Its #CYBILS Time (almost)

children book award

I can’t tell you how good it feels to getting back into a HUGE fall tradition for me: being part of the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards (Cybils). I have missed the last two rounds of the awards, but that was then, this is now. Luckily in the now, not much has changed in the process so I am reviving (and tweaking) a post I wrote about my get-ready checklist from 2015.

Prepare to Nominate Great Books

In roughly 48 hours the 2018 nomination period opens. From October 1 to October 15, readers EVERYWHERE can nominate one book in any or all of the Cybils categories.

    • Board Books
    • Easy Reader / Early Chapter
    • Elementary / Middle Grade Nonfiction
    • Elementary / Middle Grade Speculative Fiction
    • Fiction Picture Books
    • Graphic Novels (younger audience and young adult)
    • Jr. High / Sr. High Nonfiction
    • Middle Grade Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Young Adult Fiction
    • Young Adult Speculative Fiction

In years past, I’ve kept a running list of books I think represent the Cybils mission and would make great candidates. Unfortunately, I am behind the 8-ball again this year. So …

Over the next day or so, I’ll be going back through my review list to select nominees and put together my cheat sheet.

Step 1: Make a Nominations List

As I learned back in 2010, I will need to have some alternates on my list for all my categories. A book can only be nominated one time, so if I try to add a book that’s already there, the online form will kick it back to let me know it’s been nominated already. Having a few titles for each category is a great help.

Step 2: Read the Category Description

Before I finalize the list, I want to make sure I have books where they belong according to CYBILS definitions. The Category Chairs work hard enough … why should I give them more work by having to move books. I wore that hat. I know their pain.

Step 3: Get Meta

Once I have my working list of titles, the next thing I’ll check is the publication date. To be eligible for this year’s Cybils, a book must be published between 16 October 2017 and 15 October 2018.  I browse publisher and bookseller websites to get that level of detail. For example, when I search for a book at, I get the exact publication date (month/day/year) in the return.

While I’m there I will write down the ISBN. That is the piece of information I need for the nominations form. I might also double check my genre designation, too.

Step 4: Get Psyched

Can I be honest, this is the easiest step! Social media is starting to buzz about the Cybils Awards and the process. People will be sharing their nominations, recommending books to nominate (in case you don’t have one for that category), posting their Cybils reading challenges … you get the idea.

You don’t have to be a panelist or judge to participate. All you need to do is share your passion for children’s and young adult books.

Join the conversation by sharing your Cybils-related blog posts, tagging #Cybils wherever you talk books: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. You’ll find the Cybils in all those places as @CybilsAwards.

STEP 5: Play by the Rules

His letter is from my 2015 post, and its worth pasting in again this year.

Dear Reader,

The Cybils is about recognizing books with the highest literary merit and kid appeal across ten categories. For some books, nominations are easy. That isn’t always the case. Some middle grade fiction has a comics narrative, for example. It can be a hard call. Nominate the book in the category that you think it best fits.

Please play by the rules! Please don’t  (a) nominate a book (like the graphic middle grade novel) in two categories; or (b) nominate two books for one category by entering it in the wrong category in hopes that it’ll be moved. .

Gaming the system isn’t cool. It doesn’t help a book’s nomination, because a book can only be nominated once. Each person can nominate ONE book in a category. Moves will be voided. If you have books that you feel should be nominated, create a list on your blog. There are readers (like me) who don’t read books in every category who would be happy to nominate a book from a trusted source.


DISCLOSURE: I am the Social Media & Literary Guru for Cybils 2018