Teen Librarian Toolbox
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Sunday Reflections: The Cybils are Here!

For several years, I have had the honor of being a part of The Cybils. The Cybils are book awards given out by bloggers (and readers) for the best of the best in a variety of categories. As a teen librarian, I have been a part of the YA award category. In that category, we look at both literary merit and teen appeal.

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Sometime in October, nominations open up. Then a group of first round panelists read all those nominees and create a “short list” of titles. The short list goes on to a round of judges who will pick one of those titles and declare it the winner of The Cybils for that year.

While reading a ton of books – seriously, this year there were over 200 in the YA speculative fiction category – we have intense behind the scenes discussions about the books we are reading. That’s my favorite part. These discussions always help me look at some of the books a bit differently then I did before. Sometimes, you champion a book; which means that you really have to be able to talk about why you think a certain book should be on the list. Other times, we might have intense discussions about concerns about a book, whether those concerns be about representation, messaging, characterization, etc.

Several years ago, the book I loved most didn’t make the short list at all. I fought long and hard for this book, but no, it was not to be. In the end, I was still super proud and excited about the short list we put together. The process is just as meaningful to me as the list we put together and share with you. I love talking about YA fiction with other people who love YA fiction. But it’s more then just that, these are people who love to really talk in depth about YA. And I can’t stress it enough, it’s challenging, rewarding, intelligent discussion and it can really change your point of view.

Want to know who made this year’s short list? Click on over to The Cybils website. It’s another great list and this year, one of my favorites did indeed make the short list. I’ll give you a hint – it’s the book I blurb!

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