Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cybils Finalists!

Cybils finalists are up! And this is my last Cybils post for 2011...and my first post for 2012! Anne Levy mentioned the idea of a "personal shortlist" of books that didn't make the "real" shortlist, which I think is kind of interesting, but I have to say I'm completely satisfied with our Nonfiction Picture Book shortlist. Did I have favorites that didn't make the list? Yes. But everything on the list is completely deserving and I get behind it 100%!

So, here's my take on the finalists! I'm going to make an effort to buy as many as possible of the shortlists in February, so as to have a really good Cybils award display. So this reflects my personal opinion and what I plan to purchase for the library, not the particular merits of the books which excellent judges have debated before me (-:)

Easy Readers and Beginning Chapter Books
I have lots of love for this category. It was my first experience with Cybils and I loved it soooo much! Beginning Chapters and Easy Readers are two of the top-circ'ing items in my library and I feel that they are often overlooked. Over the past few years - ever since my first Cybils experience in fact, I have worked hard on adding new and interesting fiction and nonfiction in this category and patrons have responded with enthusiasm.

  • Aggie Gets Lost by Lori Ries (I'm not a huge fan personally of the Aggie books; we only own a few and their circulation is not amazing, but decent. Still, this goes on the purchase list)
  • Dodsworth in Rome by Tim Egan (Again, not a Dodsworth fan. I find them I feel the humor isn't really for younger kids. A bit too sophisticated for my audience)
  • Frog and Friends by Eve Bunting (Missed this one! Looks fun though...oh, it's a series! Will buy it!)
  • I broke my trunk by Mo Willems (Own of course! Looking forward to our new Elephant and Piggie Kids' Club, which is going to focus on being friends and telling stories - folk tales and puppetry!)
  • Clementine and the family meeting by Sarah Pennypacker (Already own! Love the beginning of this story)
  • Have fun Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke (Already owned and reviewed! These don't circulate as much as I would like, but they're popular with those who have discovered them and I've gotten some teachers interested)
  • Just Grace and the double surprise by Cherise Harper (Have to admit I have not bought any Harper chapter books b/c I don't like her art style. Will skip this one because I'd have to buy the whole series...)
  • Like pickle juice on a cookie by Julie Sternberg (I just don't get the popularity of this one. I really don't. But...I have a sad feeling it's my own prejudices that are holding me back. So onto the order list it goes for February!)
  • Trouble with chickens by Doreen Cronin (I didn't really "get" this one either, but tested it on some kids and it was a go, so I bought it!)
Fantasy and Science Fiction (Middle Grade)
I've been focusing on realistic fiction this last year, trying not to get too overwhelmed with thick fantasy sequels. Thanks to all the panelists who picked out the best for me as I add in just a couple more things...I can't buy EVERYTHING, sadly, but I've noted which things I think will circulate best in my library.

  • A Monster calls by Siobhan Dowd and Patrick Ness (I wasn't sure about this one, but a patron asked for it last month and I just bought it. We'll see how it circs.)
  • Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (It's been on my to read list for a while, but I hadn't added it to the library yet. I was sort of waiting for it to win an award....Will now put it on the order list.)
  • Dragon castle by Joseph Bruchac (Another one that's been waiting on my to read list! I've gotten really behind on my fantasy reading. My kids loooove their dragons, so this should be a hit when I purchase it)
  • Icefall by Matthew Kirby (hmmm, not really sure about the appeal of this in my library. Seems too...historyish? But I will trust the Cybils judges and buy it!)
  • Cheshire Cheese cat by Carmen Agra Deedy (I'm going to pass this one by. I just don't see it appealing in my library. The whole Victorian/Dickens thing...uh, no)
  • Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty (If I'm going to buy a history-based fantasy, Icefall is it, so this one is a pass this time around)
  • Tuesdays at the castle by Jessica Day George (Bought it! My kids love George's middle grade fantasies. I was so disappointed that I didn't manage to read the whole thing - had to return it for the kids waiting for it and life just took over me. It's still on my to read and review list. But I loved the first couple chapters!)
Fantasy and Science Fiction (Young Adult)
I'm never quite sure what to do with the young adult collection in the area of fantasy. YA is only 3% of my total circulation, but is read by adults as well as teens and tweens. I have readers who are fans of Twilighty romances, Hunger Games dystopias, Eragon-like epic fantasies, and some who will just read anything I hand them, while others will only touch those books with covers they like. With my new budget, I receive 4 books a month from Junior Library Guild, which I feel covers the more "literary" and older young adult section, leaving me free to purchase 10 books a month that are, well, FUN. So, what have I missed this year? Probably a lot, but Cybils will hopefully fill the gaps!

