First, the news: Cybils nominations are open through October 15, and anyone can nominate a title!
Then, the explanation: what the heck, you may wonder, are the Cybils?
Well, since you asked: The Cybils are the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards, founded in 2006 by bloggers Anne Boles Levy and Kelly Herrold, and now run by Anne, blogger-publisher Sheila Ruth, and a dedicated crew of volunteer organizers. The award aims to stake out a middle ground between prizes like the Newbery and Caldecott, which reward literary excellence without regard for kid-appeal, and populist kid-voted awards like the Young Reader’s Choice Award, which can be skewed in favor of the shortest or most well-known title on the ballot.
2011 marks the sixth year of the Cybils, and they’ve become a big deal, in both the blogging and literary worlds. Hundreds of books are nominated each year, and winners see a definite jump in their sales after the awards are announced every February 14. Judges are chosen based on demonstrated genre expertise and dedication to blogging; dozens of bloggers apply, and it’s tough to get a spot. So the bar for judges is high, but anyone — and that means YOU — can nominate a title for consideration. You don’t even need to have a blog, just a favorite book, or two, or three.
Awards are given in several categories, or genres. Categories in which Tor.com readers might have particular interest include Fantasy and Science Fiction (with separate awards given for Middle Grade and YA) and Graphic Novels (ditto), but if you’ve got a favorite picture book or realistic or nonfiction or poetry title, or even a favorite kids’ book app (a new category this year), why not nominate that, too?
Nominating a title is pretty simple: you fill out this brief form, and, well, that’s it.
A few things to bear in mind before you nominate (The complete eligibility rules are here):
- There’s a limit of one nomination per category per person, so choose your titles carefully.
- There’s a limit of one nomination per category per book— i.e., duplicate nominations for a single title aren’t accepted—so peruse the lists of already-nominated books carefully to make sure your choice isn’t listed already. (Campaigns to blitz the list with multiple nominations for a single title are notably unappreciated.)
- Only titles published in the United States and/or Canada between October 16, 2010 and October 15, 2011 are eligible.
- Cybils titles must be, to quote the website, “aimed at the youth market up to age 18. Books marketed to adult readers that may also appeal to teens are not eligible.”
For a sense of the kind of quality stuff the Cybils recognize, here’s a sampling of winners and finalists from previous years:
- American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang (YA Graphic Novel Winner, 2006)
- Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, by Adam Rex (Poetry Finalist, 2006)
- The Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale (YA SFF Finalist, 2007)
- The Magic Thief, by Sarah Prineas (Middle Grade SFF finalist, 2008)
- Fire, by Kristin Cashore (YA SFF Winner, 2009)
- The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger (Middle Grade Fiction Winner, 2010)
Your favorite children’s or YA book published in the past year could be on this list for 2011 — but only if someone nominates it. If a title you nominated is chosen as a finalist, you get a shout-out on the website, and the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve helped to raise the profile of children’s/teen literature, blogging, and just general good things in the world.
So what are you waiting for? Go, nominate!
Elisabeth Kushner is a writer and librarian living in Vancouver. She’s currently racking her brain for a YA graphic novel to nominate for the Cybils.