Summer is coming … and so is #CYBILS2024

This year, Memorial Day is more than the unofficial start of summer, it is also the unofficial start of the 2024 CYBILS Awards. In just a few days we will be launching the start of #CYBILS2024.

Last year we tested a Summer Reading Period as a way to allow people to see what being a CYBILS Awards judge is like before making a firm commitment, as well as

  • read books that will be eligible in their category.
  • read and/or review books without any constraints.
  • discuss books in a friendly, casual atmosphere.
  • recommend books to each other and get comfortable with the process.
  • discover books they hope to be nominated.

Although the results were mixed, overall feedback was positive. Participants enjoyed the opportunity to get a jump on fall reading and discovering new-to-them books they wouldn’t have learned about if it weren’t for being on the panel.

So guess what? We’re doing it again! There are a couple of changes we want you to know up front.

  • Summer Reading Panelists do not need to re-apply in the fall if they stay in the same category. If a panelist wants to change categories, they will need to re-apply in the later Call for Judges to be considered for the “new” category.
  • The Board decided to suspend Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books as a distinct category. We will not be accepting nominations of the more formulaoc/workbook type Easy Readers. Other easy readers and early chapter books will be nominated in the appropriate fiction, nonfiction, or graphic novels category.

Applications & Categories

The Early Call will open on May 27 and run through June 15. It will be the same application process we have always used. The participating categories include

  • Board Books/Fiction Picture Books
  • Nonfiction (Elem/MG)
  • Nonfiction (High School)
  • Graphic Novels (Elem, MG, YA)
  • Poetry
  • Elementary/Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction
  • Elementary/Middle-Grade Fiction
  • YA Speculative Fiction
  • YA Fiction

Frequently Asked Questions

If I can’t participate in June, will that hurt my chances to be a judge?

Not at all. First, not all categories are participating in the June call. Second, we don’t expect to fill all slots within a category panel. 

How do I know if I’m selected?

Short of the database, we will use the process we always have. Category chairs review the applications to identify panelists who want to get a jump on reading in their category. The chairs will then reach out to confirm your interest and, once the group is set, create a communication system for the group.

How will communications work?

The chair will create some type of “group” channel so that everyone can talk about books. There are no decisions to be made (i.e., these aren’t nominations), so communication will be “lightly” structured to fit with the goals of more leisurely reading, discussion, and building camaraderie. 

If I participate in the Early Call, am I committed to being a Round 1 judge in the fall?

No. Summer panelists will have the opportunity to stay where they are, move to Round 2, or decide not to participate. We hope the latter isn’t the case, but we do understand. It is a busy time of year.

Note: Summer panelists who want to change categories will need to re-apply in the fall.

What if the category I love isn’t listed in the Early Call?

You are welcome to apply for one of the participating categories and request a change in the fall. That won’t get you a jump on the reading in your favorite category, but it does give you a chance to meet other panelists and talk books. Who knows, you might just find a new love.

Do we have to review books and update the database?
We will not be using the database for the summer. Panelists are reading books that are eligible in their category, not nominees. That process doesn’t begin until October 1. Reviews are always welcome, and it may be a way for you to personally remember books as you read them. However, there is no requirement to write them. 

We hope we have answered all your questions. If not, drop it as a comment below or email us at info@cybils.com.

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