A behind-the-scenes look at the nominating panels

Fifty-some bloggers on eight committees are busy finding, reading, and evaluating the hundreds of titles nominated for the 2007 Cybils. What will they be doing and thinking about when choosing the best children’s and YA books of 2007?

I. Organizers

Each panel organizer supervises the full list of nominations, which includes:

    • Making sure a book has been nominated in the correct category. If not, she must forward the nomination to the appropriate committee organizer;
    • Setting up a discussion group (on Yahoo!groups, for example) for the nominating committee. The organizer will remain on the discussion board to present lists or discuss review copies until Nov. 21. After that, the organizer will exit the discussion board if she isn’t a member;
    • Presenting the list to panelists to find out who has read which books;
    • Asking that each book be read by at least two panelists.
    • There’s a 50-page rule in place: Each book will be read by at least two members of each panel up to page 51 (and, of course, to the end if it’s a contender);
    • The nominating committee will begin its work on Nov. 21. Panelists may, of course, begin reading before then, but there are no discussions beforehand.

II. Nominating Panel

  1. Each panelist should present a list of his or her 10 favorite
    books from the long list to the committee. When compiling this list,
    each person should consider the following:

    • Writing (and, if pertinent, illustration);
    • Kid appeal (to discuss "kid appeal," click here)
    • Is it a book an older child, or even an adult, will rush to finish, before reading it a second time?
    • Is the book innovative? Does it surprise you with something new?
    • Does the book speak to you as a reader?
  2. Books that are on everyone’s lists should be set aside for further discussion.
  3. Panelists who have made unique choices should argue their position: Why should this book be on the shortlist?
  4. Books read by only two members should receive particular attention
    by those two readers. They should argue why or why not this book
    deserves to be on the shortlist.
  5. Panelists then return to the top-10 lists. When there’s clear agreement, they should see it with overlap.
  6. They can then duke it out via the discussion list. At this point, a
    few more books may have to be read. A few cases may have to be argued.
  7. Committee organizers must have their lists of finalists (5-7
    titles) to Anne no later than noon on Dec. 28. The nominating committee
    should also write a sentence or two explaining why each book was
    selected for the shortlist. The shortlists will be posted Jan. 1.

–Kelly Herold, Director and co-founder