105 Ways to Give a Book

Kidlit Con 2010 Recap

I’ve been wondering why I’ve been having trouble writing up my experience at KidlitCon 2010, and I finally realized that I was trying to write about the wrong thing — the conference itself.

Please don’t take that the wrong way. The sessions boasted wonderful speakers featuring interesting presentations with useful applications for blogging. You’ll find helpful recaps from a variety of posts on the KidlitCon blog. The twitter feed alone — pulled together most nicely by Greg Pincus — is an incredible resource.

But though I enjoyed the sessions, the KidlitCon experience for me was the people. Not to devalue the program in any way, but personally I would have gone if it had been a spa weekend — or a cattle round-up, even. What I needed was a chance to recharge my batteries in a comfort zone of friends. While we connect online, obviously, the real-life connection energizes me. I think it energizes everyone who comes to a KidlitCon, and is much of what separates this conference from many others.

As my new best friend Amy tweeted, “Ah… there was a whole VELVETEEN RABBIT feel to the whole #kidlitcon day. Everyone is real at last!”

The truth is in that tweet. And in the sentence including the tweet in which I refer to Amy as “my new best friend.” Because I met Amy after admiring her coat — being one of scads of people to do so — and she offered to get one for me, as they are only available through special retailers. And she had just met me. Like, how sweet is that? I haven’t decided about the coat for myself — though she looks fabulous in hers — but I know this is one person I’ll be keeping up with online and through her blog The Poem Farm. What a great gal!

Later, at Saturday’s dinner, I ended up making a real, life-changing connection with author Janet Fox. I had enjoyed her presentation on blog touring as an author, but I was more eager to talk to her about her earlier book Get Organized Without Losing It. I thought it might be a helpful book for my tween with her ADD issues. So in talking to Janet, I find that she wrote the book because her son struggled with ADHD. As he is now in college, she was able to give me some perspective on what I’m going through at home, and convey a great deal of hope as well. I’ve ordered her book from Amazon, and am grateful to have made this personal connection.

Now you see how unreliable I am. I start this post by saying how I needed the comfort of my old blogging friends, and then talk about two new people I met. But though I met some great people over the weekend — and lectured at least one on meeting that special someone — I wasn’t in a general networking mode. I wansn’t trying to meet everyone this go-’round, but wanted to have a few great conversations. And that I had.

I spent a lot of time with my oldest blogging friends Liz, Jen, Melissa, and Maureen. I was surprised by an appearance from a long-lost friend, Kelly Herold, and met Melissa Wiley — a legend as the coiner of the term kidlitosphere — in person. I chatted over wine with Laura, Alice, Sarah and Charlotte — though not over the same glasses of wine. It was a good Friday night. We talked about book controversies and publishing gossip and blogging blues. We also talked about high school dances and mommy sleep deprivation and air travel and Jon Stewart. The only thing I could have wished for was to be cloned so that I could have spent more time with The Poetry Gang — as you’ll see pictured at Toby Speed’s blog — and talked more about sciency fiction with Jacqueline Houtman.

I came home with new blogging ideas, blogger contacts, and some thoughts for KidlitCon 2011 in Seattle. After a day of recovery, I was refreshed by my time with my friends. And I am most thankful to Brian, Andrew, and Ben for putting on this wonderful conference. See you all at the next one. Right?


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And Continue to Stand By...

Ah, I was almost up to writing the KidlitCon update when I had to take the cat back to the vet, only to find out that she’s not all better yet. Dang. Then a ninety-minute conversation with my mother — which mostly involved complaining — further derailed my writing mojo. Not to mention the weeks of housecleaning, which needs to take place in the next few hours. So no update today.

But Hey, Rabbit! comes to the rescue by featuring the MotherReader favorite picture books. My list is part of a series taken on by blog author — and real author — Sergio Ruzzier. Scroll down the site to see the lists of my fellow bloggers Travis and Julie, plus that of much-admired author/illustrator Emily Jenkins. And then just keep going back for more.

Now, if you’ll excuse me there’s a vacuum cleaner calling my name...

Please Stand By...

My KidlitCon write-up will be coming soon. I thought I’d be writing it today, but realized that my dad is coming on Thursday and my house is an absolute mess. I need to spend two days of serious cleaning, and hopefully will be working up some of my post in my head at the same time. Because that’s kinda how I work anyway. I can certainly say that KidlitCon was wonderful and that I’m already excited about next year.

