Cybils: Easy Reader and Chapter Books

Cybils2009-Web-SmallI have two confessions: 1. I will use just about any excuse to talk about the Cybils; and 2. I was very controlled and didn’t peak at the nominations lists this weekend.

Imagine my glee when I saw Sarah’s post this morning featuring (drumroll) 2009  Nominations: Easy Readers and Short Chapter Books.

I love all of the Cybils categories, but I have a particular soft spot for Easy Readers and Short Chapter Books … I love the sparkle in a child’s eye when they discover how words work and realize they are a reader now. Once that window opens, it is an amazing transformation.

So what are Easy Readers? They are the 6-inch by 9-inch books with short simple sentences. Easy readers have 8-64 pages, a large typeface with lots of white space on the page, and are fully illustrated in color. Most are labeled with something that suggests it is for a new reader (I Can Read, Step into Reading, etc.). Think: Frog and Toad and Henry and Mudge.

Aren’t these short chapter books? Yes and no. Sometimes the book is a collection of short stories, each standing on its own; in other cases, one story builds on the next. What distinguishes a short chapter book is that these books have longer sentences, more text on each page, and a smaller typeface with less white space. They are also longer (48-128 pages) and the interior art is usually black and white. Think: Magic Tree House and Little Bear books.

What qualifies for a nomination in this category? As Anastasia Suen (Category Organizer) explains, “we are looking for both fiction and nonfiction books. An award will be given for an easy reader and for a short chapter book.” Looking at what has already been nominated may give you some ideas on the qualities to consider.

As I mentioned previously, I am part of the Round I Panelist group. I’m waiting anxiously for the library to call and say some of my holds are ready so I can get started. What I haven’t done, though, is formally introduce the COMPLETE group, beyond just the panelists. I need to remedy that. So without further ado …

Panel Organizer: Anastasia Suen, 5 Great Books, Literacy Links

Panelists (Round I Judges):

Sarah R. Neal, In Need of Chocolate
Anastasia Suen (see panel organizer)
Jennifer Wharton, Jean Little Library, Check It Out
Melissa Young, Sweet On Books
Yours Truly

Judges (Round II):

Heather Acerro, ACPL Kids, ACPL Mock Geisel
Amanda Blau, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Sharon Hrycewicz, Bend in the Road
Cynthia Lord, Cynthia Lord’s Journal
Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

There is still time to nominate your favorite book of the last year. You may not have an Easy Reader or Short Chapter book, but panelists would love to hear your suggestions for each of the other categories: Poetry, Nonfiction Picture Book, Fiction Picture Book, Middle Grade Fiction, Middle Grade/YA Nonfiction, Fantasy/Science Fiction, Graphic Novel, Young Adult Fiction.