Book Apps – Cybils 2012

Welcome to the last of our last trilogy of posts about the panelists and judges for the 2012 Cybils. I had previously done the Easy Readers / Short Illustrated Chapter books, so I am leaping forward to Book Apps!

We are now closing in on 72 hours until the opening day of nominations for the 2012 Cybils. How’d we get here so fast? On with the finale …

Category: Book Apps
Category Chair: Mary Ann Scheuer
Mary Ann blogs at  Great Kid Books and tweets @MaryAnnScheuer

Multi-tasking Mary Ann is how she’s introduced herself lately – but perhaps that’s apt as we delve into the world of Book Apps that seem to do so many things at once. Mary Ann is a school librarian, mom to three, grad student and blogger. Each day she spreads a love of reading with 300 elementary students in Berkeley, CA at Emerson Elementary School, a diverse and thriving public school. Each night she divides her time between blogging at Great Kid Books and pursuing her Masters in Library and Information Sciences at San Jose State University.  Mary Ann has jumped into the app world with both feet. She chaired the inaugural 2011 Cybils Book App committee, and now she’s also part of the AASL task force to select the Top 25 Apps for Teaching and Learning. At her school, she’s launched a pilot program investigating the way that iPads can help elementary school children learn and explore. More than anything, the best part is seeing how this new technology can engage children in meaningful ways.

Round 1 Panelists

Carissa Kluver, parent
Digital Media Diet and @iPad_storytime
Carisa Kluver is the editor of, a review site for iPad picture book apps. Founded in December 2010, this site has more than 300 reviews in a sortable database with individual ratings for animation, interactivity, originality, educational value, audio quality, bedtime, re-readability and extras.

Lalitha Nataraj, librarian
Masala Reader  and @librarian_lali
Hi, I’m a youth services & community college librarian living in Southern California with my husband and our two boys. I decided to start a blog because I wanted to keep track of the various materials I’m reading, as well as contribute to ongoing dialogue about multicultural literature for children and young adults. I hope to focus on discussing books, but there may be some stuff in here related to library stuff (because, hey, I’m a librarian).

Cathy Potter, librarian
The Nonfiction Detectives and @cppotter
Cathy Potter is K-5 school librarian in Falmouth, Maine. She spent twelve years as a 5th and 6th grade teacher before making the transition to the library. Cathy holds a Master of Literacy Education degree from the University of Southern Maine and a Master of School Library Science degree from Clarion University. Cathy reviews apps for School Library Journal and serves on the Southern Maine Library District’s Board of Directors. She served as a 2011 nonfiction picture book judge and is currently a 2012 book apps judge for the CYBILS awards. Cathy is a member of the Chickadee Award committee in Maine and is a member of the 2014 Sibert Medal committee.

Lisa von Drasek, librarian
Early Word Kids and @lvondrasek
children’s librarian/book reviewer Bank Street College of Education

Paula Willey, parent, librarian
Pink Me and @pwbalto
I work at the public library providing service to adults, teens and children. The tax forms are over there. You need ID to sign on to one of the public Internet computers. Here is a book about penguins. I’m sorry, I haven’t read Gangsta by K’wan, and I cannot tell you what it’s about with any certainty, but by the cover, I assume it’s about a young man… who is in a gang… who… uh, owns a car and I guess has a girlfriend. I am an independent consultant for school libraries. I plan libraries in space and over time – I’ve got spreadsheets and everything. And when I pick out books for a library, I evaluate each and every title before selecting it for purchase. That means I read it. Ok or at least skim. But after buying thousands of K-8 books, I am now pretty encyclopedic on kids’ nonfiction. Ask me anything. I have two sons who are the most consistently surprising creatures I have ever met.* They read to themselves, to each other, to me and to my husband, and we return the favor.

Round 2 Judges

Alyson Beecher, teacher
KidLitFrenzy and @alybee930
Alyson Beecher is an educator, writing mentor, book geek, and blogger. I say that I have to read children’s and YA literature because of my job but really I just love Picture Books, MG and YA books. During the day, I work with elementary students. My passion is getting my students excited about books, reading, and writing.  I also believe that it is critical to partner with teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators, booksellers, and publishers to support efforts to connect children and teens to books.  With that in mind, I have also co-founded the grassroots organization Bridge to Books with Alethea (@frootjoos, Read Now, Sleep Later).  When I don’t have my nose in a book, I enjoy hanging with friends, cooking, listening to music, or seeing a live performance. Books are nearly always better than their movie version, and I am more likely to become a complete babbling fool in the presence of my favorite authors than some famous movie star.

Sara Bryce, librarian
Bryce Don’t Play and @PLSanders
Hi everyone, I’m Bryce. As in Ms. Bryce. Or at least I was, until I got into the library world and started with all this “first name” business. I live in La Crosse, WI, and have also lived in Tallahassee, FL; East Lansing, MI (Go Green!); and Downriver Detroit, MI (actually there’s a city in it called Woodhaven, but no one knows where that is).  I write reviews at Touch and Go. I was a first-round panelist for the inaugural Cybils Award for Book Apps in 2011.

Helen Dineen, parent
CAppTivated Kids and @aitcheldee

I’m a mum based in the UK with two young children, Mr Tall (aged 4)  and Little Miss Chatterbox (aged 2). I love exploring kids’ apps with them on the iPad 2, both books and games. We’re constantly on the lookout for entertaining, stimulating apps which tell us something about the world around us, develop creativity and promote a love of stories and learning. Along the way, we’ve found some favourites, and have some strong views about what makes a good app. The aim of CAppTivated Kids is to focus on quality not quantity, by highlighting some of the best apps we have come across as a family. All the reviews are completely unbiased and I have paid for the app concerned from my own pocket. Do let me know what you think.

Elisabeth LeBris, librarian
lebrisary  and @elebris
I am the Director of Library and Technology Services at The Joseph Sears School, Kenilworth, Il. I have been at Sears since 1985 and have seen many great changes in the world of our library.

Melissa Wiley, parent, teacher, author
Here in the Bonny Glen  and @bonnyglen
I write books for children and teens. I am the author of more than a dozen books for kids and teens, including The Prairie Thief, Inch and Roly Make a Wish, Fox and Crow Are Not Friends, and the Martha and Charlotte Little House books. She lives in San Diego with her husband and their six kids. Melissa blogs about her family’s reading life at Here in the Bonny Glen and is a contributing writer for GeekMom. I also write a webcomic, Into the Thicklebit, with my husband, Scott Peterson, and illustrator Chris Gugliotti.

For many of us, Book Apps is like the edge of the ocean. It’s wide, its deep, and we’re just not sure whether or not we’re ready to stick our toes in … or just wade out up to our neck. Mary Ann has a super team to help ease that stress every day, not just for Cybils …

so do stop by their blogs and hear what they have to say while we wait for their verdicts on January 1 (finalists) and on Valentine’s Day (winner).