By the way, the reason my dad is coming up from Florida on this particular weekend of all weekends? The Rally to Restore Sanity. Which says a lot about my family, huh? Not only are we going with my tween and teen — who are big fans of Colbert and Stewart — but my 67-year-old dad is joining us. There are times I’m just so proud of us.

I am bit annoyed with a Washington Post editorial that latched onto a small joke Stewart made, calling it the Million Moderate March. The writer then proceeded to completely miss the point, lamenting the loss of the true political moderate as it was going to be destroyed by this rally. Sigh. Can’t anyone do their research anymore? It seems pretty clear to me that the reference to moderate was less about placement on political spectrum than a concept of how we want to approach discourse without hyperbole. The Rally to Restore Sanity isn’t saying that sanity is in a Democratic platform (even if you might think that it is). It is literally about restoring sanity with the way we approach the conversations and problems of our country, with the idea that perhaps if we talk about it seriously — instead of drawing Hitler mustaches — we might understand each other better. And hey, maybe find solutions for America. What a concept.

Are you going? You can stay with me if you’ll clean my basement — but I don’t think that you’ll find it that good of a deal.

Nonfiction Monday: Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their Art

This will be the first time I use Nonfiction Monday to talk about a book that I haven’t read or even seen in person. It may even be a Nonfiction Monday historical first. But I couldn’t resist the opportunity to point people to an Amazon Bargain Book that seems like quite a deal. I bought it unseen, but am eagerly anticipating its arrival.

Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their ArtArtist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their Art is published by the Eric Carle Picture Book Museum of Art and is apparently over a hundred pages of artwork and process notes of amazing picture book authors, including such folks as Eric Carle, Ashley Bryan, Tomie dePaola, Jane Dyer, Steven Kellogg, Leo Lionni, Jerry Pinkney, and more. With twelve customer reviews at Amazon it gets 4.9 out of 5 stars. I had heard of this book earlier, but I felt that I needed to see it before laying out thirty bucks. But now, available at the bargain price of $10.99, it’s on its way to mama.

For reviews of nonfiction books where people have actually seen and read the book, look to today’s Nonfiction Monday round-up at Write About Now.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Thursday Three: Monsters

These are the days when libraries get frantic parents looking for Halloween books to read at their children’s schools and finding that all the books are gone. One of these parents may be you. But have no fear — there are some great monster books around that will fill the Halloween gap and that are often overlooked by parents heading only to the shelf with the big pumpkin sign.

Where’s My Mummy?Where’s My Mummy?
by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by John Manders

When Baby Mummy heads outside for a late-night game of “Hide and Shriek,” he ends up searching for Mama Mummy in the deep, dark woods. Different monsters advise the little wrapped guy to go to home, but he trudges on unafraid, until a tiny creature gives him a big scare. But Mummy — or mommy — is there to give him comfort and take him to bed. The wonderful illustrations have just the right comical touch to take the edge off the spooky subject, and the story adds just enough suspense to the fun. Great for preschoolers.

Inside the Slidy DinerInside the Slidy Diner
by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Jaime Zollars

Edie is trapped inside the Slidy Diner for stealing a lemon drop, and gives a youngster a tour of the scary restaurant, where patrons eat pigs’ heads and pies are garnished with eyeballs. This is definitely a book for the gross-out crowd, who will delight in the bug-filled flooded restrooms, the huge wall-mounted cockroach, and the most questionable “chocolate milk.” Detailed illustration supports the story with odd-looking patrons and clever visual jokes. Gruesome, creepy, and loads of fun for the school-age set.

Frankenstein Makes a SandwichFrankenstein Makes a Sandwich
Frankenstein Takes the Cake
by Adam Rex

For some reason, people insist on giving these books to their preschoolers and then denouncing them because their precious tots aren’t interested in these poems about various monsters. The smaller ones somehow fail to grasp the cultural and literary references or get the jokes. They aren’t wooed by the detailed and varied artistic styles. So clearly, these parents claim, these books are not all that. HAH! And I say again, HAH! While shaking my head, of course, and noting that just because a book has pictures, it is not necessarily a “picture book.” Sure, read it to your preschoolers if you feel the need, but it’s the bigger kids who are going to appreciate the brilliance, the humor, the artistry of these amazing books. These are the perfect books to share in higher grades when the kids are wanting stories — especially to mark special times like Halloween — but parents don’t think about sharing books in the classroom. I read the first one to my daughter’s fifth grade class and they loved it. It was apparently very popular for the week I left it there, and I heard groans when I picked it up. Don’t miss these fabulous poetry books, but do think about the right age of the reader. By the way — adults fall into that “right age” group.

