The 2007 Cybils winners

What is it about kids’ books that gets us? For me, it’s about peals of giggles and excited pointing. It’s about the dog-earred, juice-stained, crayon-enhanced pages held together by reams of scotch tape and hope.

Cybils is a comfort zone for the similarly obsessed, where no one has to apologize for preferring the manga version of Shakespeare, and it’s always okay to just look at the pictures. Even those who don’t have kids–or who don’t work with them–can curl up with a trashy teen romance or a goofy science fiction spoof. It’s all good.

We had our fun reading and judging, and now it’s your turn. The winners below are a gift from our hearts to you and the kids you love, even if you’re just indulging an inner child.

–Anne Boles Levy, Editor

The winners’ descriptions are courtesy of the judges in each genre. Where possible, we’ve included a link to the reader who originally nominated the book.

Fantasy and Science Fiction

Elementary/Middle Grade:

The True Meaning of Smekday

by Adam Rex
Nothing has been the same since the Boov invaded Earth and re- named it Smekland. But things get even weirder when twelve-year-
old Gratuity Tucci embarks on a journey to find her missing mother–accompanied by her cat (named Pig), a fugitive Boov (named J.Lo) and
a slightly illegal hovercar–and realizes that there’s more at stake
than just her mother’s whereabouts. A terrific satire with a touching
ending and spot-on illustrations by the author, the novel is
heartwarming and hilarious at the same time. Gratuity’s narrative
voice as she struggles to define "the true meaning of Smekday" will
draw readers in.
Nominated by jennifer, aka literaticat.

Young Adult:

Book of a Thousand Days

by Shannon Hale
Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
On her first day as a Lady’s Maid, Dashti finds herself locked in a
tower for seven years with her Lady, who is being punished for
refusing to marry the Lord of a neighboring land. Thus begins a life-and-death battle against evil and time. Lyrically written and set
in ancient central Asia, this novel retells a little-known Brother’s
Grimm fairy tale with desperate, heart-wrenching emotion. Readers
will be drawn in by the beautiful language and fighting spirit of
Dashti, whose faith, spunk and ingenuity affect not only the
darkness of her tower, but also the hearts and futures of kings.
Nominated by Sarah Miller.

Fiction Picture Books

The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County

by Janice N. Harrington; illustrated by Shelley Jackson
Farrar, Strauss & Giroux
Mama says “NO,” but this farm girl seems determined to
keep right on chasing chickens, especially poor Miss
Hen, the one chicken that always gets away. This
lively story is told in the first-person voice
of our full-of-the-devil young lady, using language
that sings with the vernacular and cadence of true
country storytelling. The illustrations are a perfect
match in spirit, and they move the tale along with
equal verve, using the rich texture of collage,
skilled brush strokes, celebratory colors and
charming whimsy. Best of all, we learn that even the
wildest hearts are capable of warmth and growth.
Nominated by Megan.

Graphic Novels

Elementary/Middle Grade:

Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel

written by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
illustrated by Giovanni Rigano and Paolo Lamanna
The comics format proves a good match for Eoin Colfer’s tale of war between fairies and an obsessed young genius, already popular around the world in novel form. The energetic, manga-influenced drawings capture
the book’s technologically heavy action and many magical creatures. The book’s creative team uses comics techniques from character profiles to changes in lettering to lead readers through the novel’s shifting points
of view and sympathies. A truly over-the-top adventure.
Nominated by Brandon.

Young Adult:

The Professor’s Daughter

written by Joann Sfar; illustrated by Emmanuel Guibert
First Second
In late Victorian London, the frustrated daughter of an archaeologist and the repressed son of an Egyptian pharaoh fall in love. That he’s been dead for many centuries is the least of their problems. The twisting,
fast-paced story that follows takes readers to many landmarks of classic English adventure tales, from the British Museum and Scotland Yard and into the private study of Queen Victoria herself. While the panel layout is the same on nearly every page, the scenes inside those boxes jump from slapstick action to tender reminiscences to deadly danger.
Nominated by Liz B.

