Sunday, January 27, 2013

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is: Cybils Finalists

When this posts, I will be in Seattle, only one day away from hearing the announcements of the various awards sponsored by ALA. I have previously posted lists of which award titles I am buying, generally with much accompanying muttering about how nobody is going to read them and how Cybils is much more awesome. So...exactly how many of the Cybils finalists have I bought or am I planning to buy for my library? And of those we owned already, are they circulating? Plus other random commentary.

Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books
  • A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse by Frank Viva
    • I received a review copy of this and added that to the library collection, but this is one I would have purchased. Sometimes Toon hits the mark, sometimes not - this one is good. We've owned it since September and it has circulated 8 times. About what I expect for a TOON book, which don't circ heavily at my library (too many parents still not convinced that comics are really reading, plus a school district fanatically entrenched in lexiles).
  • Bink and Gollie, Two for One by Kate DiCamillo
    • This series is hard to know where to catalog it - I ended up placing them in easy readers, where they do ok, not spectacularly though. I bought this one in December and it's not cataloged yet. The previous volume was purchased in 2010 and has circulated 29 times.
  • Penny and Her Doll by Kevin Henkes
    • As soon as I saw these, I knew they were ones we would need. I purchased this one in September and it has circulated 9 times.
  • Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes
    • This one was purchased in March and has circulated 14 times.
  • Pinch and Dash Make Soup by Michael J. Daley
    • This is why Cybils is awesome - I had totally missed this series and it looks fun! I put this title and all the others in the series in my February order list.
  • Ivy and Bean Make the Rules by Annie Barrows
    • I had never considered these until a parent suggested them a few years ago. They circulate like crazy! I bought this in September and it has gone out 6 times and is currently checked out.
  • Marty McGuire Digs Worms by Kate Messner
    • I think I originally got a review copy of the first Marty McGuire book. I purchased this sequel in April and it has circulated 10 times and is currently on hold at another library.
  • Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell
    • I was a bit doubtful about the art in this one, but read some very enthusiastic reviews of it. I purchased it in September and it has circulated 6 times. A little lower than I'd normally expect for an easy reader.
  • Sadie and Ratz by Sonya Hartnett
    • I thought this was awesome and purchased it last April. I took it to my school visits and, sadly, the kids did not agree. It has only checked out twice. Usually, beginning chapter books go like crazy but maybe this is just a bit too odd for their tastes?
  • Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot by Anna Branford
    • This is another one I wouldn't have found without Cybils, being an Australian import. It's in my February order, as well as some of the other titles in the series.
Fantasy and Science Fiction (Middle Grade)
My teen and juvenile section have kind of blurry lines - some things upstairs (teen) are perfectly appropriate for younger middle school students. Some older middle school titles I moved downstairs because of theft problems. If something feels more teen, it's less likely I'll buy it because my teen section has low circ and therefore less budget. More on that later.
  • Beswitched by Kate Saunders
    • Purchased on the recommendation of Charlotte's Library in September, has checked out 5 times and is currently checked out! I wasn't sure if kids would be interested in it, as I haven't had time to read it myself, but they clearly are!
  • Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities by Mike Jung
    • I went back and forth on buying this one. It sounded good, but some reviews were iffy, middle grade superhero books don't always do well at my library...but I trust Cybils' opinion and so it is on my February order.
  • The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet
    • I bought this back in January of 2012 and it has circulated 7 times, which is pretty average for a middle grade fantasy.
  • The False Prince: Book 1 of the Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen
    • I've looked at this several times, but in my library it would end up in the teen room and I have to budget my teen purchases very tightly. This type of fantasy isn't in much demand among my teens.
  • The Last Dragonslayer (The Chronicles of Kazam) by Jasper Fforde
    • While I was interested in reading this myself, it's not something I would buy for the library. Just a little too offbeat. However, through a series of coincidences I ended up getting it on my Junior Library Guild order in November - and it has circ'd 4 times and is currently checked out. It is placed in YA and I wonder how many of those circs are adult fans of Fforde, but overall it looks like I was wrong about this one!
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
    • I looked at this when there was a lot of buzz, but it didn't sound like something that would circ much, especially since it's not something that sounds easy to booktalk. However, I'm thinking it will probably show up on award lists other than Cybils and many people have told me it is awesome, so I have put it on my February order list.
  • The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann
    • This is on my personal reading list, but my kids aren't interested in steampunk or fairies (except in beginning chapter books and ya romances). Did not purchase.
Fantasy and Science Fiction (Young Adult)
I did the circ stats and for the amount of money I spent on YA fiction and fantasy last year, the stats were uninspiring, to say the least. 5,000 total circulation for the ya fiction. This year I am strictly limiting purchasing in this area. I get 4-5 books a month from Junior Library Guild and will buy 4-5 a month (which pretty much just covers sequels). I put up covers on a window and told the teens to vote on what they wanted. Apparently, they want realistic fiction, romance, a little paranormal romance, and horror, in that order. Not much fantasy or dystopia. I think it's adults reading all the young adult dystopia. I'm also running out of space in the teen room, so that's also an issue. I'll some of these on my voting cards to see if any of the teens want them though.
  • And All the Stars by Andrea K Höst
    • As above, I don't think teens are actually reading as much dystopias as are being published, at least not the ones here. It's also not available through my vendor. Did not purchase.
  • Every Day by David Levithan
    • I have a couple of his titles with average circulation. Not so much that I feel justified in buying everything he writes. I read a blog review of this somewhere that did not inspire me to purchase this. I can't remember where, but it talked about issues with the female character and the way gender is addressed. Did not purchase.