(Originally posted at PBS Booklights.)

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DonorsChoose Request for Books

I knew that there was a reason I couldn’t start my blog post today. I was waiting for this announcement to come through my email:
In 2000, a teacher in the Bronx started DonorsChoose with the help of his students. This month marks our 10th anniversary, and we just received a gift that made our decade...

Townsend Press has donated one million (!) dollars to fund all book requests down to just $98 or less — on the condition that folks like you take them across the finish line. As a previous supporter of literacy projects, we thought you’d find this as exciting as we do.

Our birthday wish is that you’ll help bring a local book request to life.

Let’s celebrate 10 years by hooking tens of thousands of students on reading!

Thank you,
The DonorsChoose.org Team
Kidlitosphere, let’s help them out! This great charity offers a unique way of funding smaller projects in specific classrooms. I’ve donated through the 48 Hour Book Challenge and made it our charity for last year’s KidLitCon. My teen made DC schools her community project last year, and donated money that she made to help the project. I’ve received letters from the kids that would melt your heart — for two reasons, really. One, because the kids are sincerely grateful. But also because the writing is remedial, which emphasizes how much these kids need books. And people who care. Be one of them.

Edited to add: I just helped complete the drive to get this classroom in Virginia some beginning reader books. See how easy it is?

Nonfiction Monday Host

Why, yes. I am the Nonfiction Monday host this week. Please leave your links in the comments and I’ll update this post during the day.

The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee CatastropheFor my part, I’ll be talking about The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe, by Loree Griffin Burns. I specifically didn’t use the word “review,” as I don’t think that I can fairly review a book that I’ve followed from the beginning research to book reviews to photo choices to title selection and onward to the publication celebration. I feel like I’ve watched this puppy grow up in front of me, and I’m just so darn proud.

Three years ago, I was vaguely interested in the whole disappearing bee thing, having seen an article or two about it. That curiosity corresponded nicely with the bee research on Loree’s blog. Intrigued, I took her book suggestion and read
Fruitless Fall, which has become one of my favorite nonfiction book recommendations. Since then I’ve been eagerly awaiting The Hive Detectives, wondering how to bring a topic to kids that seems obscure — at least in the standard nonfiction publications on dinosaurs, planets, and Abraham Lincoln. (I know, Lincoln books were sooo last year.)

As it turns out, you take the topic to kids by bringing them along on the research. Letting them meet a beekeeper, inspect a hive, visit an apiary, and autopsy a bee all through the magic of words and photography. And boy, is a photo of a cut-up bee magical. As readers begin to unravel the mysteries within Colony Collapse Disorder, they are gaining a general knowledge about bees, honey, and pollination. They are also learning about scientists and how they do research on difficult topics. It’s like two books in one! At the end of the book, the mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder remains unsolved, but the importance of bees — and science — is indisputable.

Now for your Nonfiction Monday Round-up:

Early Morning Edition:
  • Nonfiction author Connie Goldsmith returns as Guest Blogger at Word Playground to share some of her writing experiences, as well as a mosquito bite or two that will prompt you into active writing!
  • Look for a bunch of puberty books for boys over at Pink Me.
  • Read about PelĂ©, King of Soccer, by Monica Brown over at A Wrung Sponge.
  • They Called Themselves the K.K.K. is reviewed over at Bookish Blather.
  • Rasco from RIF re-read an older alphabet book that is a favorite of hers and of the children with whom she has shared it: The Accidental Zucchini, An Unexpected Alphabet, by Max Grover.
  • Take Just One Bite over at The Well-Read Child.

