2006 Cybils Finalists

Fantasy and Science Fiction

Ptolemy’s Gate
by Jonathan Stroud
Hyperion: Miramax

Magician John Mandrake (a.k.a. Nathaniel), rebel commoner Kitty, and wise-cracking, sarcastic djinni Bartimaeus are drawn together in spite of their differences to battle a powerful evil. The three learn more about each other and try to come to terms with their past, in this stunning series conclusion that also stands well alone.

Silver City
by Cliff McNish
Carolrhoda Books

The second in an astonishingly original trilogy, Cliff McNish’s Silver City continues the story of six extraordinary and special children and how they are preparing to defend the world against an alien being, known only as the Roar, that is heading their way through space. A gripping sequel to The Silver Child, which nonetheless can be read as a stand-alone (though we recommend the entire series).

Beka Cooper: Terrier
by Tamora Pierce
Random House

Beka Cooper is one tough-but-vulnerable heroine who fights crime in a world of magic. Her passion to save the kidnapped children of the Lower Side, along with some action-packed scrapes with thieves and rogues, makes Beka Cooper a must read of 2006.

Last Dragon, The
by Silvana de Mari
Hyperion: Miramax

The Last Dragon is a clever, playful, and funny story with a lot of kid appeal. A very young elf, trying to stay alive in a world darkened by rain and oppression, finds life full of surprises as he tries to follow the destiny laid out for him in an ancient prophecy.

by Melanie Gideon
Penguin: Razorbill

Pucker by Melanie Gideon is the story of seventeen-year-old Thomas Quicksilver who was disfigured in a fire when he was a child back before he and his mother were exiled to Earth from Isaura, a "pocket of a world," a parallel reality. His voice is both modestly wiseass and yet mature and sophisticated. Thomas sounds like a teenager, but one who is self-aware instead of self-obsessed.

Fiction Picture Books

Emily’s Balloon
Written and illustrated by Komako Sakai
Chronicle Books

A bittersweet glimpse into the mind of a toddler who has befriended a yellow balloon.

Learning to Fly
Written and illustrated by Sebastian Meschenmoser

A simple book with an important message, this is the story of a penguin who wants to fly and his friend who helps him. The humorous illustrations add to this message about dreams and friendship.

Scaredy Squirrel
Melanie Watt
Kids Can Press

An anxious squirrel, who is most comfortable staying in his familiar surroundings and sticking to his rigid daily schedule, is surprised when the unexpected occurs. The illustrations and the text features add to the humor.

Waiting for Gregory
Written by Kimberly Willis Holt; illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
Henry Holt and Co.

A young girl, living in the whimsical, imaginative world that only Gabi Swiatkowska can create, anticipates with great excitement the birth of her cousin, only to grow increasingly confused by her family’s peculiar responses to her questions about exactly how and when the baby will arrive.

Written and illustrated by Emily Gravett
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

A clever book-within-a-book that uses expressive collage and mixed media to tell the tale of a curious rabbit who finds real-life adventure in addition to the information he expects when he checks out a library book about wolves.

Graphic Novels

Elementary/Middle Grade

Amelia Rules, vol. 3: Superheroes
by Jimmy Gownley
Renaissance Press

This book has a great cast of characters and bright, colorful art that uses the space on each page in creative ways. The issues dealt with by the kids in this book don’t shirk from the hard stuff of kids’ lives: divorce, moving, bullying, and a friend dying. But these tough issues are presented in very kid-friendly ways.

Babymouse: Beach Babe
by Jennifer Holm and Matt Holm
Random House

This book is just right for this age group. Babymouse deals with typical problems of childhood. The illustrator uses of color in the art as a visual cue when Babymouse is dreaming.

The Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy’s Great Idea
by Ann Martin, Rina Telgemeier

There are a variety of personalities in the characters, and the girls work well together, showing initiative and solving problems. The art is a nice blend of American Comics and Manga styles.

Kat and Mouse
by Alex De Campi; pictures by Federica Manfredi

Two "less cool girls" in a clique-filled private school use their brains to solve a mystery and win out over the evil "cool" kids. A science experiment in the back gives the reader a chance to try the science the girls used to solve the mystery. The art is a good introduction to Manga style art.

To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel
by Siena Siegel and Mark Siegl
Aladdin / Simon & Schuster

This book is a graphic memoir. The story and the art work exceptionally well together. The book has a great message for anyone who must abandon his/her first passion: you can go back to it, in some form, later in life.