  • Planesrunner (Everness, Book One) by Ian McDonald
    • No more series, pleeeease. The cover on this one will kill it dead on the shelf. Since we have no teen librarian and no staff for the ya room, I almost never have the opportunity to booktalk ya titles, so they have to live or die on their own covers. Did not purchase.
  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
    • I was reluctant to buy this because it didn't sound like it had wide appeal, and the cover did not grab, but it was donated! So we have a copy! It's gone out 4 times since it was donated in September.
  • The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Brenna Yovanoff, Tessa Gratton, and Maggie Stiefvater
    • Short stories don't check out. Did not purchase.
  • The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
    • I don't remember why I bought this, but I did, last August. It has gone out 5 times.
  • Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
    • I bought this in October because it looked awesome and Sarah Beth Durst is awesome. I took it to my talks at the middle school and there was much interest. It has gone out 3 times and is currently checked out.
Fiction Picture Books
  • Black Dog by Levi Pinfold
    • I didn't like this when I read it, but Cybils got me to give it another look. It's still not high on my personal list, but I put it on my February order list.
  • Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex
    • I still haven't found the right audience for reading this aloud - most of the groups I tried were too young - but I persevere. I bought it last April and it has circulated 17 times and is currently checked out.
  • Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown
    • Love this one, although it is still not quite the creepy read-alike for This Book Eats People I have been searching for. I've read it to preschoolers and 6th graders and they all think it's hilarious. Purchased in August, checked out 9 times and currently checked out. Circ is a little low because I had it out for programs several times.
  • Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
    • I liked this one well enough, although I don't really get the wild love for it that has it up on so many mock Caldecotts. I tried it in storytime and it wasn't a huge hit. Purchased in January 2012, circulated 8 times. That's pretty low circulation for a picture book.
  • Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead
    • This one did ok in storytime. I purchased it in June and it has circulated 9 times, which is pretty average.
  • Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
    • This one looks really interesting and different, but, well, a bit too different for my library.
  • One Special Day by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Jessica Meserve
    • I loved this one when I first saw it - I'm a big fan of Jessica Meserve's art - and it was a hit in storytime, both preschool and toddler. I bought it back in August and it has circ'd 8 times.
Graphic Novels (Middle Grade)
  • Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert
    • Usually graphic biographies/memoirs are really hard to circ but I took a chance on this one and it turned out to be really excellent. I bought it back in May and it has circ'd 5 times (not counting the months it spent on my shelf during Cybils)
  • Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado
    • Personally, I'm a little tired of the fantasy/girl warrior graphic novel thing, but kids aren't and this one is fun. I bought it in June and it has circ'd 10 times.
  • Hilda and the Midnight Giant by Luke Pearson
    • Occasionally, I will buy a book I don't expect to have much circulation; it's for those few special kids (and for me!). This one I was delighted to find spoke to many more kids than I had expected. I purchased it in June and it has circ'd 7 times and is currently on hold at another library (I am the only library in the consortium that owns it).
  • Little White Duck: A Childhood in China by Na Liu
    • Again, graphic biographies/memoirs I almost never buy, but this one was pretty amazing. I would have shelled out the money for it, but I had a review copy from Cybils, so added that to the library collection. It is still being cataloged.
  • Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad! by Nathan Hale
    • I received review copies of both the Hazardous Tales books for No Flying No Tights and reluctantly added them to the library when I had reviewed them. I wanted to keep them for myself! Someone promptly stole One Dead Spy, so I'll have to rebuy it anyways. We've had them since August and Big Bad Ironclad has checked out once. I had expected them to be a LOT more popular, but I think having the first one missing has been a problem. I need to booktalk them more.
Graphic Novels (Young Adult)
  • Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White by Lila Quintero Weaver
    • I have ranted elsewhere about my dislike of memoirs for teens, so I won't go into it again here. This one I think does have some teen appeal, but it won't circulate in my teen collection. I added the review copy I received for Cybils to the adult collection and it's currently being cataloged.
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier
    • I shelve Telgemeier in the juvenile graphic novel collection. Smile has gone out a gazillion times, been stolen, fallen apart, etc. It's one of those books that girls who "don't read" beg for. I pre-ordered 2 copies of Drama and when I took it to my 6th grade visits had girls who "hate reading" begging me to hold it for them at the library. We've had our copies since August and both have checked out 5 times (girls tend to check them out, then lend them to friends so they circulate slowly).
  • Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
    • Faith Erin Hicks is one the few graphic novel authors who checks out in my teen section (the other is Gareth Hinds, if you're wondering). Mostly the kids want either manga or superheroes. I bought this in March and it's gone out 5 times (I also bought a copy for myself).
  • Ichiro by Ryan Inzana
    • I think this will appeal to at least some teens with the sort of Miyazaki flavor of the underworld/fantasy sections. I took it to my 6th grade visits but nobody really bit. We just added it a few weeks ago (my review copy from Cybils) but it hasn't checked out yet.
  • Marathon by Boaz Yakin
    • I pushed hard for this one and I think it will have big teen appeal, especially to older fans of Rick Riordan and to my Gareth Hinds fans. It was asked for and much looked at on my 6th grade visits, but it's still being cataloged so I don't know how it will do in reality.
Middle Grade Fiction
  • Almost Home by Joan Bauer
    • This is another one that went on the list, off the list, on the list. Ultimately, I didn't see anything really compelling in the reviews, but since it was a Cybils finalist, that tips me over to buy it. On my February order list.
  • Chomp by Carl Hiaasen
    • These are never as popular as I think they should be - maybe because they are in the teen section. Hmmm, maybe I should move them downstairs. I put this one on my February order list.
  • Fourmile by Watt Key