Noon Edition:
  • Visit Simply Science for You Can’t Wear These Genes, by Shirley Duke — her first nofiction book!
  • Looking for an exciting book for reports or pleasure reading? Check out the review of Captain Mac: The Life of Donald Baxter MacMillan, Arctic Explorer, by Mary Morton Cowan, at The Fourth Musketeer.
  • Fall is the perfect time for Zero is the Leaves on the Tree. Read about it at over at A Novel Idea.
  • Abby the Librarian is taking us Inside Tornadoes, by Mary Kay Carson.
  • Check out What Holds Us to Earth? A Look at Gravity, by Jennifer Boothroyd, at
    Wild About Nature
  • Get ready for the season of spooks and ghosts with The Halloween Book of Facts and Fun, by Wendie Old, at All About the Books with Janet Squires
  • And just so cool, the author of the book above has a review of her own of Orangutans are Ticklish with fun facts from an animal photographer at Wendie’s Wanderings.
  • Apparently Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian have the text from these rhyming food group books stuck in their heads now. Curious?
  • Ah, science fair season. Perfect time to check out these books from the Science Fair Winners series from National Geographic at Wrapped in Foil.

Teatime Edition:
  • Bookends has two books to share: Blue Everywhere and Does an Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away?
  • Looking at They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group at SLJ’s blog Practically Paradise.
  • It’s all about Disasters! over at Biblio File.
  • And Charlotte’s Library goes Supernatural.

Nightcap Edition:
  • With Halloween just around the corner, it's a perfect time for Steve Jenkins' book, Bones as reviewed at Books Together.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Thursday Three: Bedtime Books

Another PBS Booklights transfer to my own Thursday Three archives. Love these bedtime books.

Sleepyhead,
by Karma Wilson, illustrated by John Segal

SleepyheadIn this simple story, a grown-up cat tries to get the little bear to go to sleep, but the little bear wants to delay bedtime just a little bit longer. Surprise, surprise. The sing-song feel of the text isn’t a straight rhyme scheme, but uses rhyming words and a gentle rhythm. The beautiful watercolors are dreamy. One thing I particularly like about the book is the characters: a cat and bear, both of indeterminate gender. It could be a mother and son, father and daughter, aunt and niece, etc. The two characters from different species also leaves it open as an adoption story, perhaps of a child of a different race. In any case, it’s a lovely bedtime book to be shared with a special little bear of one’s own.

No More Yawning!
by Paeony Lewis, illlustrated by Brita Granström

No More Yawning!Generally I’m not a big fan of bedtime books where the child keeps getting out of bed or otherwise disrupting bedtime. They tend to make me feel more like the child needs more limits and parental authority. But this book includes yawning, and having yawning in a bedtime book is pure genius, because as the parent reads the book with the yawns, the child starts yawning and is soon ready for bed. In fact, it makes it a little confusing that the mother keeps telling the little girl, “No more yawning,” even though it is paired with all the other instructions like “No more kissing” or “No more singing” or “No more stories.” Yawn away, I say. Cute book and nice, soft watercolor illlustrations. Oh and good tips on falling asleep are included in the back.

Once Upon a Time, The End (asleep in 60 seconds)
by Geoffrey Kloske, illustrated by Barry Blitt

Once Upon a Time, The End (asleep in 60 seconds)In this tale, the father is putting his kid to bed, but just wants to get through the bedtime stories as quickly as possible. The stories are all the classics of childhood like Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, and nursery rhymes, but shorter. Much, much shorter. With attitude. And generally with a theme of going to sleep at the end of each one. A great book for parents who have so totally been there. Oh, and for kids too, but particularly ones that are old enough to get the references to the classic stories and the overarching tongue-in-cheek theme that “enough already, bedtime is NOW.”

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Bedbugs Ground Planes

...would be as irresponsible a headline as Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children — and about as accurate.

Suppose I wanted to write an article about the decline of air travel in September. I could elaborate on what is meant by “decline” by looking at whether there were periods of higher air travel due to fare wars or other circumstances. I could write about the continuing poor economy affecting the number of flights. I could discuss cycles of travel where there is downturn after the summer months. I could even investigate travel in general, looking at statistics of train or automobile trips for comparison.

Or I could decide that bedbugs are a hot issue and look to link them with air travel declines. After all, there are people that think about germs on planes and from germs it’s a short leap to vermin on planes and after talking to someone for thirty minutes or so and maybe mentioning bedbugs specifically I could get a quote like, “I won’t be getting on a plane with bedbugs!” And if the rest of that person’s thought was along the lines of, “Boy, am I glad that’s not a problem,” well, so be it.

