Category Description: Board Books

Cybils Awards logo, 500 px

Just say the phrase “board book” and you’re bound to hear an “awww” or a “fun!” It happens in my house all the time! We share these books with our youngest readers-to-be.

These are our child’s first stories – at playtime, before nap, and as bedtime stories. Opening a board book to uncover what’s inside is like magic to them … and the best ones are read over and over and over again, until we can recite them by heart. Board books also help us show infants and toddlers how books work. They are sized for their little hands with thicker pages to help them build fine motor skills and practice “reading” for themselves. They are built with a toddler’s wear-and-tear in mind.

Although board books are part of the Fiction Picture Books Category, they are judged separately. Here are the eligibility requirements:

  • Written for children infant to two years old;
  • Cloth, vinyl, or paper construction [read: cardboard];
  • Have a short page count, with a close picture-to-text ratio and a limited vocabulary; and
  • Sized for infants and toddlers to hold.
  • Board books may contain interactive elements that are structurally integrated in the book. This includes devices such as flaps or moving parts. All multi-piece books – including those that carry a “Not suitable for children under 3” warning – are not eligible.

These are additional exclusions:

  • No board books previously published as a picture book.
  • No board books featuring / based on licensed characters.
  • No non-narrative ABC or counting books.
  • One additional distinction for the Board Book Category: in addition to the Cybils’ criteria for literary quality and kid appeal, board books will also be evaluated for durability.

- Sam Richardson, Category chair

Last edited 7/24/2023