CHICAGO, Illinois – Like all revolutions, this one started small, with a single post on a blog devoted to children’s literature. The Newbery Medals seemed too elitist and the Quills, well, not enough so.
Was there a middle ground, an annual award that would recognize both a book’s merits and popularity?
The answer: invent one! Within hours, this meme had circulated among some of the biggest bloggers in the burgeoning kidlitosphere, the cozy corner of the Web where children’s books are given the same regard as their grown-up counterparts.
Within days, the new awards had a name and a website: The Cybils, a loose acronym for Children’s and YA Bloggers’ Literary Awards. Nominations quickly opened in eight categories, from picture books up to Young Adult fiction and even graphic novels.
In keeping with the democratic and unpredictable nature of the blogosphere, anybody can nominate a book, so long as it was published in 2006 in English. Yep, anybody: teens can log their choices, authors can nominate themselves, random Googlers can leave word too.
Nominations close Nov. 20. Then comes the literary part. Panels comprised of bloggers with expertise in their category will cull the lists down to five finalists (to be announced Jan. 1). After that, judges step in to pick the winners.
Who are these smarty-pants panelists and judges? Some have impressive bona fides, including, yes, a Newbery judge. Others are your garden-variety librarians, teachers, homeschoolers, authors and illustrators, parents and the kidlit-obsessed.
“Think of it as Wal-Mart meets Nordstrom over kids’ books,” said Anne Boles Levy, a freelance writer who blogs at Book Buds Kidlit Reviews. “Bedtime will never be the same.”
Anne Boles Levy, email@example.com
Kelly Herold, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey, I get to be one of those “smarty-pants panelists and judges.” I’m one of the judges for the Middle Grade Fiction category, and I’m looking forward to reading the nominated books and picking the best. You are needed to nominate books in each of the categories, and some bloggers are still needed to serve on the nominating and judging committees for some categories. Go over and check it out.