It is certainly possible and even likely that publication and purchasing for picture books is down. But first of all, down from what? Is this a market correction of what was a picture book boom? Is the poor economy in general making parents buy cheaper paperbacks? Are we in a market cycle where publishers are putting more investment into a hot YA market? Are people turning to other sources for picture books, including libraries and yard sales? Should we look at library circulation statistics? And if parents are pushing chapter books, is it a new trend? Is it quantifiable?

Or is it easier to cast this as a hot topic like pushy parenting and imply an end to picture books?

I haven’t done the in-depth research to answer the questions I’m posing. But then again, neither did The New York Times. The difference is that I don’t have the power to make people anxious about the literacy progression of our children or cause concern about the state of the picture book or affect the industry with my write-up.

Because that would be irresponsible.

Picture Books Aren’t in Trouble Just Because the NYT Says So

The worry of the day is the New York Times article that tells us the picture book market is fading as parents push their kids into chapter books. Now the kidlit folks will all go crazy defending picture books and deriding parental pressure.

But people, we are forgetting one important thing here: This is The New York Times. And in terms of children’s and young adult literature, this is what they do. Some writer comes up with a topic in this field, within which they know very little. They “research” that topic with a few interviews, an observation or two, and a quote from Man on the Street. Or in this case, Parent in the Bookstore.1

They’ve done this with the topic of Young Adult literature being too dark. They’ve done this with summer reading lists being too light. They’ve done this with The Catcher in the Rye being useless for today’s teens. And with Twilight as the defining book for our generation. Or profiling a family that blogs about children’s books as being this amazingly unique concept.

People, people, people, we need to realize that it doesn’t matter.

I’ll be the biggest defender of picture books. I’m the organizer of the Cybils Fiction Picture Book category, for goodness’ sake. I have an article about the value of that literature for kids. I can attest personally to the growth I’ve seen in the quality of books of the picture variety.

But am I surprised if it turns out to be true that, in a down economy, people are buying fewer picture books than they were before? Um, no. Guess what? People are buying a lot less of everything in a down economy. And while I’ll protest forever the parents who chastise their kid for choosing a picture book in the library as being too babyish, I can understand the mindset of an economizing parent who, when purchasing a book, wants to find one that will last a little bit longer. Hey, we do it with shoes and it works.

Sure, we can lose our collective shit for the next week addressing this article. But I’d rather keep talking about children’s and young adult literature based on what we know, understand, and research with far more authority than one reporter in one big paper with one little story.

Though if you feel like you must write something, perhaps try a piece on the terrible state of newspaper reporting based on, say, the article in the New York Times. At least it will be payback for all the crap they’ve given us.

  1. EDITED TO ADD: Apparently, even the quote from the parent in the bookstore was taken out of context, as she explains at her blog, Zen Leaf. Anyone surprised? 

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Thursday Three: Funny Picture Books

Another move to the Thursday Three archives from PBS Booklights. While I haven’t started on this year’s nominees for the Cybils — over a hundred and fifty so far in Fiction Picture Books — this post refers to three books nominated last year that made me smile.

It’s hard to pick funny picture books, because the age of the reader makes such a big difference. Even a year in development can completely change the nature of the book. For instance, my go-to book for reading in classrooms was Sweet Tooth, by Margie Palatini, because doing a cranky voice for the named tooth is... well, so sweeeeet. When I tried this book with kindergartners, though, they didn’t really get it or laugh. However, first and second graders loved it. So, what I’ve shared today is a progression of funny books, starting from a lightly amusing book for a preschooler and moving up in age. Enjoy.

Mouse Was Mad
by Linda Urban, illustrated by Henry Cole

Mouse Was MadMouse is definitely mad, but as he expresses himself by hopping, stomping, screaming and more, other animals take the starch out of his tantrum by showing him how expertly hopping, stomping, screaming and more can be done. Finally mouse finds something he does better than anyone, and it calms him down. While there is certainly a lesson to be learned here about taming a tantrum, it is amusing to see the other animals take his actions at face value and challenge his technique. Great story, with Henry Cole’s always friendly illustrations.

