Dear Blogger (Part 2)

sandy brehl guest post

Dear Blogger Friend,

I’m pleased that you understood the intent of my previous letter. I worried I might be sounding pushy, but I was simply reaching out to encourage possible interest. Your questions are great ones and I appreciate your interest in learning more about volunteering as a Cybils Awards panelist.

If you’ve hesitated because you have questions about what you will be expected to do, or you’re concerned about feeling like a newbie among veterans, fear not! Working with the supportive volunteer CYBILS board and category leaders is a plus. From my first year of nerves and confusion until I’ve become a bit of a veteran, each leader has been outstanding. Category chairpersons to data managers are continually improving and refining the processes, making participation very user-friendly. Their reminders are helpful, timely, and gracious, while coordination and recording systems get better each year (and were great to start with).

Each year, in each category, I’ve felt lucky to share decision-making with the most knowledgeable, enthused, and engaged readers anywhere. It’s a rich opportunity to “meet” panelists who are interesting folks from across the country. Conversations are informative, fun, and often enlightening about aspects of books I had read or interpreted differently. We talk about specific books of course, favorite and questionable titles, and “fight for” books we think are worthy finalists.

By the way, the Cybils team’s active efforts to bring diverse voices to the process, in both panelists and title considerations, have expanded the spotlight available to me to help focus on books for ALL kids; by ALL authors and illustrators; and on ALL topics. As much as I enjoy participating, I’d willingly step aside to bring more diverse voices into this role.

When crunch time arrives, we need to settle on that painfully small number of “finalist” titles from among so many worthy nominees. The prevailing tone, year after year, has been openness, balance, goodwill, and retaining the interests of young readers as our guiding light. When the decisions are finally made, I’ve always felt the list is one I could fully support. I celebrated the selections and also continued to cheer for my personal favorites that “missed the cut” using my platforms throughout the year.

I won’t risk being too pushy by going on and on, although I could! Thanks for wanting to continue the conversation. Feel free to share this with others, too, who might share our mutual love of finding and celebrating the best in books for young people. I’m always happy to spread the news about the service, support, and benefits of working with the team at CYBILS AWARDS.

All best in reading and reviewing!

signoff SB

“A writer feels happy when the words connect with the reader’s heart.”
― Avijeet Das