Cybils Round One Fun

Tonight my plan was to post Sonderling Sunday on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone looking at the translations in German — and French!

But instead, I took a longer Sunday afternoon nap than planned. And then my sister called. To say the traditional “Tomorrow we can say tomorrow is Christmas!” Yay! And then our Cybils Round One chat went way longer than I thought it would.

So next week I will plan to do an unusual tri-lingual Sonderling Sunday.

But meanwhile: The Cybils: What fun!

I’m on the Cybils Round One panel for Middle Grade Science Fiction and Fantasy. So I’ve been reading like crazy. And still feel like a slow reader compared to the others. We had at least two people read every title nominated — at least read enough to know if they needed to read on, anyway. And we all read any title that anyone shortlisted. Or at least we will have come very close to that by the time we finalize the list.

Round One is fun because you get to read widely, and you’re going for a list, so you don’t feel too bad if one you don’t like ends up on the shortlist. If people you trust loved it, it’s probably got a lot of merit. We found our group doesn’t have a whole lot of consensus — and we haven’t made a final list yet, but discussing these books is a lot of fun. It’s always a fun challenge to be able to come up why you like or dislike a book.

The Cybils strives for a combination of literary merit and kid appeal, so besides coming up with what we like or dislike, we also tried to figure out where that was from good or bad writing and which things would matter to kids.

This is much more than my reviews. In my reviews, I admit I like to focus on recommending books and telling what’s to like about them. It’s kind of fun to tear apart books I don’t like — in the privacy of a committee where most people will never ever see it. I hope I won’t like it so much that I do that sort of thing more widely! But there is some value in figuring out precisely where a book fell short. And was it a flaw? Or simply a personal preference?

I warned them in advance, and it proved to be true: My demon is internal logic. If a fantasy book has problems with the internal logic, it really really bugs me. There were a couple books that, to me, really dropped the ball at the end. I didn’t believe the characters would act that way, or I didn’t believe the magic would work that way. And there was one that I thought was lacking in explanation of the fantasy all the way along.

But it’s nice that I’m just one person on the panel. So my personal preferences and idiosyncracies won’t dominate the list, just influence it. I think we have a nice variety of viewpoints and preferences in our panel.

We now have settled on only one book that will definitely be on our shortlist. (Not that any of us think it’s the best — just that there was one book we all agreed on.) We have several to keep for now to discuss later, and we have several more that we sent to a corner with cookies to possibly come back if the list needs rounding out. We’ll be reading and rereading and discussing again later this week.

And we will announce our shortlist to the world on January 1st! Stay tuned!

And don’t forget to tune in next week to look at Harry Potter #1 in British, German, and French!

Get in your Cybils Nominations!

It’s time for Cybils nominations!

The Cybils are children’s book awards given by Kidlit Bloggers. They have a wonderful breadth of categories, and anyone can nominate one item in each category. Nominations are open until October 15. This year’s awards go to anything published in the last year, October 16, 2011 to October 15, 2012.

I confess that I wasn’t ready with my list this morning, so this year I think I’ll wait a little while and then see if anything’s missing from the books I want to be considered. If you want to nominate your very favorites, it helps to get up early! But if any of my favorites slip through the cracks, I’ll give a try to nominating them before October 15.

And I need to start reading like crazy! This year I’m a Round One Panelist in the category of Middle Grade Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’m so looking forward to being forced to read my favorite kind of books. We’ll see if I can handle it!

The Cybils! The Cybils! The Cybils!

Woo-hoo! I’m so excited! This year I get to be a panelist in choosing the Cybils Finalists for Middle Grade Science Fiction and Fantasy!

Anybody remember my Crazy Reading Plan for 2012? Yeah, this will completely and totally mess it up. But then, participating in Capitol Choices (a DC-area group that chooses 100 top children’s books of the year) had already done that. I am planning to have FUN madly reading middle grade fantasy and science fiction for the rest of the year!

Just for fun, I’ll list my stats from before the Cybils reading, January 1 to September 17, 2012. It’s been fun to keep track this year, anyway.

Books I reread: 8
My books read: 8
New Library Books: 11
Award Winners: 7
PrePub ARCs: 8
Older Library Books: 8
Books Read for Capitol Choices (some picture books included): 27
Exceptions: 10 (reasons like meeting the author & the Heavy Medal shortlist)
Nonfiction: 24
Books of Short Stories: 1
Short Chapter Books: 9
Children’s Nonfiction (not included above): 12
Picture Books worth noting: 19
Audiobooks: 12

Total: 164

The only bad thing about this list? There are soooooo many more I’d like to read! But anyway, being a Cybils Panelist will force me to focus. I’m planning to read some books before the Capitol Choices meeting this Friday, and then dive into Middle Grade SF&F!

Read on!