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15 February 2012

The Cybils Roundup

I was honored to be chosen as a second round judge for this year's Cybil's Easy Reader and Early Chapter Book categories.  "Second round" means that we get the whittled down list of nominees---the first round judges read ALL the books nominated in the categories and gave us a list of 4-5 in each as their top picks.

I was excited to work with Terry Doherty (our moderator, founder of The Reading Tub), Zoe Toft (#1 UK parent blogger at Playing By the Book), Ashley Barrineau (librarian and blogger at The YA Librarian), Stacey Loscalzo (Children's Literacy Consultant @ http://staceyloscalzo.com/) and Katie Davis (author/illustrator/podcaster @ katiedavis.com).  These gals know their stuff and really love children's books!

How it worked was:  we all read each book; then we got on google docs and email and discussed and ranked each one.  And discussed.  And discussed.  :)  Then, Terry wrote a wonderful blurb for each winner and we edited.  So, below you will find the winners and the blurb that was written about each.  

I'm happy to announce that the winner in the Easy Reader's category was I Broke My Trunk (an Elephant and Piggie book) by Mo Willems.
Piggie is surprised to see Gerald's trunk wrapped in a bandage. When she asks how it happened, Gerald starts a v-e-r-y detailed, humorous explanation. It's wonderful how much suspense can be packed into so few words, leaving readers eager to turn the page.  Willems effectively blends illustration and early-reader vocabulary in a way that allows new readers not only to decode what's happening, but to add emotion to their reading aloud. With wonderful facial expressions and expressive body language, Gerald and Piggie invite the reader into their friendship circle. Elephant and Piggie is an entry-level Easy Reader that works very well for that very first-time, read-by-yourself story, and hits kids in one of their favorite spots: their funny bone!  

And the winner in the Early Chapter book category was Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke.
"Readers of all ages will fall in love with Anna Hibiscus. With beautiful writing and great illustrations, Anna invites us into her world as a young girl from Africa visiting family in Canadaduring the winter.  Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus has a lot of heart and humor. The story not only makes the reader reflect on his/her world, but shows them constructive ways of handling different situations. This is not a "girl book," but a story that celebrates cultural differences and at the same time highlights how childhood cares and concerns are similar around the world. The illustrations - particularly how they are used - add to the story's effectiveness as an early chapter book, making Anna a true friend for developing readers."

I really enjoyed all the books we read, the discussions we had and the people I've met and become friends with because of this panel.  I hope that I'm able to work on it next year, too. 

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