Thursday, January 1, 2015

Cybils Awards; or, Putting my money where my mouth is, edition 2014

This is my "putting my money where my mouth is" post when I look at all the finalists and see which will work for my library and budget. It's a little convoluted this year, because my collection development last year and this year is weird. A large chunk of my budget is going towards replacements for the picture book collection, pursuant to my Neighborhoods project. More large chunks are going towards easy readers and nonfiction, since those are next on the list. New picture books and juvenile fiction are going to be a smaller portion this year, mostly just trying to keep up with series. I've left out the young adult fiction and speculative fiction and book apps because I don't purchase in those areas (I gave ya to our cataloger and we don't buy digital content).

I've marked the titles I've already purchased, have on a backlist and plan to purchase later, and passed on as not a good fit for our library. Some things I've put on my own To Read list to give a second look before deciding.

Fiction Picture Books
This is the category I was a first round panelist in. I think we ended up with a list with a lot of variety on it, something for everyone and every library!
  • Brimsby's Hats by Andrew Prahin
    • Backlist
  • Here comes the Easter Cat
    • Purchased
  • The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett
    • Pass - I have some titles with similar storylines and I try not to purchase too many wordless books.
  • Knock, Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty
    • Pass - this won't circulate well at my library
  • Maple by Lori Nichols
    • Purchased - very popular
  • Shhh! We have a Plan by Chris Haughton
    • On January order - I want to use this in storytime
  • This is a Moose by Richard T. Morris
    • Purchased. This was one of the most asked-for books of my pre-summer school visits. I still get kids coming in asking "do you have the funny moose book?"
This is the category that I organize and moderate. I really, really loved the shortlist my panel came up with this year.
  • Angel Island by Russell Freedman
    • Backlist - Freedman doesn't always circulate as well as I'd hope
  • Chasing Cheetahs by Sy Montgomery
    • Backlist. I loved this one, don't know how I missed it. Will definitely purchase.
  • Feathers: Not just for flying by Melissa Stewart
    • Purchased. Been using in storytimes. It's awesome.
  • Handle with Care by Loree Griffin Burns
    • Backlist. My problem with Milbrook is they are so darn expensive. But it's an awesome book. Will decide later.
  • Separate is never equal by Duncan Tonatiuh
    • Pass. This won't circulate.
  • Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats by Sandra Markle
    • Backlist. This is also Milbrook
  • When Lunch Fights Back by Rebecca Johnson
    • Purchased. This is Milbrook but definitely worth a little extra. Has been very popular.
This is the third category that is near and dear to my heart. I think Katie did an amazing job her first year as organizer and they turned out an awesome list.
  • Clara and Clem under the sea by Ethan Long
    • Backlist. I thought I'd bought this but it was a different Clara and Clem.
  • Dory Fantasmagory
    • On my TR list
  • Extraordinary Warren by Sarah Dillard
    • Purchased.
  • Inch and Roly and the Sunny Day Scare by Melissa Wiley
    • Backlist. I have others in the series.
  • Like carrot juice on a cupcake by Julie Sternberg
    • Purchased. I'm not really a fan myself, but the kids like them.
  • Lulu and the rabbit next door by Hilary McKay
    • Purchased, of course. We are big Lulu fans.
  • Lulu's Mysterious Mission by Judith Viorst
    • Pass. I don't have any in this series and don't think it will circulate well.
  • My new friend is so fun by Mo Willems
    • Purchased, of course.
  • Okay Andy by Maxwell Eaton
    • Purchased
  • Pigsticks and Harold and the incredible Journey by Alex Milway
    • Backlist
  • Steve and Wessley: The Ice Cream Shop by Jennifer Morris
    • Backlist
  • Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure
    • Purchased. Has circulated quite well.
  • Lion who stole my arm
    • On my TR list
  • Violet Mackerel's possible friend
    • Purchased. I discovered this series back when I was on this panel and it's been very popular.
This is the last category that I like to play in - I've only paneled on it once, but the graphic novel collections of my library are near and dear to my heart.
  • Bad Machinery: The Case of the Good Boy by John Allison
    • Pass. I buy these for myself but they're too quirky for my library (I'd call them teen myself)
