Just in case you are a little unsure about what the Cybils awards are and how they work, here is a brief refresher. The Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards have been around since 2006 (a good year-- I started blogging then!), and strives for a balance between literary excellence and appeal to actual children and young adults. I've been a big fan.
I'm the Middle Grade Fiction organizer this year, so I will find out how that works as we go along. I have spent the past two years as a first round judge, in Middle Grade Science Fiction and Fantasy in 2012, and in Middle Grade Fiction last year. Being a first round judge means reading about 150 middle grade books and deciding with the other five judges which seven or so should go on to the next round. I know that both groups I was in tried for some variety in our finalists-- some boy books, a little multicultural, not all history, etc., but mainly, the books stood on their own merits. The deadline for this is usually about 1 January. Then, the round two judges have more discussions, hopefully without bloodshed, and give one book the award, which is announced on Valentine's Day.
There are a TON of people who have volunteered to be judges, which is great. That said, I can only pick 11 people. Deciding will be hard! I will be a first round judge. It felt weird to be an organizer and not have any say. I could have applied for nonfiction (which had been my plan), but I wanted to make sure I read all the middle grade fiction books.
Make sense? Great. Now I'm off to wrestle with Renaissance Place. We just got online Accelerated Reader testing, so the teachers and I know how nothing works. I'm glad for the students that we have access to more tests, but I've never been wild about AR, so resent the huge amount of work it's taken to get the system up and running. Ah, the joys of being old and bitter.
Because this blog is aimed at librarians and patrons of school libraries, I will not review books that are published solely in e-book formats or that are self published. Books should be available in hardcover or library binding through library suppliers such as Baker and Taylor or Follett. Books should fall within the target demographics of this blog.