I'm the organizer for Middle Grade Fiction again this year, as well as the blog editor. Last year, MGF had seven first round panelists who tried to read as many of the almost 150 nominations as possible and decide on the top 5 or 7 books to send to the second round panelists. Those five people had to read the finalists and decide on the ONE winner, which I think is a far harder job.
If you are a blogger who reads a lot of Middle Grade Fiction, think about applying to be a panelist. Each category has a different organizer, and I'm sure they all have different qualities for panelists in mind. Here are some of the things that I look for in a panelist, because I think that people who have these qualities make for a more pleasant and successful panel. These are my own thoughts and not reflective of any official Cybils' qualifications:
- Your schedule should not be overly full between 1 October 2013 and 14 February 2014. If you are moving, having a baby, starting a new job or have some other life altering event, chances are good that it will be hard for you to read 150 books. First round panelists need to be free for an online chat right around Christmas, and second round panelists around the first of February.
- You need to be fairly tech savvy and willing to check e mail twice a day during the busiest points of the judging. There are online spreadsheets, Yahoo chats, and e books to contend with.
- You need to have a blog, since it's a Bloggers' Award. I do look for bloggers who are fairly active-- if your last post was in March, I would worry that you would not read as many books as are required.
- You need to read middle grade fiction for this division. If your blog only concentrates on picture books, nonfiction or young adult books, it's hard for me to gauge your background knowledge of the area we will be judging.There are other divisions where your skills would be better used.
- You need to have actual contact with our target demographic. You could have your own children as guinea pigs, or work in a school or public library. If you haven't spoken to an actual eleven year old since you were one yourself, chances are good that you'll have a hard time knowing what would appeal to readers.
- You should play nicely in the sandbox. This means that you not only post thoughtful reviews that are neither critical and nor gushing, but you should be able to respect other people's views on books and be willing to give and take. Just because you think one book is the best thing ever written doesn't mean the panel will share your views. Your second favorite book may be the one that wins, and you aren't allowed to sulk about it.
Finally! On to the What Are You Reading Marvelous Middle Grade Nonfiction Monday (hosted this week at Shelf Employed. )
Graydon, Shari. Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know.
11 July 2013, Annick Press
E ARC from Netgalley.com
This is an updated version of a 2003 book, which does reflect the online advertising that was not as widespread ten years ago. I did have to laugh at the first lines of the book "Do you remember the day your parents say you down to have a serious talk about advertising? Me neither." (page 6, E ARC)
Having read a lot of books on the effect of television viewing and advertising on children, my children and I had LOTS of conversations about advertising. This book covered many of the things we discussed, such as the veracity of toy ads, the demographic targeting that companies do, and how ads are set up to manipulate people to buy things. The updated chapters on advertising in social media, including how cookies are put on your computer, should be required reading!
The fun illustrations and breezy, conversational style of this book made it fun and interesting to read. I remember an entire unit in fourth grade language arts about advertising, but I'm not sure that students today get all of this information at school. I'll be eager to get this into the hands of my readers.
The illustrations will date the book quickly, but since the information will need to be updated, that's okay!