It’s a Fact: #Cybils2021 Needs You

2021 call nonfictionThe heart of the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards (aka CYBILS Awards) is a passion for engaging kids and teens with amazing books, and, by extension, igniting or rekindling the spark that is a love of reading.

We know it isn’t just our passion, it’s yours, too. It’s why you work to

… fill your library with books that fly off the shelves, OR

make the perfect gift, OR

… become the story with the dog-eared pages you’ve read with your kids so many times, OR

maybe why you wrote “that book.” 


So here’s the thing. We need you to help us find them. This year, we are especially in need of readers to serve as judges in our Nonfiction, specifically high school nonfiction. By the time kids become teens, they think reading is just something you have to do for school. Help us persuade and remind them that “book joy” is a real thing.


It is no secret that nonfiction is an amazing book hook for even the most reluctant reader. If you ask a teen, they will likely tell you that these are the books they use for research reports. Expository nonfiction has its place, but it isn’t the only form. History, people, biography, science, social & contemporary issues (among many other subjects) comprise forms of nonfiction that can expand their love of a subject and/or offer compelling, inspiring stories.

Over at the Reading Tub, I post reviews written by teens. I am always thrilled when a review says “I don’t like nonfiction, but I couldn’t put this book down” or “this is history, but it reads like a novel.” Hook. Line. Sinker. Awesome. 

Who should apply?

nonfiction callAnyone who reads nonfiction. Our judges are readers who love to book-talk about what they read, whether it is a traditional blog, GoodReads or LibraryThing, or Instagram. 

Nonfiction authors, we welcome your perspective and expertise, too. If you have a book that could be eligible in (let’s say) the Elementary/Middle-Grade Nonfiction Category (pubbed 10/16/2020 to 10/15/2021), consider applying to judge the High School Nonfiction category.  

HS Nonfiction by the Numbers.

Over the last three years (2018-2020), the High School Nonfiction category has averaged 40 nominated titles. 

  • As a Round 1 Panelist, you have 2.5-ish months to read the nominated books. The detailed guidelines and expectations are here. In all likelihood, you will have already read many of the nominees because, well, you read nonfiction for teens.
  • As a Round 2 Judge, you must read all of the finalists (5 to 7 books) in roughly six weeks More specifics right here.

Bottom Line

If you love nonfiction for teens or are passionate about connecting readers with books that will amaze, motivate, and inspire them, this is your year to apply