I’ve loved judging the first round Cybils Awards for picture books and board books. There were more than 300 books to read, but it’s been a pleasure to read outstanding books that I hadn’t encountered earlier in the year.
If you don’t know how this award works, anyone can nominate one book in each category. If the book is already nominated though, it cannot be nominated again. All these books then become the short list.
First-round judged read every single book on the shortlist, assuming they are available. I reserved books at my library 50 at a time. I had read some books earlier in the year. Publishers send us books that we can’t get from the library. In a pinch, we read books via eBook or by watching a video read aloud.
I had a very difficult time narrowing down my shortlists. At one point, my picture book short list had over 50 books on it. That’s how great the picture book nominations were! For board books, I had a tougher time. Many board books have interactive bells and whistles that make them fun to read. I balanced that against straight-up text board books. The books that grabbed my attention and would not be painful to read at least 10 times made my list.
My Cybil Award short list is part of the mix with six other judges. We are judging on best book AND what children will like (which is different criteria from, say, the Caldecott). Stay tuned to see which books make the final cut!
What picture books and board books have you enjoyed all year? Thanks for sharing!
My Cybil Award Picture Book Short List
Drawn Together by Minh Le, illustrated by Dan Santat
My Cybil Award Picture Book Honorable Mentions
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
My Cybil Award Board Book Short List
Mirror Play by Monte Shin
My Cybil Award Board Book Honorable Mentions
Opposites (Zoe and Zack) by Jacques Duquennoy
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.