Introducing New Category Chairs

Cybils Awards

Since we are a volunteer organization, as people’s lives and availability change, we need to make changes here as well. We are saying a fond farewell to Pam Margolis (who will remain as a board member), Jenna Ehler, and Joella Basecamp. We appreciated all of their hard work and time over the past years. 

With farewells come welcomes, though. We have three new chairs this year! Here they are:

Shannon Griffin, Middle Grade Fiction ChairShannon Griffin will be chairing Middle Grade Fiction. She writes: “I got my love of reading from my father; he started reading me a Grimm Fairy Tale each night at bedtime from the time I was 2 till I was reading them to him. We then dived into the world of Wonderland with Alice and I was sold! Books became my love and I always had a book (or 2 or 3) with me at all times, and still do. I believe every child deserves to be represented in books and that we need more books out there to show real life situations and the world around us. I discovered Judy Blume’s book It’s Not The End Of The World. My parents were going through a divorce and I felt all alone; that book made me realize I wasn’t alone and that other children were just like me. This is when I learned books have to power to heal.  Books help children learn about life situations, and the world around them. They help them learn respect and empathy in life.  I have a deep passion for books that have the magical power to make a child a life-long reader.  I post on my blog, Magical Wonder of Books, when time allows.” 

Sondy Eklund, YASF ChairSondy Eklund will be chairing Young Adult Speculative Fiction this year.  She  began writing, a website of book reviews, in 2001, after she got a job working in a library on an American Air Force base in Germany and learned that sonder is a German prefix meaning “special.”

Sondy came to libraries after ten years of teaching college math and felt she’d found her calling.  Working half-time in a library meant she read more books than ever, which is why she started writing Sonderbooks to keep track of the great books she wanted to tell others about.  Since then, she came back to America, got divorced, got a Master’s in Library Science, worked full-time as a children’s librarian, and recently became the youth materials selector for her entire public library system – so she still reads voraciously, but has to be more selective in reviewing books, focusing on those that are truly special.

Every year, she posts her favorite books read that year as “Sonderbooks Stand-outs” – and appreciates that like her, the Cybils divide books into many different categories so that there can be many “best” books.

Since 2012, she’s participated as a Cybils judge every year – except for 2017 and 2018, when she was reading for the 2019 Newbery Selection Committee.  She’s mostly judged Middle Grade or Young Adult Speculative Fiction, except for one year when she judged Fiction Picture Books, which happened to be the year a picture book, Last Stop on Market Street, one of our Finalists, won the Newbery Medal.  Since 2021, she’s also serving on the committee to choose books for the Mathical Book Prize, combining her love of children’s books with her love of math. 

When she’s not reading or sometimes when she is, one of her more unusual hobbies is mathematical knitting.  You can see a gallery of her math-related knitting projects at, and a page of math-related books for all ages at

Melissa Wiley, EZ/ECB ChairMelissa Wiley will be chairing the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category this year.  She fell in love with the Kidlitosphere before it even had a name and has been enthusiastically blogging about her family’s reading life at Here in the Bonny Glen since 2005. She is the author of two dozen books for kids and teens, including The Nerviest Girl in the World, The Prairie ThiefFox and Crow are Not Friends, the Inch and Roly series, and the Martha and Charlotte Little House prequels. She also writes middle-grade literature guides for Brave Writer‘s Dart and Arrow programs. In years past, Melissa has served as a Cybils panelist or category chair in YA Fiction, Fiction Picture Books, Graphic Novels, Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books, YA Speculative Fiction and MG Nonfiction. She looks forward to another lively Cybils season filled with harrowing, heartening, and humorous books. She is @melissawiley on Twitter and @melissawileybooks on Instagram.

We’re so glad to have them on our team!