Middle Grade Novels

A Crooked Kind of Perfect
by Linda Urban
Harcourt Children’s Books
A genuinely funny middle-grade reader; how nice to read a book that
isn’t depressing or heavy, yet has its own emotional weight. This book is guaranteed to make even reluctant readers smile, with
sufficient details to hold the interest of more advanced readers too.
If the point of the Cybils is to balance kid-friendly qualities
with literary panache, then Urban’s first novel has that. And
while some may protest that it’s not a terribly deep story, it has
heart, love, a good storyline, and characters you can get behind.
Readers are bound to fall in love with its stunning voice, the amazing
details that Urban shares of 11-year-old Zoe’s life, and the lovely
relationships that occur between Zoe and her music teacher, her Dad
and Mom, and her friends.
Nominated by Kelly Fineman.

Nonfiction MG/YA books

Tasting the Sky:
A Palestinian Childhood

by Ibtisam Barakat
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Tasting the Sky is beautifully written and conveys the fear, confusion and
tumult of war, but it’s also an
excellent memoir of childhood in any culture: the broad injustices, the
importance of trivial things, the mysteries of the adult world. The setting is both vital to the story–in terms of the war
and the political situation–and strangely unimportant, when it comes to
classic childhood themes of sibling rivalry, loss of a pet and going to
school. The committee felt that Tasting the Sky had the best balance between
high literary merit and kid appeal; the story is timely, and one kids will relate to and enjoy reading. Barakat’s narrative is
gripping and remarkably devoid of anger and hate. We were impressed how she
kept the narrative through her young eyes, choosing not to zoom out and give
an overview of the situation to reassure the reader about the bigger picture
or what lay ahead. Barakat never does, and the reader is left to experience
events from the height of a three-year-old, frightened and unsure.
Nominated by Brooke.

Nonfiction Picture Books


by Brian Floca
Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
Gin rummy, wave-tossed trips to "the head," and a cat that can’t get used to the deck-shaking horn are among the intriguing details in Floca’s nuanced, well-rounded view of life on board this now-retired Coast Guard vessel. The story he tells is simple yet captivating because a lightship is likely nothing you’ve ever heard of and you just keep on turning the pages to find out more about this curious ship. Floca’s art–rich in variety and intricately detailed– complements the humor in his spare, poetic text. Shine a light and gather a crew for this fabulous read-aloud.
Nominated by Susan Thomsen.


This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness

by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Houghton Mifflin
Everyone messes up. The characters in Sidman’s original, funny, and heart-wrenching book certainly do. But in individual poems spoken in utterly believable and age-appropriate voices, by turns hilarious and piercing, this collection offers poems of apology and response that build to an overarching story that will knock your emotional socks off. Kids can read this book straight through like a short story, flip back and forth between the poems of apology and response, study the form and style of a favorite poem, follow one of the appealing, diverse characters, or lose themselves in the expressive and clever illustrations. And if they are suddenly overcome by the urge to write their own imperfect, but perfectly honest, poems after reading this book, it will be with the blessing of poets like Sidman, who understands that poetry is for everyone, and especially for those who mess up.
Nominated by Liz in Ink.

Young Adult Novels

Boy Toy

by Barry Lyga
Houghton Mifflin
Lyga’s Boy Toy is a story that everyone thinks they understand: Teacher Has Affair With Student. However, this book guides readers beyond sensationalism and straight into empathy, challenging expectations and assumptions on every page. Lyga’s prose is unflinching and the result is heartbreaking and unforgettable.
Nominated by Teen Troves.

Comments 37

  1. Sheila Ruth

    What a great group of books! Congratulations to all the authors, illustrators and publishers behind these outstanding books. A big thanks to all the judges who had the tough job of choosing the winners.

  2. Shelf Elf

    Yay Linda Urban and her perfect, perfect Crooked Kind of Perfect! I have no idea how you MG Judges did it, but congratulations on your hard work. I’m proud to have been part of this process and I can’t wait to read the Graphic Novel and YA winners. Hooray us!

  3. Anna J. Boll

    Hooray for the Chicken Chasing queen. I’m glad to see this book win after Hugo pushed it out of the Caldecott position. The lively collaged illustrations seemlessly weave story, picture and type. So glad to see a book with an African-American family get the Cybils honor.

