Cybils – Middle Grade Fiction

I am reading and reading and reading some more, and slowly, my stack of Middle Grade Fiction Cybils nominees is dwindling.  I’m a panelist for this year’s Children & Young Adult Bloggers Literature Awards, and I’m loving it, every page of the way.

It’s been an interesting process for lots of reasons, most of which relate to books and writing and learning how writers make different narrative structures work.   But you know what else has been interesting?  The nominated titles for which review copies haven’t been sent to panelists, including some from bigger publishers.  My publisher for Spitfire, which is tiny by most people’s standards, has sent out review copies every time I’ve made a request.  I guess I’m kind of surprised; I always thought bigger publishers were more liberal about this kind of thing, but maybe not.  Granted, a few of the missing titles have been available at my library, but since it just went through city budget cuts, a lot of them are missing, and I may or may not be able to get them through inter-library loan.  Anyway…just food for thought.

I’m going to start posting reviews of the Cybils nominees with these two understandings:

1. I’m only reviewing books I like.  As a teacher, I love matching kids with books, and I book-talk titles in my classroom all the time.  I don’t badmouth books, even if they aren’t my cup of tea.  I’m not interested in turning a kid away from a book he or she might enjoy, even though I didn’t.  The world would be a very boring place if everyone only read the books that I like.

2.  Just because I don’t review a book here doesn’t mean I didn’t like it.  I’m not going to review all the books I liked. I can’t.  I’d never get any writing done.

One more thing…  I’m glad I’m a panelist and not a judge. I can’t  imagine how they’re going to choose one winner from so many amazing novels.  It’s been a very good year for middle grade fiction.

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