Young Adult

American Born Chinese
by Gene Yang
First Second

The story in this book speaks to the universal experience of any teen who has just wanted to fit in. The blend of the three story strands is masterful.

Castle Waiting
by Linda Medley

[In this 450+ page fairy tale, the art is very detailed and perfectly matched to the story. The author creates a believable world with unique and believable characters, weaving together well-known fairy tale fragments and allusions in her completely original story.

Dramacon Vol. 2
by Svetlana Chmakova
Tokyo Pop

This book give the reader an insider’s view of the world of comic making: what it’s like to go to a Con, how a young writer or artist breaks into the industry, even the debate between pure Manga and the new artistic styles that blend Manga and American Comics.

Flight Vol. 3
by Kazu Kibuishi & others

This is a great collection of stories and styles — artistic styles as well as storytelling styles. Definitely a book to read again and again.

La Perdida
by Jessica Abel

he search for one’s identity is rarely an easy thing. The character in this book is naiive, idealistic, and in Mexico without being able to speak fluent Spanish. The story is layered with art, politics, history, culture, and language.

Middle Grade Fiction

Drowned Maiden’s Hair, A
Laura Amy Schlitz

This gothic page-turner features a feisty orphan, a houseful of secrets, and a villain preying on unsuspecting victims.

Frank Cottrell Boyce
Harper Collins

Take a small grey Welsh town. Add great works of art. Stir.

Mike Lupica

A heartwarming tale of immigration, baseball and familial love. It’s a reminder of what the U.S.A. and Americans can be.

Kiki Strike
Kirsten Miller

What’s better than Girl Scouts, books, and an underground world under New York City? Absolutely nothing! That’s why Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City one of the most entertaining books of the year.

Cynthia Kadohata

WWII serves as the backdrop to this tale of internment, friendship, and growing flowers in the dry desert dust of Arizona.

Nonfiction: Middle Grade & Young Adult

by Sid Fleischman

Freedom Walkers
by Russell Freedman
Holiday House

Immersed in Verse
by Alan Wolf
Lark Books

Isaac Newton
by Kathleen Krull; illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Team Moon
by Catherine Thimmesh
Houghton Mifflin

Nonfiction Picture Books

3-D ABC: A Sculptural Alphabet
written and illustrated by Bob Raczka
Milbrook Press

This art exhibit in a book begins with "A is for Arrow" and ends with "Z is for Zigzags." In between a and z, readers are treated to a visual feast, with the different types of sculpture and the materials they use both indoors and out clearly explained.

Aliens Are Coming
written and illustrated by Meghan McCarthy

McCarthy’s funny illustrations— of wide-eyed cartoonish people in a panic, drooling aliens on city streets, and long-legged Martian vehicles taking over the country—are among the many highlights of the book subtitled The True Account Of The 1938 War Of The Worlds Radio Broadcast.

An Egg Is Quiet
by Dianna Aston; illustrated by Sylvia Long
Chronicle Books

This uncommonly elegant title explores eggs in their many shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and other qualities. With layered, wonder-filled text and gorgeous ink-and-watercolor art, it’s earned a standing ova-tion.

An Island Grows
by Lola M. Schaefer; illustrated by Cathie Felstead
Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins

Simple rhymed couplets and colorful collage illustrations tell of an island’s formation, from the initial undersea volcanic eruption to the arrival of flora, fauna, people and culture. A graceful, engaging lesson in basic geology for young children.

Little Lost Bat
written by Sandra Markle; illustrated by Alan Marks

Markle describes the early life of the Mexican free-tailed bat. Her research is reflected in the storyline which also has an emotional tug to pull the child into the book. Marks evokes the darkness of the cave and evening sky and tenderly depicts the faces of mother and child.


Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow
by Joyce Sidman; illustrated by Beth Krommes
Houghton Mifflin

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich
written and illustrated by Adam Rex
Harcourt Children’s Books

written and illustrated by Douglas Florian
Greenwillow Books/ HarperCollins

written by Walter Dean Myers; illustrated by Christopher Myers
Holiday House

Tour America: A Journey Through Poems and Art
written by Diane Siebert; illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson
Chronicle Books

Young Adult Fiction

Book Thief, The
written by Markus Zusak
Knopf Books for Young Readers

Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, A
written by Dana Reinhardt
Wendy Lamb Books

Hattie Big Sky
written by Kirby Larson
Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Knopf Books for Young Readers

Rules of Survival, The
written by Nancy Werlin