Monday, February 14, 2011

I Heart the Cybils Winners

It's Valentine's Day, and you know what that means: a red, heart-shaped box of Cybils winners! Let's hear some book love, folks! Because the Cybils Awards famously attempt what some cynical souls call impossible, selecting the best children's books of the past year in terms of both literary quality and kid appeal. (They also give things like graphic novels and poetry their own categories, which is gratifying.)

Here is the link to the full list of winners. Happily, it's annotated so that you can get a feel for just why these bibliophilic blogger judges chose the books they did.

I should know, since I was a Cybils judge for middle grade sci-fi/fantasy. Take a look at the book jacket for the winner in our category, along with this ever-so-lovely blurb, which I shall not deny having a hand in writing:
Who wouldn't want to explore a house haunted by paintings that won't come off the walls and three colorful talking cats that slink in and out of attics as well as other dimensions? When Olive Dunwoody moves into a strange old house with her absent-minded mathematician parents, she falls headlong into the mysteries of the past and the dangers of the painted worlds. The judges especially liked the clear kid appeal created by The Shadows' humor, pacing and suspense, but they also admired the small-scale world-building and the metaphor-rich, well-crafted language in this fantasy novel from first-time author Jacqueline West. A book any teacher, librarian, or parent could easily sell to reluctant readers and skilled readers alike.
Congratulations to Jacqueline West and to all of the winners! There were two full rounds of judging involved in selecting these books and the final list is a nice little treasure trove, so check out the top picks and see if you've missed something you and your child would really love reading.


Anonymous said...

Oh that was YOU who picked this? How awesome! I can't get over the kid appeal of this book. I thought from the first moment I saw a description of it that I would have LOOOOOVVVVVVED it as a kid, and I've thought it's funny how many other people I've seen say the same thing. But technically I guess that means it's just got kid appeal, period.

Kate Coombs said...

I was on the team that picked it! I'm so pleased with how many people are happy with our choice (though I know you can't please everyone, ever). Anyway, the other good news is that the sequel's coming out this summer!

melissa @ 1lbr said...

And thanks again for writing such a fabulous blurb :)

Kate Coombs said...

Aw shucks, Melissa... (Your input was very helpful!)