    • This is one I would not normally buy, but a recommendation from Cybils puts it on my list. Added to my February order list.
  • Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead
    • I never read Stead's first book - just didn't sound like my kind of book - but it was popular enough that I went ahead and bought this title last August. It has checked out 8 times and is currently checked out.
  • The Adventures of Beanboy by Lisa Harkrader
    • I took this to my summer school visits last year and it was much asked for. I bought it last April and it has checked out 8 times.
  • The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
    • I don't buy civil rights books. They don't check out, no matter how well they are written.
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio
    • I resisted buying this one for a long time because it has many elements I personally really, really hate and I felt that it was adults not kids interested in it but when people started asking for it (adults, not kids), I purchased it, since it sounded like many parents wanted their kids to read it. I bought it in June and it has checked out 8 times. 
Non-Fiction Middle Grade and Young Adult
  • Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
    • I buy everything Steve Sheinkin does. I have a number of boys who like history chapter books and I like his books myself. This is, I think, his best book yet. I bought it in September and it has checked out 6 times. The Catholic school currently has our library copy for their in-classroom library.
  • Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan's Rescue from War by Marsha Skrypuch
    • I read this a while ago and really, really liked it. It's the kind of biography kids will actually read! I have the sequel sitting on my shelf right now for review. I just realized that I forgot to actually buy this one though, so it's on my February order list.
  • Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose
    • This is one that's really interesting and will probably win quite a few awards (I hope) but it's a gamble whether kids will check out something this long to read. In this case, the library won! I bought it in July and it has circulated 8 times and is currently checked out (Catholic school). I booktalked it a lot.
  • Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery
    • I've gotten quite a few adults to read this one, as there's a lot of interest in Temple Grandin and autism right now. I bought it in may and it has checked out 8 times and is currently checked out (Catholic school)
  • Titanic: Voices From the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson
    • I bought a lot of Titanic books last year, but mostly for younger kids. I went back and forth on this one, but Cybils puts it forth and it's on my February order list.
Non-Fiction Picture Books
  • Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade by Melissa Sweet
    • I bought this in March because so many people were talking about it, but picture book biographies really, really do not do well at my library. I cheated and put it in the 791's and it has checked out 7 times, which is pretty good.
  • Dolphin Baby! by Nicola Davies
    • I was sure I had bought this, but then realized that it was Davies' Just Ducks I bought and I just borrowed Dolphin from another library to use in storytime. It's on my February order list and will probably be cataloged in picture books, where I put most nonfiction that works well as read-alouds.
  • Eggs 1, 2, 3: Who Will the Babies Be? by Janet Halfmann
    • Like this one, which I put in the concept books. I bought it in May and it has checked out 8 times. Concept books are in the play area, so most of them get their use with people reading in the library, plus I and my colleague had it checked out for long periods for storytime and then I lent it to various daycares for long periods, so that's why the numbers are a bit low.
  • Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin
    • I bought this one in September and it has checked out 3 times.
  • Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman
    • This one is interesting, but it's not going to circ well (if at all) at my library. Did not purchase.
  • Mrs. Harkness and the Panda by Alicia Potter
    • I went back and forth on this one - on the one hand, picture book biographies don't circ well, on the other hand, pandas! It looks like it's circ'ing very well at other libraries in the consortium, so I'll go ahead and buy it. On the February order list.
  • Nic Bishop Snakes by Nic Bishop
    • Bought, of course, in September. Has circ'd 5 times and is currently checked out.
Poetry
I almost never buy poetry. We have shelves of it in the juvenile nonfiction, most of it dusty and old, with little to no circulation. I did try to weed some a few years ago, but that didn't work out. I generally only buy poetry books that can be cataloged as picture books.
  • BookSpeak! Poems About Books by Laura Purdie Salas
    • Did not purchase.
  • In the Sea by David Elliott
    • This one I purchased in May and put into the picture books. I've also used it in storytime. It has circulated 11 times.
  • Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs by J. Patrick Lewis
    • I received a review copy of this and thought it was hilarious, but would probably get me into trouble if I added it to the juvenile collection. So, I put it into YA last August and it has circ'd 3 times, which is pretty good, and doesn't count all the kids who read it in the ya room and snicker.
  • Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge
    • Did not purchase.
  • National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar! compiled by J. Patrick Lewis
    • This one I would like to buy, but I am afraid it will just blend into all the dead poetry anthologies sitting on the shelves. Put it on the backlist to buy at some future point when I am allowed to weed the 811s.
  • UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian
    • We have a lot of Douglas Florian and unless they're on a Battle of the Books list they sit on the shelf, gathering dust. Did not purchase.
  • Water Sings Blue by Kate Coombs
    • I meant to buy this one, because I can put it into picture books, but I somehow forgot. Added to my February order.
Young Adult Fiction
  • Boy21 by Matthew Quick
    • Put on the voting board. Did not purchase, although it's a possibility for the future.
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
    • Adults asked me for this one. I bought it in June and it's gone out 8 times and is on hold.
  • Endangered by Eliot Schrefer
    • Put on the voting board. Did not purchase, although it's a possibility for the future.
  • I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
    • Put on the voting board. Did not purchase, although it's a possibility for the future.
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
    • Received through Junior Library Guild in April. Has checked out 4 times.
  • Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis
    • Put on the voting board. Did not purchase, although it's a possibility for the future.
  • Theory of Everything by J.J. Johnson
    • Put on the voting board. Did not purchase, although it's a possibility for the future.