  • Ballad by Blexbolex
    • On my TR list, but unlikely to work for my library.
  • Bird and Squirrel on Ice
    • Purchased. Love. I reviewed this for No Flying No Tights but had to buy a copy for the library because I refused to give up my review copy to the library.
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
    • Purchased. It hasn't been as popular as Smile, but it's gone out well and I think it's an amazing book.
  • Gaijin: American Prisoner of War
    • Pass. I don't think this will circulate.
  • Hidden: A child's story of the Holocaust
    • Added to my TR list.
  • The Dumbest Idea Ever by Jimmy Gownley
    • Pass. Amelia Rules! goes out when I push it, but it doesn't have "fans" in the sense that Bone or Amulet do who would look for something else by the author. Also, books about "how I came to make comics" don't circulate well for us.
This and nonfiction are the only young adult categories I buy in. But the only things that really circulate beyond manga, superhero comics and Simpsons is Faith Erin Hicks and Courtney Crumrin, so I don't buy a lot here.
  • Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks
    • Added to my TR list but probably won't purchase.
  • The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
    • Pass. I personally liked it, but Yang's last work, Boxers and Saints, is gathering dust and I don't think this will circulate either.
  • Through the woods by Emily Carroll
    • Has been on my TR list for a while - I will probably purchase.
  • To this day: For the Bullied and the Beautiful by Shane Koyczan
    • Pass. This won't circulate.
  • In Real Life by Cory Doctorow
    • On my TR list. I'll have to think about whether it will circ or not.
  • Strange Fruit vol. 1: Uncelebrated narratives from Black History
    • Pass. This won't circulate.
This is the category that I've often looked at longingly...but I have to be honest and admit that I couldn't hack the amount of reading needed for it. I am in awe of the organizer and panelists! I'm really tight with my budget this year in this area though.
  • Abby Spencer goes to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj
    • Backlist. Albert Whitman has done some really good diverse titles that circulate.
  • All Four Stars by Tara Dairman
    • Pass.
  • Death by toilet paper by Donna Gephart
    • Purchased! Kids love this one - I want to read it sometime but haven't gotten around to it.
  • Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
    • Purchased. Has been very popular.
  • Nickel Bay Nick by Dean Pitchford
    • Backlist. Can always use more mysteries.
  • Crossover by Kwame Alexander
    • Pass. Sports novels are actually not very popular around here and in verse really won't work for my readers. 
  • Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern
    • Purchased. Has circulated well.
I've really slowed down my reading in this area over the past few years, so it's a good thing Cybils is around to keep me up to speed! Again though, this is an area that I'm not purchasing heavily in this year.
  • Nuts to you by Lynne Rae Perkins
    • Backlist but probably won't purchase - animal books have not gone well for us the last few years.
  • Boys of Blur by N. D. Wilson
    • Backlist - will probably order
  • Castle behind thorns by Merrie Haskell
    • Purchased
  • Greenglass House by Kate Milford
    • Just recently added to my TR list
  • The Jupiter Pirates: Hunt for the Hydra by Jason Fry
    • Backlist
  • The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham
    • Pass. I reviewed this a while ago and while I liked it, I didn't see it hitting that bar of popularity that I need for juvenile purchases while my budget is so tight in that area
  • The Swallow: A ghost story by Charis Cotter
    • Added to my TR list
Poetry....really does not circulate well at our library. If it's something I can slip into the picture books, it has a much better chance of making a hit, but with my picture book budget mostly given to replacements I don't have as much room for trying new things.
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Wilson
    • Purchased. This has done really well. I put it in fiction, although that's not strictly where it belongs, but I was pretty sure it would circulate better there and I was right.
  • Dear Wandering Wildebeest by Irene Latham
    • Pass. This could go into picture book, but is too expensive for the amount of circulate I expect.
  • Firefly July by Paul Janeczko
    • Pass
  • Hi, Koo by Jon Muth
    • Purchased - this is one that circulates quite well as a picture book
  • Santa Clauses by Bob Raczka
    • Pass. No more Christmas books for us right now.
