I just got word that nominations are open for the Cybil Awards -- the awards from children's book bloggers for the best books of 2008. I love children's book bloggers because they tend to think about children's literature in a deeper way than many mainstream reviewers. These are people who are educators, librarians, and parents who understand that children's books are literature too, not just a product to be marketed to pint-sized consumers. They tend to go beyond the What's Hot and What's Not take that you see in far too many book reviews these days and really probe what makes a successful book work and why.
Here's how the Cybil awards work:Nominations for the third annual Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards (the Cybils) will be open Wednesday, October 1st through Wednesday, October 15th. The goal of the Cybils team (some 100 bloggers) is to highlight books that are high in both literary quality and kid appeal. The Cybils lists, from long lists to short lists (http://dadtalk.typepad.com/cybils/finalists/index.html) to the lists of winners (http://dadtalk.typepad.com/cybils/2007/02/the_2006_cybils.html), offer a wonderful resource to anyone looking for high-quality, kid-friendly books. The Cybils team has worked hard to balance democracy (anyone can nominate titles) with quality control (two rounds of panel judging by people who focus on children's books every day). We do this work because we consider it vital to get great books into the hands of children and young adults. This year, awards will be given in nine categories (Easy Readers, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Fiction Picture Books, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade Novels, Non-Fiction Middle Grade/Young Adult Books, Non-Fiction Picture Books, Poetry, Young Adult Novels). Anyone can nominate books in these categories (one nomination per person per category). Nominated titles must be published between January 1st and October 15th of this year, and the books must be in English (or bilingual, where one of the languages is English). To nominate titles, visit the Cybils blog (http://www.cybils.com/) between October 1st and 15th. A separate post will be available for each category - simply nominate by commenting on those individual posts. If you are not sure which category to choose for a particular book, a questions thread will also be available. Between October 16th and January 1st, Cybils panelists (children's and young adult bloggers) will winnow the nominations down to a 5-7 book short list for each category. A second set of panelists will then select the winning titles for the different categories. The winners will be announced on February 14th, 2009.
So go ahead, nominate your favorite books of 2008. I'm already thinking about which books I want to nominate!