Sunday, August 04, 2013

MMGM-- Made You Look

CybilsLogo2012-Web-Button And now that I have, here's a reminder that the Cybils Awards will take applications for panelists from 15-31 August! At that time, you'll have to head over to and fill out the form, whereupon the organizers will sweat out which people to have read a TON of books and decide which books should win.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.
Whew! Deciding among all of the qualified bloggers who apply is very hard, especially since we all try to mix things up and not have the same people on the same panels year after year. If you've applied in the past but not been chosen, don't be afraid to apply again, and if you apply and you're not chosen, do not despair.  So mark your calendars and visit the Cybils' web site to check it out.

Finally! On to the What Are You Reading  Marvelous Middle Grade Nonfiction Monday (hosted this week at Shelf Employed. )

Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should KnowGraydon, Shari. Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know.
11 July 2013, Annick Press
E ARC from

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!


  1. I'm looking forward to seeing the results! Btw, also dropping by to give you the link of a recent middle grade book I enjoyed:

  2. Thanks for spelling out what you look for in a panelist, since this is a new part of the Cybils for me this year!

  3. Thanks for participating in Nonfiction Monday today! All kids should be taught to recognize when they are being manipulated by media(for good or ill).

  4. Anonymous9:59 AM EDT

    In Virginia, we're one of the four (five?) hold-out states with the Common Core, but our state standards do introduce media messages in 5th grade language arts and go full-speed ahead in 6th grade, so this book is one that I'll definitely be ordering for our library.

    Good info on the Cybils panelists--something I'll think about for the future, but since I'm moving to a new school this year, it looks like it'd be best to hold off until next year at least. Thanks for all the time you put into this--it's much appreciated!

  5. There is always some student at school who is studying advertising, so this book should be good for our library! Thanks for sharing the update-new things to consider! And thanks for your ideas about the Cybils. I enjoyed last year's adventure, & will consider joining again. It is a lot of work, but such fun to hear from other opinions too!

  6. This might be my Cybils year...thank you for laying all the parameters out, though, much appreciated.

  7. Anonymous2:22 PM EDT

    Thanks for posting the info re the Cylils panelists--now I'm really grateful for the job they do!

  8. What an interesting book! I'm always looking for ways to get my students to read more critically, so this one needs to jump into my pile!

    I'm considering Cybils... but I'm nervous about the idea, too.

  9. I so want to be on Cybils, but on the Walden committee right now- only one committee at a time :)

    Made you Look looks like a great resource and a great book!

    Happy reading this week :)

  10. MADE YOU LOOK looks like it might be sneaking into my book stack! It looks like a great NF book. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Best of luck on being the Cybils organizer for Middle Grade Fiction this year - bound to be lots of work, but fun too, I assume! This new book you just shared seems like something that my 11 year old daughter would do well reading. :) Have a great reading week.