Armchair Cybils: Shortlist Thoughts

So the lists are out! The most exciting to thing to me is how many of the books we haven’t read which means how many great new books we have to read! 

The only category I read much in other than my own was Fiction Picture Books. Of those shortlisted, I’ve read three: If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown and Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier. I really liked Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, although my kids were less excited by it.  I wanted to like If You Want to See a Whale as I love Julie Fogliano and illustrator Erin Stead but found it a little slow and vague. The other books listed look like they will be winners here and I’m especially excited to read Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett and Journey by Aaron Becker. 

In the Easy Readers category I was excited to see Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes. Ruth has loved all three of the Penny books which are so typical of Henkes in the combination of sweetness and the realistic depiction of not so small problems that kids worry about.

I had intended to read more poetry with the kids this year as we read along with the Cybils. Of the shortlisted books, we only read Pug: And Other Animal Poems by Valerie Worth (with illustrations by Steve Jenkns). It was one we all enjoyed, even the supposed poetry-haters. I am especially excited to check out Poetry To Learn by Heart by Caroline Kennedy to try and breathe some fresh life into our poetry memorization work

John, in his free time, reads pretty much exclusively from the speculative fiction category. We all enjoyed The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt together as a read-aloud but I don’t think any of us has read any of the other books on the shortlist. Which is excellent because it gives me a bunch of new choices to help keep up with his insatiable appetite for new books. 

The other lists all have gems just waiting to be discovered. I’m personally most excited to check-out William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher which just sounds incredibly intriguing. 

I’m not sure how much I’m supposed to say about the category where I was a panelist so I think I’ll wait to comment until after the finalists are announced in February. I do think we came up with a really strong list. I didn’t love every book on it, but someone did. Meaning that of all seven books on our list, someone was passionate about each one. I would recommend any of them if you are looking to read more non-fiction with your kids. One of the comments by one of the panelists was that we are living through a real explosion of excellent non-fiction for kids and I would totally agree. 

Stop by Hope is the Word today for more Cybils shortlist related thoughts. 

One thought on “Armchair Cybils: Shortlist Thoughts

  1. I’m commenting late, but thanks so much for your thoughts! We really loved Penny and her Marble, too, though I didn’t get around to reviewing it. I’d read Forest Has a Song and enjoyed it, and took it in for my son’s class poetry unit, where the teacher is always looking for kid’s poetry that doesn’t rhyme.

    I haven’t read any of the nonfiction books, but I do need to take them home to my son, who likes to read fiction with me but prefers nonfiction on his own.

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