This is my second year of being involved with the Cybils (Children's and Young Adult Blogger's Literary Awards.) Last year, I was a round one panelist for middle grade fiction, and this year I've been elevated to round two. Books in ten categories (see the category list here) are nominated during the period October 1 - 15. These nominated books are checked for eligibility, and then passed on to the round one panelists.
What is round one? A panelist for round one gets to read (or at least attempt to read) all the nominated books. Last year, that amounted to about 140 in my category. There are six or seven other panelists, so there ends up being quite a range of opinion. Interestingly, I found that there are certain books which engender great love in certain judges, and great dislike in others. It makes for quite a discussion--if I remember correctly, the discussion occurred before the holidays--once the team gets together to try and select a shortlist to pass on to...
Round two. In round two, there are five or six panelists who read six or seven shortlisted titles, which are posted on January 1st, 2013. The winners are announced on February 14, 2013.
The category of middle grade fiction is for realistic (contempory or historical) fiction. PM's own Caroline Starr Rose is nominated in this category for the wonderful MAY B. (List of nominees here.)
There is a separate category for science fiction and fantasy middle grade. Yet another PM member, Marissa Burt, is nominated in this category for the splendid STORYBOUND. (Here's a list of all the nominees)
There seem to be awards galore at this time of year. There's a massive round of voting going on at Goodreads, where the semifinal round ends on the 17th--and yesterday the National Book Awards were announced. The Young People’s Literature award went to William Alexander for Goblin Secrets, published by Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Two different covers. Any preferences?
Now, I know we could have a robust debate about the merits of "judging" books in this way, but whatever your views, this sort of thing is here to stay. And for the books that are spotlighted, there's a chance for them to get the burst of oxygen necessary to make a name for themselves in the world.
What books would you like to see spotlighted for any book award this year?