Judging Overview

Who’s eligible: Anyone who posts regularly about children’s or young adult books on media such as a blog or vlog, podcast, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and/or dedicated book review sites like GoodReads.

In CYBILS lingo, "regularly" means at least twice per month, but there are always exceptions. Ask us if you’re not sure.

What we look for: Category Chairs want judges whose reviews go beyond a summary and include substance related to their thoughts about a book (positive or negative).

How to sign up: There are two rounds of judging, and two types of judges. Please read what's expected before signing up.

Fill out the application form (available here in mid-August), but first read the job description (Round 1 / Round 2). Yes, it bears repeating. Don’t say you weren’t warned! Oh, and don’t email us to apply. The form is all you need.

Important Note: You must also be at least 16 years old before Oct. 1st. If you’re under 18, we’ll likely ask for an email from a parent saying that you understand the work involved.

More information about judging:

Picking Judges

Please don’t stop the love if we cannot find a place for you on a panel. We’re not judging your looks. It doesn’t mean all your blogging efforts have come to naught. But, yes, it’s ultimately a subjective decision on whom to take on and where to place them. Here are a few of the more obvious criteria, in no real order:

  1. An expertise in the genre, as demonstrated in your sample submitted posts;
  2. A demonstrated enthusiasm for blogging, vlogging, posting, or podcasting, with high quality, original, value-added content;
  3. A review site that has built a following (not necessarily a huge one — loyalty counts too);
  4. Prestige (i.e., you might be an award-winning illustrator, or have a Ph.D. in children’s poetry);
  5. Overall diversity of the judges. This doesn’t mean we have quotas, either for the total pool of judges or for any individual category. But we are committed to making sure the overall organization includes a wide variety of voices. In some years, that’s meant recruiting guys so we don’t resemble an all-estrogen-fest. It all depends on who shows up.

One final note: This is a TON of work. Honest. But loads of fun too.

Judging Application

The Call for Judges begins mid-August, and we will begin accepting applications at that time. This is roughly a 3-week window, and once it closes you will have to wait until next year.

In the application, you will be asked to rank the three categories you would like to judge, and to provide sample reviews in those categories. Our chairs try to give everyone their first or second choice, please note this isn’t always possible. Why do we say that? Because we want to make sure all three of your choices are ones you could live with.

Do you have a relationship with an author, illustrator, or publisher with an eligible book? Not sure if it disqualifies you from applying? We've got answers.

Don't want to click? This might help: If you feel the need to check, pick a different category.

When the call opens, the link to the application form will appear here.