  • Voices from the March on Washington by J. Patrick Lewis
    • Pass
  • Water rolls, water rises by Pat Mora
    • Backlist. Normally, we put all the bilingual in Spanish, but I'm toying with putting the bilingual in the regular collection with a Spanish sticker, since it doesn't circulate well. Maybe have a list too, since it's such a small collection anyways....hmm...
This is one of the areas I wanted to improve in this year. Our YA NF collection is just a couple shelves and it's primarily browsing material.
  • Alice + Freda by Alexis Coe
    • Pass. I went back and forth on this one - my teens do like their dramatic horrors, but this felt a little closer to adult or at least older teen. I have a LOT of middle schoolers that I don't think would really be mature enough to read this. So I think I will pass on this one.
  • Be a changemaker by Laurie Ann Thompson
    • Purchased (coming on our Junior Library Guild order) I'm looking forward to handing it to the teens who complain they have "nothing to do".
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out edited by Susan Kuklin
    • Backlist. As I said, our collection is small - I have Queer: The Definitive GLBT guide for teens and I didn't think we needed another title. But Cybils had me take another look (and isn't that what Cybils is all about?) and I think this would be of interest to teens for the stories, as well as any personal interest they might have.
  • Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a modern geek by Maya van Wagenen
    • Pass. Sigh. I sometimes wonder where all these geeks that other teen librarians talk about are. I've never met one in my library. Maybe they will appear when we start doing teen programs seriously this year?
  • Family Romanov by Candace Fleming
    • Backlist, will probably purchase to replace an old Romanov book.
    • ok, I have to admit I'm biased on this one. Fleming writes awesome nonfiction but I was reading a book about historical royalty and when I got the Romanovs I was just....SO ANGRY. Look, it's tragic that they died etc. but what about the millions and millions of innocent people that died during the Romanov's rule? Just because the Tsar was weak and stupid and possibly insane why should we have all this pity for them? Why should their story be more worthy of being told just because they had wealth and status? I can't explain why, but this really, really bugged me that people are so interested in this family of lunatics. Anyways, it's not a book that will circulate for teens, but I think it's fine to go into the juvenile biography section which needs to be updated. Maybe If I could bring myself to read it I would find it was more about the era and not so much celebrity oh-isn't-their-story-tragic, which it probably isn't, it being Candace Fleming, but I'm still MAD.
  • Freedom summer murders by Don Mitchell
    • Backlist. Civil rights and history in general don't circulate much in the teen area, but I think this could maybe go in juvenile nonfiction and if not might circulate enough to be worth it for YA.
  • Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin
    • Purchased. I don't expect it to circulate heavily, but this was one I felt we absolutely had to have.


Gail Gauthier said...

I loved seeing the thinking that goes into library purchases.

Elisa Bergslien said...

Interesting take. I too love seeing what circulates in different places. I have to admit that I didn't look up the pricing of the Millbrook books when we were judging and I was a bit shocked to see them afterwards. Eek! That sure makes them a tough choice, as they would come at the expense of 2-3 other choices.

I was having a tough time reading Feathers: Not Just for Flying out loud because of how the big connecting text read. How do you cope with it ?

Elisa Bergslien said...

BTW - I loved your Family Romanov rant and agree with it totally. I have always wondered the same thing.

I have this issue with some fiction too BTW - we are supposed to root for our 'hero' while there are massive casualties going on in the story that we are apparently supposed to ignore for some reason.

Jennifer said...

When I use nonfiction with younger kids, preschool - kindergarten, I rarely read straight through - the books are more of a dialogue so I'm looking for simple sentences and really good pictures that will spark off discussion. I actually have a post on easy nonfiction going up in February maybe - I should talk more about using dialogic reading with it there!

Jennifer said...

Yeah, I don't know why the Ramonov's set me off so much but I just can't get over it - yeah, it's tragic that the princesses died, but WHAT ABOUT THE THOUSANDS OF PEASANT GIRLS DYING??