  4. Little Willow

    Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners, and many thanks to all of the organizers, panelists, judges, booksellers, librarians, teachers, bloggers, and bookish folks who have actively supported the Cybils.

  5. Fraser

    Kuddos to all of the nominees, the winners, and the entire Cybils community! You have a rich group of individuals here – truly a special group!

  6. aquafortis

    Hooray! I was so happy to work with everyone as both an organizer and a panelist, and I can’t wait to read the winners that I haven’t had a chance to read yet.

  7. Barry Lyga

    Wow! Thank you so much!
    Thanks to the committee, to the judges, to those who nominated me…
    This is a real honor, and I’m both surprised and thrilled.
    Congratulations to the other finalists and to all of the nominees!

  8. Anne

    Not to worry, Natasha: We’re leaving up both the links to the finalists and our printable list for people to take shopping.
    And I can vouch that “Go to Bed, Monster!” has sold at least a few copies via this site, and likely more through word-of-blog.
    Thanks so much for such a wonderful book, and for supporting us here at Cybils.

  9. Linda Urban

    Thank you, thank you, hard working Cybils people! I’m delighted to have my book listed among the honored.
    Congratulations to all the other winners and finalists!

  10. Meg Burden

    Congratulations to the winners! 🙂
    (Special congrats to Shannon Hale on winning the YA SF&F category! I can’t wait to read “Book of a Thousand Days.”)
    And a huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to the Cybils team for all of your hard work and the HOURS of reading and blogging and thought you put into this fantastic contest. <3

  11. Brenda Ferber

    Great choices all around! This award is one of my favorites because it balances reader appeal with literary merit.

  12. Laura Resau

    Big congrats to all the winners! It’s been an honor to be a finalist. I appreciate the Cybils committee’s hard work, and can’t wait to read more of the winners’ and other finalists’ books!

  13. Rose Kent

    Congrats to all in the process.
    What fantastic selections. Attaboy and attagirl to all the Cybil committee’s members!

  14. Ypulse

    Ypulse Book Essentials: ‘Twilight’: The Movie, Reading For Fun, Remembering Ramona And Beezus

    Twilight is going to the big screen (What I think is most exciting is the director — Catherine Hardwicke. Remember “Thirteen”?) (Defamer) ‘What are they reading for fun?’ (Public librarians from around the country talk about the interests of their…

  15. Sharon

    As a children’s librarian, I so appreciate children and YA literature…
    I am new to “discovering” the Cybils, and glad to see this wonderful list,
    thanks for all your hard work!

  16. Janice N. Harrington

    To the Cybils Award Committee:
    I am . . . stunned and deeply grateful to the many readers who have enjoyed the Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County. It is profoundly moving to me that my work has been selected by a virtual community of diverse readers who talk about, argue over, defend, cheer on, and celebrate reading. You are my heroes: Thank you! I must add that Chicken Chasing would not have been possible with the editorial artistry of Melanie Kroupa, the visual wizardry of Shelley Jackson, and the incredible bookmakers of Farrar, Straus, Giroux. They gave my story wings. The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County is based on memories of my own obsession: I wanted to catch my Big Mama’s rooster. It was my childhood mission, but was always foiled. Just the sign of me sent my grandmother’s chickens into fits of conniption: squawwkkkkk! But thanks to your generous reading, I feel as if I’ve “caught” a dream at last: readers who shsare our common love for stories, and that’s all any writer needs to fly. In closing, I am humbled to be in the company of the Cybil winners for 2007, O such wonderful authors: Thank you.

  17. Jacqueline

    Just discovered this blog! Love it! I was thrilled to see a link for a printer friendly version of the winners but it ended up not being what I was looking for. I was looking for just a list of the books on one page so that I could take that one page to the library with me to check out the books. I can make the list myself but thought I would mention that it might be a good addition to the site in the future.

  18. Haleyyy ! :DD

    I lovelovelovelovelove the bookl boy toy. It makes it so every young adult knows whats going on & can understand it. I would for sure recommend it to anyone who is thinking of reading it (:

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