Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Cybils Shortlist Reading Challenge


Happy New Year! The Cybils are Posted! That means it's time to start my first challenge --  my personal Cybils Shortlist Challenge!

I haven't actually finished last year's list yet, due to a reading collapse in December, although I had all the books. I'll finish ticking them off as I work through this years list. Endless optimism from me! I also note that I managed to read exactly zero of the nominees this year, which means that nothing I nominated made the cut.

I'm especially looking forward to the new audio category. I'm not sure if I should read the book that appears in as both an audio and a text choice, though, except that Grace Lin's illustrations definitely enhance the reading. Again, I'm listing the entries in reverse order, to encourage me to start with the longer ones.

Young Adult Speculative Fiction: 

  1. Illuminae  by Amie Kaufman. I was completely unprepared for this book -- I didn't read the jacket copy and thought it would be a spy thing with hidden societies. I was very pleased to find myself instead on a battered space battleship fleeing a murderous corporate dreadnaught. The kids themselves were rather thin, but they were so busy fighting with the enemy, the authorities, the computer system, and each other that I didn't have time to notice. The various formats of the books kept things interesting as well. Fun read that I recommend to my teens.
  2. The Door at the Crossroads by Zetta Elliott. I liked parts of this very much -- Judah's life in slavery was harrowing, and his ruthless belief that he was free sustained him through torture and violence. The descriptions of the other slaves and owners also seemed nuanced and emotionally real. But the pieces didn't all seem to hold together; the characters seemed to change between sections of the book in ways unrelated to their experiences.
  3. Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas) by Zoraida Cordova. Again there were interesting parts -- the characters and the setting were great. But I found the main character's useless guilt wearisome; if you don't know how to do something and the people who could help you ignore you, then it's not surprising when it goes wrong. And I found her passivity and lack of competence also aggravating because it seemed like the author was trying to avoid having a girl be too strong. She's the long awaited hero -- she can notice her strengths and use them without pretending she doesn't know what she's doing! This is probably more my problem than any kids, though. My son liked this.

  4. Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King
    Dutton Books for Young Readers
    Publisher/ Author Submission

    The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier
    Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
    Nominated by: Charlotte

    This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity) by Victoria Schwab
    Greenwillow Books
    Nominated by: Whinkz

    When the Moon was Ours: A Novel by Anna-Marie McLemore
    Thomas Dunne Books
    Nominated by: Kelly Jensen

    Young Adult Fiction 

    A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes Novel)by Brittany Cavallaro
    Katherine Tegen Books
    Nominated by: Stephanie Burgis

    Beastby Brie Spangler
    Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
    Nominated by: Kim Baccellia

    Runby Kody Keplinger
    Scholastic Press
    Nominated by: Cecilia Cackley

    Salt to the Seaby Ruta Sepetys
    Nominated by: Compass Book Ratings

    The Serpent Kingby Jeff Zentner
    Crown Books for Young Readers
    Nominated by: Esther Braithwaite

    The Weight of Zeroby Karen Fortunati
    Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
    Nominated by: MarisaR

    This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (2016-01-05)by Marieke Nijkamp
    Sourcebooks Fire
    Nominated by: Katharine Manning

    Young Adult Graphic Novels

    1. Ms. Marvel Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson. I didn't enjoy this one as much as the previous volumes; I think I like my ratio of heroics to normal problems to skew more towards the hero stuff. The center this time seemed the problems anyone could have. I realize that I'm wrong, but that's how I roll.
    Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey by Ozge Samanci
    Farrar, Straus & Giroux
    Nominated by: Linda Baie

    Faith Volume 1: Hollywood and Vine by Jody Houser
    Valiant books
    Nominated by: Tiffa

    Lucky Penny by Ananth Hirsh & Yuko Ota
    Oni Press
    Publisher/ Author Submission

    March: Book Three by John Lewis
    Top Shelf Productions
    Nominated by: Becky L.

    Monstress Volume 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu
    image comics
    Nominated by: Charlotte

    Trashed by Derf Backderf
    Harry N Abrams
    Nominated by: Gary Anderson

    Middle Grade / Young Adult Non-fiction 

    Middle Grade: 
    Bubonic Panic: When Plague Invaded Americaby Gail Jarrow
    Calkins Creek Books
    Nominated by: Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

    Fashion Rebels: Style Icons Who Changed the World through Fashionby Carlyn Cerniglia Beccia
    Nominated by: Becky L.

    Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Storyby Caren Stelson
    Carolrhoda Books
    Nominated by: Amanda Snow

    This Land Is Our Land: A History of American Immigrationby Linda Barret Osborne
    Harry N Abrams
    Nominated by: VikingAcademy

    Young Adult:

    1. Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Koreaby Sungju Lee. This powerful story of a child forced to survive on his own reminded me of some of the WWII fiction I read as a kid, except that the realism and nonfiction level made things grimmer. I alternated between admiration for the independence and leadership Sungju displayed and horror at the grim choices and dehumanizing situations he found himself making.
    2. Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The Story of Forensic Science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA by Bridget Heos. The individual chapters had plenty of fun facts about how authorities figured out who killed the dead bodies that turn up, but it didn't real gel together as a complete book. 
    Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rightsby Rich Wallace
    Calkins Creek Books
    Nominated by: Sherry Early

    The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Centuryby Sarah Miller
    Schwartz and Wade Books
    Nominated by: Sara Ralph

    Middle Grade Fiction 

    Full of Beansby Jennifer L. Holm
    Random House Books for Young Readers
    Nominated by: PragmaticMom

    Ghost (Track)by Jason Reynolds
    Atheneum Books for Young Readers
    Nominated by: Abby Johnson

    In the Footsteps of Crazy Horseby Joseph Marshall
    Nominated by: Sussu Leclerc

    Ms. Bixby’s Last Dayby John David Anderson
    Walden Pond Press
    Nominated by: Brenda

    Save Me a Seatby Sarah Weeks
    Publisher not defined
    Nominated by: Maria Gianferrari

    Slackerby Gordon Korman
    Nominated by: Amy

    Some Kind of Happinessby Claire Legrand
    Simon & Schuster
    Nominated by: CDwivedi


    Bookedby Kwame Alexander
    HMH Books for Young Readers
    Nominated by: PragmaticMom

    Fresh Deliciousby Irene Latham
    Nominated by: Linda Baie

    Garvey’s Choiceby Nikki Grimes
    Nominated by: MissRumphius

    Guess Who, Haikuby Deanna Caswell
    Harry N Abrams
    Nominated by: Kortney Garrison

    The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementaryby Laura Shovan
    Wendy Lamb Books
    Nominated by: Adrienne Gillespie

    When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasonsby Julie Fogliano
    Roaring Brook Press
    Nominated by: Sara Ralph

    Board Books: 

    Cityblock (Alphablock)by Christopher Franceschelli
    Harry N Abrams
    Nominated by: Becky L.

    Cuauhtemoc: Shapes/Formas (English and Spanish Edition)by Patty Rodriguez
    Lil’ Libros
    Nominated by: PragmaticMom

    Dinosaur Dance!by Sandra Boynton
    Little Simon
    Nominated by: Alysa Stewart

    Follow the Yarn: A Book of Colorsby Emily Sper
    Jump Press
    Nominated by: ediew

    LOOK, LOOK AGAINby Agnese Baruzzi
    Publisher/ Author Submission

    Fiction Picture Books:

    1. A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins
    2. There’s a Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins
    3. Ida, Always by Caron Levis
    4. The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan 
    5. One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom
    6. Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev
    7. They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

    Elementary / Middle Grade Speculative Fiction

    Shadow Magicby Joshua Khan
    Nominated by: Sussu Leclerc
    The Evil Wizard Smallboneby Delia Sherman
    Candlewick Press
    Nominated by: Lizjonesbooks

    The Firefly Codeby Megan Frazer Blakemore
    Bloomsbury USA
    Nominated by: Sarah Sammis

    The Goblin’s Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called Aliceby Andrew Chilton
    Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
    Nominated by: E.B.
    The Memory Thiefby Bryce Moore
    Adaptive Books
    Nominated by: Kristen

    The Voyage to Magical Northby Claire Fayers
    Henry Holt
    Nominated by: Sheila Ruth

    When the Sea Turned to Silverby Grace Lin
    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
    Nominated by: PragmaticMom

    Elementary / Middle Grade Graphic Novels

    Bera the One-Headed Trollby Eric Orchard
    First Second Books
    Nominated by: Sarah Sammis

    Compass South (Four Points)by Hope Larson
    Farrar, Straus & Giroux
    Nominated by: Amy

    Lowriders to the Center of the Earth (Book 2) (Lowriders in Space)by Cathy Camper
    Chronicle Books
    Nominated by: Lwad

    Mighty Jackby Ben Hatke
    First Second Books
    Nominated by: Charlotte

    Princess Princess Ever Afterby Katie O’Neill
    Oni Press
    Nominated by: Stormy

    The Nameless Cityby Faith Erin Hicks
    First Second Books
    Nominated by: Compass Book Ratings

    The Wolves of CurrumpawFlying Eye Books
    Nominated by: Julie Rowan-Zoch

    Elementary / Juvenile Non-Fiction:

    Elementary Non-Fiction:
    Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bearby Lindsay Mattick
    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
    Nominated by: ktmgiorgio

    Giant Squidby Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann
    Roaring Brook Press
    Nominated by: Lackywanna

    Plants Can’t Sit Still (Millbrook Picture Books)by Rebecca E. Hirsch
    Millbrook Press
    Nominated by: Joanne Roberts

    Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindnessby Donna Janell Bowman
    Lee & Low Books, Inc.
    Nominated by: AYW

    Tortuga Squad: Kids Saving Sea Turtles in Costa Ricaby Cathleen Burnham
    Crickhollow Books
    Nominated by: Patricia Tilton

    Juvenile Non-Fiction:

  1. Masters of Disguise: Amazing Animal Tricksters by Rebecca L. Johnson. Bright colors and a good balance between descriptive sections and background science. Good elementary school science book.
  2. Floodwaters and Flames: The 1913 Disaster in Dayton, Ohio by Lois Miner Huey. Interesting tale of the flood, with clear stories told from a variety of viewpoints and photos illustrating each point. Captions indicate the difference between the image and the story, with clear lines showing where the information is coming from. Most people were chosen to show what was happening in various sections of town, although the inclusion of Orville Wright was clearly for his celebrity.
  3. The Inventors of LEGO Toys (Awesome Minds) by Erin Hagar. A good balance between a history of the company and a biography of the founders, with short bursts of information set off by clear and attractive illustrations.
  4. Will’s Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk by Jane Sutcliffe. Detailed pictures that left me wondering if I was missing a Where's Waldo gag (was Shakespeare on every page?) were muted but appealing. I enjoyed the brief text, which used descriptions of the time and theaters in which the plays were held to give examples of words Shakespeare made part of the language, and then on the alternate page described the use of these words. I'm not sure if it would entice readers who weren't already interested in the Bard, though.
  5. Animal Planet Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals by Charles Ghigna and Animal Planet. This works as a fun picture book, with large pages suitable to share across a lap. The pages vary between big pictures of a single animal and collections of creatures with something shared among them (cool eyes, etc.). I'm not sure how it works as an actual reference book, as there is no real connection between pages.

  6. Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. Whiteby Melissa Sweet
    Nominated by: Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

    The Slowest Book Everby April Pulley Sayre
    Boyds Mills Press
    Nominated by: Katy Manck

    Easy Reader and Early Chapter Books:
    Easy Readers:
    Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! The Cookie Fiascoby Dan Santat and Mo Willems
    Nominated by: Sara Ralph

    Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! We Are Growing!by Laurie Keller and Mo Willems
    Nominated by: Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

    Rabbit and Robot and Ribbitby Cece Bell
    Candlewick Press
    Publisher/ Author Submission

    Snail and Worm: Three Stories About Two Friendsby Tina Kugler
    HMH Books for Young Readers
    Nominated by: LindsayHM

    The Great Antonioby Elise Gravel
    Toon Books
    Publisher/ Author Submission

    The Infamous Ratsos (Ratso Brothers)by Kara LaReau
    Candlewick Press
    Nominated by: Charlotte

    Early Chapter Books:
    Dory Fantasmagory: Dory Dory Black Sheepby Abby Hanlon
    Dial Books
    Nominated by: Melissa Fox

    Juana and Lucasby Juana Medina
    Candlewick Press
    Nominated by: Cecilia Cackley

    The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Hordeby Shannon Hale
    Candlewick Press
    Nominated by: Flowering Minds

    Weekends with Max and His Dadby Linda Urban
    HMH Books for Young Readers
    Nominated by: Ashley Martin

    Audio Books: (Complete) 
    Out of Abaton, Book 1: The Wooden Prince

    1. Out of Abaton, Book 1 (Library Edition): The Wooden Prince by John Claude Bemis.  I enjoyed the special effects -- sound effects and background music that made it even better for car listening. It suffered a bit because I only listen to audio books while driving, so it takes me forever to finish and in this case I had to recheck it out of the library. But after a slow start the middle and especially the end kept me interested.
    2. Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo. The narrator made good use of her voice in this audio -- all three children were easily distinguished by sound alone, and their accents were more southern than the narration. Even the adults were distinguished, although all the old people sounded alike at the home. I enjoyed it. 
    3. The Best Manby Richard Peck. Another narrator who easily kept all the characters distinct. The story itself was fine, but the characters all seemed a bit cliched, especially the girls. Actually even the boys were rather unsurprising. The only surprise was the amount of postering the kids put up with from their British classmate.
    4. When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin. The narrator slowly grew on me (at first she didn't seem too excited about the story) and she had a good balance of voices for the characters and emotion in the narration. However, the story itself seems to be about two children who spend the book trying to help the evil overlord destroy the world, which doesn't really seem like a good plan. They mean well, but that wouldn't mean much to the thousands of lives they are comfortable with destroying.
    5. The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz. This one really didn't work for me. I found the pace excruciatingly slow, and disliked most of the varied narrators. I also (maybe helped by the mismatch of audio to me) found the children flatly unbelievable, and found the wavering historical tone annoying and condescending. I was glad to reach the end of this. I know it's been acclaimed by all, but I'm not getting it.

    Completed: 22 /a lot

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