  • Angelfall: Penryn and the end of days by Susan Ee (I'm guessing this is the self-published book Anne Levy hinted at. Sadly, it's not available through my vendor and I rarely buy books through Amazon, so I'm going to pass on it.)
  • Anna dressed in blood by Kendare Blake (Hmm, horror and mystery. I'll buy it)
  • Blood red road by Moira Young (I've bought several other dystopias - and received some war-torn fiction through JLG - and I think the language in this will be too much for most of my teens. Pass on this one)
  • Misfit by Jon Skovron (I can hand this to my teen and adult fans of Cassandra Clare I think. I'll buy it)
  • Red glove by Holly Black (I've been trying to steer away from series, buying only the first book. But Holly Black is quite popular - she gets stolen regularly. I'll put my faith in our soon-to-be-installed security cameras and buy this one)
  • Girl of fire and thorns by Rae Carson (When I read the reviews of this, I recommended it to Sara The Librarian. She was SO ENTHUSIASTIC about it, that I just purchased it and it's on the new cart in my office right now!)
  • Shattering by Karen Healey (Hmmm, I remember looking at Guardian of the Dead, but I don't think I bought it. I'll go ahead and buy this one, sounds intruiguing)
Fiction Picture Books
This was definitely the most time-intensive panel I've been on, when I was part of Round 1 Judging for this group last year in 2010. I've had to miss out on a lot of picture books this year because of budget concerns and the over-crowding of our picture book section, but now that I've finished weeding the picture books and have a budget increase, I plan to go nuts with picture books in 2012!

  • Blackout by John Rocco (Beautiful. So glad I bought this one)
  • Do you know which ones will grow? by Susan Shea (Finally got this one a few weeks ago - instant favorite! Only used it in storytime once, but already a hit!)
  • I had a favorite dress by Boni Ashburn (Illustrated by Julia Denos, so OF COURSE I bought it. Lovely new look at the "Joseph had a little overcoat" story cycle)
  • I want my hat back by Jon Klassen (Have to admit I wasn't one of the fans of this book. Will break down and buy it now)
  • Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell (This was moved out of our nonfiction category. I've seen LOTS of buzz for it, but have always been doubtful about picture book bios for the very young  - well, for anyone, really, but we don't want to discuss that now - anyways. I will go with the masses and buy this one)
  • Press here by Herve Tullet (Bought this one. Bought it again. Plan to buy a third copy soon)
  • Princess and the pig by Jonathan Emmett (Oh, this one is FUN. Just discovered it and plan to buy it asap)
Graphic Novels (Elementary/Middle Grade)
I aspire to be on this panel. Yep, I'm a panel-hopper. I didn't really discover graphic novels and comics until I was in graduate school, having confined my interest to Asterix and Tintin before that time. However, a traumatic encounter with Neil Gaiman's Sandman inspired me to read more graphic novels - preferably NOT involving serial killers - and I've become a fascinated devotee of the form. Joining No Flying No Tights as a reviewer was one of my most exciting new things this year and I have plans to expand the juvenile graphic novel section in our library in the near future.

  • Hereville: How Mirka got her sword by Barry Deutsch (I loved this one, but I just don't think it will circ well for us. Oh well)
  • Nursery Rhyme Comics (Hmmm, I liked this, but wasn't sure about circulation. I will go with the majority here and add this one in)
  • Sidekicks by Dan Santat (Loved it! Bought it!)
  • Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (Bought it, of course.)
  • Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke (Oh, I did love this one. So did all the kids I have handed it to.)
Graphic Novels (Young Adult)
I've focused on manga this past year for the young adults, as I've had trouble pushing graphic novels on the older kids. But there's some really good stuff this year which I think will circulate!

  • Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol (Reviewed this for No Flying No Tights - it's definitely the successor to Telgemeier's Smile. On the order list!)
  • Bad Island by Doug TenNapel (I found this fascinating, but wasn't sure if the kids would be interested. Will buy it and see)
  • Feynman by Jim Ottaviani (I've found this author's nonfiction fascinating, but nonfiction graphic novels are really, really hard to push, especially in the teen section, so I'll give this a pass)
  • Level up by Gene Luen Yang (Might see if my director wants to buy this for the adult collection. I don't think it's of interest to the younger teens in my teen section)
  • Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge (Oh, I loved this one. Love, love, love! Bought it asap after ALA Midwinter last year)
Middle Grade Fiction
This is the category I've really focused on this past year in the juvenile fiction. I felt I was emphasizing fantasy too much and really needed more realistic, funny, contemporary fiction. Let's see what I missed...

  • Darth Paper strikes back by Tom Angleberger (This is a great series, popular with kids, parents, and teachers. Easy to booktalk, fun to read, with plenty of points for discussion and deeper thought. Bought it, of course)
  • Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri (It's on my To Read list, but I'm not sure it would circ. Pass on this one)
  • Nerd Camp by Elissa Weissman (Totally missed this one! Looks hilarious! Will buy it!)
  • Friendship doll by Kirby Larson (I've got an ARC of this's an intriguing concept, but would be a hard sell. Will pass)
  • Great wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wang-Long Shan (Passed over this when I saw it before, but another look at the reviews...I'll buy it)
  • Warp speed by Lisa Yee (Read it. Reviewed it. Loved it. Bought it.)
  • Words in the dust by Trent Reedy (Put it on the order list, took it off, put it on, took it I'm really going to buy it this time)
Nonfiction for Middle Grade and Young Adult
This is a hard age for nonfiction. I personally love historical and archaeological titles, but kids only seem to like factoid books and sports. Somehow, we manage to meet in the middle. Let's see what Cybils is presenting...

  • Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming (The only Amelia Earhart biography you will need. I need to replace our entire biography section and this is one of the first steps)
  • How they croaked: The awful ends of the awfully famous by Georgia Bragg (I was satisfied with Dreadful Fates, until I read this recently. Now we need both! Ordering now!)
  • Into the unknown by Stewart Ross (On my to read list, but the flaps and loose bits aren't going to work well in my library. Have to pass.)
  • Many faces of George Washington by Carla McClafferty (This is one I'd enjoy reading, but I don't think it will circ. enough. Have to pass.)
  • The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin (Bought this - been meaning to move it from the 973s where it ended up to the biographies, where it will circ. more, I think.)
  • Unraveling Freedom by Ann Bausum (I went back and forth on buying this - fairly local author, interesting topic, but I felt the presentation was a little disorganized and it would be a hard book to push. Hmmm....I'm going to buy it)
Nonfiction Picture Books
My category! We saw, as I had expected, a lot of picture book biographies but also many other amazing books (and some less than amazing, although nothing as truly hilariously awful as some of the picture book nominations last year...) I'm excited for more nonfiction read-alouds, as it's a major part of my Preschool Interactive program.

  • All the water in the world by Kate Coombs (My review here. Bought this a while ago and it is already well-loved)
  • Bring on the birds by Susan Stockdale (My review here. I expect this to be as popular as Fabulous Fishes. Added to the order list!)
  • Can we save the tiger by Martin Jenkins (Bought this and was initially disappointed by circ. numbers, but it seems to be picking up. My review here.)
  • I feel better with a frog in my throat by Carlyn Beccia (Very fun - and gross - looking forward to booktalking this one, as soon as I buy it. My review here.)
  • Planting the wild garden by Kathryn Galbraith (I've loved this one since I saw the galley at ALA Midwinter last year. I've used it in many storytimes and it's always popular. My review here.)
  • Case of the vanishing golden frogs by Sandra Markle (Scientists in the Field for younger children. 'Nuff said. Haven't bought it yet only b/c it's only available in library bound. Will now expend the needed cash. My review here.)
  • Thunder birds by Jim Arnosky (Amazing. Just amazing. How did I miss this earlier this year? Buying it now. Review here.)
I sometimes feel bad that I rarely buy poetry. Well, not very often, but occasionally. We have approximately four shelves of poetry books however, which is a HUGE collection for a library our size. I simply can't justify buying more books in this area without weeding a lot - and there are so many other things that need to be weeded. And so many other things that circulate more. However, I do buy a few every year - let's see if we need another book or two in this area.

