarians out there are running numbers in the back room near the mending desk, hiding markers in retired checkout card pockets.