Sunday, March 01, 2009

Celebrating Cybils

I’ve gotten bogged down recently and behind on my poetry news. Please forgive me! I may be the very last person to toot the Cybils horn, but I wanted to anyway. I've had the honor of being invited to participate in the poetry category every year, this year as a judge in the final step. (My fellow judges were a delight and and have also blogged about our process and our choice. Thanks!)

For anyone new to the Cybils, it’s a loose acronym for Children's and YA Bloggers' Literary Awards, focused on celebrating books that exhibit both literary quality and kid appeal. They begin with nominations open to absolutely anyone. Then five nominating committee members read the nominated books (with different committees in multiple categories, from poetry to fiction to nonfiction to graphic novels). Then another panel of five judges selects a single winner.

This year’s Poetry judges included:
Panelists (Round I judges)
Kelly Fineman; Writing and Ruminating
Elaine Magliaro; Wild Rose Reader
Bruce Black; Wordswimmer
Laura Purdie Salas
Julie Danielson; Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Judges (Round II):
John Mutford; The Book Mine Set
Gregory K. Pincus; Gottabook
Jama Rattigan; Alphabet Soup
Liz Garton Scanlon; Liz in Ink
Yours truly (Sylvia Vardell; Poetry for Children)
[A special thank you to Poetry panel Organizer Kelly Fineman at Writing and Ruminating.]

This year’s best poetry book for young people is Honeybee by Naomi Shihab Nye, a poetic hybrid of delicious poetry and lyrical prose poems on wide-ranging themes blending science and observation alongside personal memoir and political challenge. There are ideas buzzing here that young people have probably felt in their gut, but may not have verbalized. Isn't this what poetry is supposed to do?

And just to round up the entire Cybils poetry celebration, here’s the history, with 17 wonderful and varied poetry gems to find, buy, read, share, and promote!

2008 Cybils (31 initial nominations)
by Naomi Shihab Nye (WINNER)
America at War edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Imaginary Menagerie
by Julie Larios
More than Friends: Poems from Him and Her
by Sara Holbrook and Allan Wolf
On the Farm
by David Elliott

2007 Cybils (42 initial nominations)
This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness
by Joyce Sidman (WINNER)
Animal Poems
by Valerie Worth
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village
by Laura Amy Schlitz
Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry edited by Jane Yolen
Poems in Black and White by Kate Miller
Twist: Yoga Poems
by Janet S. Wong
Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath
by Stephanie Hemphill

2006 Cybils (26 initial nominations)
Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow
by Joyce Sidman (WINNER)
Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex
by Douglas Florian
by Walter Dean Myers
Tour America: A Journey Through Poems and Art by Diane Siebert

For more on all the Cybils winners.

Next? Nominations open Oct. 1, 2009 for the 2009-10 contest. It will be here before you know it!

And I’m sure everyone has already joined the Poetry Friday round up, but just in case, go here: Mommy's Favorite Children's Books.

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