This year I had the honor to be one of the second round judges in the Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books category for the Cybils. Not only did we get to read and discuss some amazing books, but because our category is really two-in-one, we got to pick two winners!
I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that Mo Willems' We Are in a Book is bringing home the Cybil this year to go along with the truck load of awards it has already received. This book is my students hands down favorite book in the classroom and mine too. Mo Willems posted the following image of Piggie and Gerald celebrating their Cybil win on his blog.
Gerald's reaction is pretty much the same one I had when we came to our final decision.
(Looking for more Elephant and Piggie greatness? I Broke My Trunk was released just a few weeks ago and once again Mo has not disappointed. Run, don't walk to your local independent bookstore and pick up a copy.)
Early Chapter Books
I am equally happy to see Jacqueline Jules's Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off win the award for early chapter books. It's a truly fantastic book that I've been pushing onto my colleagues and peers for months and everyone of them has come back to thank me. Anyone who works with first or second grade students needs to pick up a copy of this one and start putting it into the hands of your young readers. I promise you they will love it!
(the third Zapato Power book is due out March 1 of this year you should probably call your bookstore and order it)
The rest of the fantastic winners:
Fiction Picture Books: David Ezra Stein's Interrupting Chicken
I read this one to my class and after it one it Caldecott Honor and they really enjoyed it. Since then I've noticed a few less interrupting chickens during read alouds.
Graphic Novels: Meanwhile by Jason Shiga
I picked this one up last spring when it was released and loved the concept but I just don't have the patience to make very much progress through the insanely complex (in a good way) story. Maybe it's because I like vanilla so much more than chocolate.
Middle Grade Fiction: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
I was ecstatic to see this one get the win. Certainly the kids' pick for best middle grade fiction of the year. Its a fantastic book for reluctant readers and rabid readers alike. I for one can't wait to the upcoming sequel.
Poetry: Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer
Like Shiga's Meanwhile one has to admire the shear originality and brilliant execution to pull off such a unique work. Creating a whole new type of poetry cannot have been easy.
Nonfiction Picture Books: The Extraordinary Life of Mark Twain (Accorind to Susy) by Barbara Kerley
If I was blogging three years ago Kerley's 2007 middle grade novel Greetings From Planet Earth
would have been my top pick for most over looked novel of the year. I'm still waiting to get this picture book from my local library but I am eager to read it.
Check out the Cybils website for a the complete list of winners including the young adult winners that I haven't read yet.