Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I'm so excited to be serving again as a judge for CYBILS, this time in round 2. Thanks to all the amazing CYBILS folks, including Jone, who give so tirelessly to be sure good books receive the attention they deserve.

Here's the fabulous folks who will be joining me:

Linda Baie, Teacher Dance
Matt Esenwine, Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
Renee La Tulippe, No Water River
Julie Larios, The Drift Record

And here are the Round 1 judges, who will be winnowing the list of nominees to just 5-7 titles:

Ed deCaria, Think, Kid, Think!
Kelly Fineman, Writing and Ruminating
Jone MacCulloch, Check It Out
Anastasia Suen, Poet! Poet!
Sylvia Vardell, Poetry for Children
April Halprin Wayland, Teaching Authors
Bridget Wilson, What is Bridget Reading?

Yay, and congratulations to all!!

Serving as a round 1 judge was one of my favorite things of 2012. I loved reading and discussing the books, and you know, I really learned a lot about what makes an award-winning poetry book. Consistency in voice! Fun! Unique! Quality on every page! I was pretty definite about which books I considered my top titles. But to winnow that list to just one winner... yikes!

One of the difficulties I have in considering books for awards is a dislike for direct comparison. I mean, how do you compare a book of poems for the very young like IN THE SEA by David Elliot to a book of poems for teens like LIES, KNIVES AND GIRLS IN RED DRESSES by Ron Koertge?

Tastes and favorites are so individual... I look forward to the challenge 2013 titles will present. I've already got a few favorites I hope will turn up on the Finalists list. We'll see.

Congratulations again to all the nominees and 2012 Poetry winner Laura Purdie Salas's BOOKSPEAK! Be sure to nominate your favorite title when nominations open in October!


  1. I'm so excited to work with you in this group, Irene. I agree, to compare the books your round one group sent last year was so difficult. I imagine it was even harder with all the nominees you had to bring it down to just a few. Fun to read all the new books though!

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  3. 'm going to miss being in the Poetry category this year. I know you guys will have outstanding, passionate, thoughtful debates. I agree about that head-to-head comparison thing. One thing that really struck me the time I was a 2nd-round judge was how much disagreement there was. Most people not only had their favorites, but also ones they probably wouldn't have put in as a Finalist at all! So much of it is subjective. Have fun! I know I'll be having a blast in the Easy Reader category, but I'll be thinking of you guys:>)


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