Nominations for the Cybils Awards close tomorrow at 11:59 PM. This is the last call for everyone to look over the list of titles already nominated and suggest new ones (because a book can only be nominated once – it isn’t a popularity contest) before thing move on to the panelists and judges.
And speaking of, I am once again judging, back to the Graphic Novel category. Unlike past years I’m not in grad school and can actually spend a fair amount of time reading many of the nominated titles before the shortlist is made. I’m actually kind of excited about this because I prefer to make my second-guess shortlist before the actual shortlist comes out, sort of like a game. I used to do this with the Oscars back in my film review days and I have to say it’s a lot of fun to try to guess what will get nominated. Of course, once the shortlist arrives, it’s down to work, reading up on things I’ve missed and trying to sort through a matrix for deciding which is the better title.
What’s a Cybil? “The Cybils awards are given each year by bloggers for the year’s best children’s and young adult titles.” That’s the long and sort of it. Nominations for books in nine different categories are open to the public, with two rounds of judging handled by bloggers with some connection to children’s literature, literacy, or blogging. It’s a sort of hybrid between a People’s Choice award and Critic’s award, and in the process a lot of very interesting and unexpected titles bubble to the surface.
Opening the nominating process to anyone allows for a variety of titles that might have slipped through the cracks to have a shot. Unlike national awards where publishers pay to have their titles considered, or where judges can be swayed with junkets (because how do you throw a junket for a group of bloggers scattered around the world?), each nomination represents a reader’s love of a book as its primary criteria.
As a judge, I’ve always been surprised by at least one title that made it to the final round, surprised to discover a title or author I hadn’t heard of previously. I’m not saying I’m so tapped into the world of children’s literature that I border on omniscient, just that there is so much out there to discover all the time. It’s a pleasant surprise.
As for nominating, I generally either like to get something out the minute nominations open, or wait until the end to see if something I liked somehow missed attention. Right now, pretty much anything I could have nominated in every category has been covered. But what about you? Was there something you read this year that absolutely blew you away? A poetry collection, or a non-fiction picture book? Some choice under-rated YA title, or a middle grade book that didn’t get the attention it deserved?
Time’s running out. Head on over to Cybils Central and get that nomination in there. Oh, and be sure to read the rules for nominations. And then don’t forget to make a note in your calendar to check back on New Year’s Day 2011 to see what made the shortlists!