A Cybils Awards Experience and the Finalists

January 1st was Cybils Awards Day, and what was am I doing? Watching football. Oh, my, what was I thinking? The finalists were announced and include the picture books and board books I helped nominate. I have been trying to get on a Cybils team for four years and finally made it. I was a first round judge for picture books and board books. Oops, did I already mention this? I’m still feeling excited about this new adventure.

Well, when I saw the number of picture books nominated—212—and those for board books—41—needing to read each one, I was a little scared. This is a lot of books, even if most were a mere 32 pages. Anyone who reads picture books regularly knows “a mere 321 pages” is a terrible misnomer. Many picture books are HUGE in writing and illustrating. It took three days at the library and I still did not get them all done. Narrowing those books down to a mere seven PB and five BB was daunting. And coming to a consensus was , well, easier than I ever would have imagined.

Here are the finalists for Fiction Picture Books.

A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals
by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Sondra Eklund


Ida, Always
by Caron Levis
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Jennifer Rumberger


one-dayOne Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree
by Daniel Bernstrom
Nominated by: Heidi G.


strikly-no-elephantsStrictly No Elephants
by Lisa Mantchev
Simon & Schuster
Nominated by: Flowering Minds


night-gardenerThe Night Gardener
by Terry and Eric Fan
Simon & Schuster
Nominated by: Betsy


bear-in-my-chairThere’s a Bear on My Chair
by Ross Collins
Nosy Crow Books
Publisher/ Author Submission


they-all-sawThey All Saw a Cat
by Brendan Wenzel
Chronicle Books
Nominated by: PragmaticMom



The truth is, it was a fantastic experience I hope to do again . . . and again. I love picture books. Being a judge allowed me to read a lot of picture books. Then there were the board book. First time a Cybils Award is being given for a board book. The nominees were terrific, but it was easier to make a shortlist for those books and easier still for the seven of us to get our final nominees. I’m not sure why board books were easier . . . or, maybe I do, but cannot tell you. It is a new category, so the mystery needs to stay in place at least for a few years. Being a Cybils judge wqas hard work, took a great deal of time, and much reading and locating of books. In the end, I would do it all over again. Maybe new year.

Board books is a new category starting this year.  Here are the finalists in Board Books.

city-blockCityblock (Alphablock)
by Christopher Franceschelli
Harry N Abrams
Nominated by: Becky L.


cuauCuauhtemoc: Shapes/Formas (English and Spanish Edition)
by Patty Rodriguez
Lil’ Libros
Nominated by: PragmaticMom


dino-danceDinosaur Dance!
by Sandra Boynton
Little Simon
Nominated by: Alysa Stewart


folow-yarnFollow the Yarn: A Book of Colors
by Emily Sper
Jump Press
Nominated by: ediew


look-lookLook, Look Again
by Agnese Baruzzi
Publisher/ Author Submission





To read a blurb about each of the above books, go to the Cybil Awards website. There, you can see the finalists for each category. Also new this year:  Audiobooks. If you ever get the chance to be a judge for the Cybils Awards, take it. You will do an enormous amount of reading, but this is one of the best positions I’ve held in the kidlit community. It will be hard to beat.


Copyright © 2017 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

9 thoughts on “A Cybils Awards Experience and the Finalists

  1. Wow, Sue! What a honor and what a task to be a Cybil’s judge. I’m going to check out every one of these books.


    • If you are feeling ambitious, the nominees are still available at the Cybils website. I was never expecting 212 picture books. Next year, one of my nominees is making the short lists. Not sure how I will make sure it happens, but it will. They take in new judges each year, if you are interested. It was a lot of fun and I met people whose blogs I’d been admiring. I forgot to mention that. Glad to “hear” your voice again. This will be your year.


  2. Thank you for recommencing One Day in the Eucalyptus Eucalyptus Tree! It is an honor to be nominated on this list. I have read most of these books and am thrilled to see some of my favorites. Of course I have special fondness for Brendan’s They All Saw A Cat. Congrats on finally being a judge. Four years sounds like a very long time.

    Warm wishes,
    – dan


    • Wow! Welcome, Daniel. I am so happy you are here. Your picture book is amazing. When I first read it I could not figure out what the twist would be. Certainly this was not about . . . Everyone loved it and fought to have it included in the finalists. Maybe you’ll win the Cybils Award. The final judges have the books and will decide the winner in February. I’ll be sure to announce the winners. Thank you so much for taking time to comment. Readers ❤ it and so do I.


  3. I love picture books too. I’ve never been a Cybils judge and I’m not sure I’d be up to the task! But I’m glad you got the experience. I’ve read some of the finalists and they definitely deserve to be there!


    • I was not so sure after seeing the number of nominees, but it was easier than I thought. The hard part was narrowing the field down to 5. And we sent 7 because it was so difficult to decide. Everyone had a favorite and it needed to get through all 7 judges. A true test of compromise. But if you love picture books, it would not be hard for you to be a judge. I bet you would even enjoy it.


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