The finalists have been selected for the Cybils -- the Children's and YA Bloggers' Literary Awards!!! The very hard working panelists have completed their ridiculously impossible task of whittling lists of around eighty nominated books down to five finalists for each category. Now the judging can begin! And as avid readers of this blog may remember, I was lucky enough to be allowed to serve on one of the judging committees. Judges have a much easier task than the panelists did. It's our job to read the five finalists and select a winner for the category.
So I have to read five books in the next couple weeks.
Reading five books is not exactly torture for me. I LOVE books. I think that bookstores are better than Disney World and that libraries are a little slice of heaven. We keep having to buy more bookshelves because I overflow them. When I go to the library, I have to force myself to stick to the rule: no taking out more books than I can carry in one trip to the car. (I need this rule. The first time my husband accompanied me to the library, he offered to carry the books for me. Filled with glee, I skipped through the aisles, flinging books into his arms with wild abandon. We came home with about 40. Okay, it was more like 60. He now knows better than to accompany me to the library.)
Anyway, I thought I would be reading five fantasy and science fiction books. After all, I'd been placed on the Fantasy and Science Fiction judging committee. That would have meant that I would be reading these five fabulous books:
PTOLEMY'S GATE by Jonathan StroudSILVER CITY by Cliff McNishBEKA COOPER: TERRIER by Tamora Pierce
THE LAST DRAGON by Silvana de Mari
PUCKER by Melanie Gideon
selected after much deliberation by the Fantasy and Science Fiction nominating committee: Sheila Ruth, Michele, Gail Gauthier, Erin, and Kim Baccellia.
But that's where things got tricky. Notice that one of the finalists in the F/SF category is Tamora Pierce's new book, TERRIER. And as avid readers of this blog (or anyone who has come in contact with me for more than ten seconds in the past few months) know, Tamora Pierce has written a blurb for my forthcoming book, INTO THE WILD. As a result, it might have looked a bit fishy if I picked her book for a Cybil. So... I got booted off the F/SF committee! Well, more accurately, to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, I offered to switch to another category. Fortunately, Patty Cryan agreed to switch places with me, and I landed (quite happily) on the Middle Grade Fiction judging committee. And while it's too bad that I won't get to read those F/SF books (who am I kidding, I'll read them anyway!) and chat with the other F/SF judges (J.L. Bell, Fairrosa, Greg Fishbone, and Cassie Richoux), I'm very excited about joining the MG committee.
The MG committee is chaired by librarian/blogger extraordinaire, Betsy Bird, who has been wonderful about welcoming me to her committee. My fellow MG judges -- Jen Robinson, Eric Berlin, Sherry Early, and Brooke -- have also made me feel right at home. And I'm really looking forward to reading the five MG finalists:
A DROWNED MAIDEN'S HAIR by Laura Amy SchlitzFRAMED by Frank Cottrell Boyce
HEAT by Mike Lupica
KIKI STRIKE by Kirsten Miller
WEEDFLOWER by Cynthia Kadohata
selected with great care by the Middle Grade Fiction nominating committee: Betsy Bird, Kelly Herold, Stephanie Ford, Mitali Perkins, and Tracy Chrenka.
This is going to be SO much fun. These books look really great -- though, of course, they would benefit from a few more dragons, unicorns, and telepathic cats...
But really, what book wouldn't?