9 comments:

Charlotte said...

I'm so pleased about Beswitched! Thanks for sharing its stats.

MotherReader said...

Wow! I am so impressed with your detailed look at the Cybils books through the library viewpoint.

Stacey said...

Wow! Terry just directed us to this post as part of the early chapter book round 2 Cybils discussion. Very, very interesting!

Beth said...

Wow, very interesting look at how books work at a library.

Jennifer said...

Every library is different too - picture book biographies just gather dust at my library, but at some others they are popular. I'm a small rural/suburban library.

Jackie said...

I'd vote for you buying The False Prince and putting it in Middle Grade. The only thing that puts it a little older is that the bad guy is bad and the possibility of murder hangs over the protag's head. It really is fantastic, and if you booktalk it in 5/6th grade it'll go. But you obviously know your audience better than I (but note I'm not arguing for my own category!;).

Also, I'm betting you bought Drowned Cities because it's the sequel to the Printz-award winning Ship Breaker.

Jennifer said...

I can be down with that - I have lots more fantasy readers, especially of the epic variety - in middle grade. I will consider it again for the downstairs!

Melissa Fox said...

Yeah, I'm not surprised about Peculiar. I've been having a hard time selling it. Though, honestly, I loved it.

Thanks for your frank commentary on our Cybils choices!

Jennifer said...

You're welcome! I don't think everything HAS to be super popular - I buy books with limited appeal sometimes, because I can think of one special child at least who will read them. And sometimes I'm wrong and everybody loves the book! Or what doesn't work in my library will go like crazy elsewhere. So it's more "which Cybils work in my library" than "this is what I thought about all the Cybils" if you see what I mean.