  • Cousins of Clouds by Tracy Zimmer (Nope.)
  • Dear hot dog by Mordicai Gerstein (Nope.)
  • Emma Dilemma by Kristine George (This one I've been planning to buy and will do so - putting it in picture books)
  • Requiem by Paul Janeczko (Nope)
  • Self-portrait with seven fingers by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen (Nope)
  • We are America by Walter Dean Myers (Nope)
Young Adult Fiction
See remarks above about young adult fantasy. In this category, I hover between "literature" and well-reviewed titles, and chick lit romances. And I never have enough mysteries or "guy books". I'm hoping my new orders from Junior Library Guild in 2012 will help even things out.

  • Anna and the French kiss by Stephanie Perkins (couldn't make up my mind on this one - will go ahead and buy it now)
  • Between shades of gray by Ruta Sepetys (ran out of money for this one, but plan to buy it...oh, someone bought it for adult. Well, that takes care of that)
  • Bunheads by Sophie Flack (another one I meant to buy - will go ahead and do so now)
  • Everybody sees the ants by A. S. King (I'm not convinced teens will check this out. Pass on this one)
  • Frost by Marianna Baer (I actually checked this out but was disappointed - my teens prefer more action and resolution in their stories. Pass)
  • Leverage by Joshua Cohen (Could have sword I ordered this! Will do so now)
  • Stupid fast by Geoff Herback (Got this through Junior Library Guild)
And that's the list! Looking forward to wonderful award displays and books in February!


Charlotte said...

I hope Icefall doesn't disappoint! It's a great book (as are all the others on our list :) )

Jennifer said...

It's been on my to read list for a while and it sure sounds good - I am just seeing fewer and fewer kids who are able or interested in reading longer chapter books. Sad but true. I looked at my circulation numbers earlier this year and my one shelf of comics/graphic novels has 3,000 circs, my two shelves of juvenile series (easy chapters mostly) have 3,000 circs and my five shelves of juvenile chapters (mostly longer middle grade) have 3,000 circs. I'm hoping some of this is due to that section needing even more weeding, but I've seen so many kids who look at anything over 100 pages and say "that's too hard/long/not my lexile level" that I'm worried about the death of middle grade. Sniff.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I enjoyed reading your thoughts on all these titles. I read as many as I could and posted my thoughts here:

Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

Oh dear, that's a depressing thought (the death of middle grade). Icefall is at least relatively short, and a standalone novel--sometimes I feel as if those are in short supply, too. Do try it!

Jennifer said...

Ohh, a standalone, LOVELY. I get so frustrated with all the series - I've made it my policy to not buy sequels unless kids ask for them or there's something really, really, really amazing about the book. How can I buy debut authors and new titles if all I ever buy is SEQUELS?!

It is a depressing thought. Sometimes I load up a kid with 10 thick books and feel happy for a while...then I look at my circulation statistics and hear all the kids tell me "I don't have time to read" or "I only want a short book at my lexile because I have to read one for Reading Counts" I do hear quite a few kids say they check out books from their school libraries - and we have AMAZING school librarians at every one of our schools, so I really hope that the thick book readers are going there...but...interest in reading seems to be dying earlier and earlier. Used to be teens, now it's tweens. No idea what to do about this, other than to soldier on...

Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

Totally anecdotal evidence from my own tween (11yo boy) suggest that they have too much homework to do a lot of reading after school. He reads at bedtime, but usually falls asleep too quickly to make a lot of progress. I've also noticed that if he gets bogged down in a (too long, sequel, Son Of Neptune I'm looking at you) book, he's less excited to read it, reads more slowly, yet insists on finishing. I hate to think of the reading time he loses that way. Maybe encourage kids to check out lots of books and not to be afraid to put down the ones that aren't working for them? At the very least it would increase your circ stats :)

Jennifer said...

YES I wish I could convince parents of this! I even put up a "rights of the reader" sign - it's ok not to finish a book, to try one and not like it. But so many parents only let their kids check out 1 or 2 books (although as many moves as they want) and then if the kid wants to try another one, they'll say "you didn't finish the last one" They're books, not vegetables!