Dinosaur Woods: Can Seven Clever Critters Save Their Forest Home?
by George McClements

Dinosaur Woods: Can Seven Clever Critters Save Their Forest Home?Coming construction is going to chase a bunch of animals out of their wooded home, and though they try to talk to the people, no one will listen. They come up with a plan to build a dinosaur, knowing that people won’t tear down the woods with a dinosaur. They all try to work together but Something Goes Wrong. However, when the animals are exposed they turn out to be endangered and the woods are preserved after all — along with their friendship. Lots of amusing asides and touches throughout the book keep it funny. Look for the specially named “Crabby-Faced Punching Rabbits” or the great facial expressions on the collage illustrations. Environmentally safe and seriously fun.

The Hermit Crab
by Carter Goodrich

The Hermit CrabA shy hermit crab stumbles into being a hero when he dons an unusual “shell” — the discarded, broken top half of an action figure. When a crab trap lands in an unfortunate place — “Hey, where’s the flounder? Has anyone seen the flounder?” — everyone sees the hero near the trap and assumes that he’s responsible for moving it and saving the day. But the best part is in the unexpected result. The hermit crab draws into the shell, doesn’t take credit, doesn’t change, and leaves the “hero” shell as soon as he can. I love the idea that it’s okay to stay out of the limelight. It’s okay to be shy. Funny pictures add to the joy of this quirky book.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Smells Like Dog

I’m a bit swamped lately — which, coming off of my summer funk, is really hurting my blogging game. But I’ve got a treat for you today with a TeenReader review. This is a book that we both liked very much. It surprised me as being very different from what I expected, but in a good way. Sometimes it’s a very good thing not to read too many reviews. That said, don’t miss this one...



TeenReader in the hizzy, reviewing books until I’m dizzy, spittin’ rhymes like Eminizzy, and I’m funny, yes, fo’shizzy. And for all you old people out there, yes, that is how we youngsters talk nowadays. Why not go rap at your bingo night? It’ll be a hoot.

Where were we? Oh! Book reviews! Today I’m going to review a fun book that I thoroughly enjoyed:
Smells Like Dog, by Suzanne Selfors. I could say at lot, but this pretty much says it all:
Because the Pudding family always ate breakfast together at the kitchen table, it was the perfect place to share news and ask questions like, Whatcha gonna do at school today? or Who’s gonna take a bath tonight? or Why is that dead squirrel lying on the table?
Smells Like DogThat’s an example of the funny dialogue sprinkled all throughout the book, which itself was a compelling read. It’s the story of a farm boy, Homer Pudding, who has a love for treasure hunting that comes from his adventurous uncle. So when said uncle is mysteriously killed, Homer is left with his uncle’s dog, a strange coin, and an amazing adventure.

I thought this book was a good balance of an easy, basic plot to follow with a perfect amount of twists and turns to keep you guessing. Just as things were getting clear, the rug was pulled out and we were left in the dark again. The characters and cliches were a bit overexaggerated at times — much of it adding nicely to the fantasy, but at times going a little too far over the top. No worries though, because overall a great book and a fun read. Fo’shizzle.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Cybils Nominations

Whoa, Nelly! The nominations for Cybils awards began at midnight, and they are rolling on in! I’ve glanced at some of the categories to see some of my favorite books of the year making early appearances on the lists. I’ve spent more time on my own category, where we have thirty-five nominations so far in Fiction Picture Books. I think having the nominator recognized with the winning books is getting people excited to submit the books that they truly believe could win. I can’t wait to see what comes in during the day today. Such fun!

As for what happens next, I — as organizer for my category — will look over the titles to make sure that they are indeed eligible. I’ll check the publication date and also make sure that they are nominated in the correct category. It’s most likely that I will need to send a few titles to the Poetry and Nonfiction Picture Book categories, and them to me. As soon as the titles are approved, then the panelists can start looking for the books in their libraries on their own bookshelves. A handy database helps us and the Cybils administrators keep track of what we own, what we’ve read, and what we need. And with a large number of nominations expected in this category, this database will become a huge organizational tool for the next two months.

So, take a look at the lists so far, and nominate a book that you love. You can nominate one book in each category — and by “you” I mean anyone. You don’t have to be a blogger to submit a title. Here are the rules and here is the form. Now go!