A peek behind the scenes

Maybe you’d like to join us next year at Cybils. Perhaps you’re already volunteering, but curious how the other panels went. Or maybe you want to relive the moment when it all came together and your finalists were, well, finalized.

Several of our bloggers have been generous about sharing their experiences and insights this Cybils season.

Stacy DeKeyser gives us a richly detailed account in her post "Diary of a Cybils Committee Member:"

It didn’t take long before I had a handful of favorite
books. And once I had 10 favorites, things got sticky. Because then,
each next book had to be good enough to knock one book out of my top
ten. Let’s just say, after awhile I had at least 20 books in my Top

Once she realized her Top Ten Twenty list looked like no one else’s, it was time to duke it out:

It was 2:18 AM when the 7 finalists were finally determined. We stared
at our computer screens, thinking, "Wow. Are we done?" (well, I know I
did.) We had compromised, and argued for and against, but in the end it
was like arguing over which tastes better, grapes or bananas.

Becky from Farm School
served on our MG/YA nonfiction panel with two heartfelt goals in mind;
the first was for homeschoolers looking for new books to include in
their curricula. And then there was this:

The other reason is that I realize, sadly, that for many non-home
schooling families, nonfiction children’s titles are considered the
second rate, second tier, B List, utility grade, inferior choice when
it comes to children’s books, and I wanted to be able to use an
opportunity like the Cybils, with such a terrific short list of books
of marvelous depth and range, to show that children’s nonfiction is not
only chock full of superior choices, but every inch the equal of

Meanwhile, Pam of MotherReader delves into her favorite books and her delight in which made the fiction picture book list:

I loved The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County
because it also has incredible illustrations — though of a very
different style — and a fantastic, humorous read-aloud kind of story. I
also like that it portrays a segment of African-American culture
without being an “issue” book.

And pity Liz Jones, who suffered from book deprivation:

When the only bookstore in the county is Walmart, and the local
library’s collection dates to the golden age of kidlit, it can be hard
to keep up with what’s out there now. So I felt like a kid on Christmas
morning every time a new pack of books arrived on my porch, and pretty
much read each on the spot (unless there was some pesky task I had to
do, like make dinner;o) As they arrived, I found myself increasingly
fascinated by the trends in content.

Liz launches a fascinating discussion of those trends in graphic novels, if you’re interested. Here’s the link again.

We think the panelists deserve a round of applause. The only people who might not be grateful are our judges, who now have the unenviable task of picking only one winner from our fantastic finalists.

Thanks, all.