I spent the last few months of 2018 as a first round judge (Middle Grade Speculative Fiction) so I haven't actually finished reading last years finalists. But I am optimistic and as soon as I'm done (or sooner, since I'll probably sneak some along the way) I'll get to work on this years.
Of course, my New Year's Resolution is to only check out two library books at a time. Hmm. I see some logistical problems here.
I think the links help out the Cybils team if you buy from them.
Young Adult Speculative Fiction
- Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle) (Amazon, IndieBound)
- Echo North (Amazon, IndieBound)by Joanna Ruth Meyer
- Fireborne (THE AURELIAN CYCLE) (Amazon, IndieBound)by Rosaria Munda
- Internment (Amazon, IndieBound)by Samira Ahmed
- Sorcery of Thorns (Amazon, IndieBound)by Margaret Rogerson
- The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air) (Amazon, IndieBound)by Holly Black
- War Girls (Amazon, IndieBound)by Tochi Onyebuchi
Young Adult Fiction
- Don’t Date Rosa Santos (Amazon, IndieBound)by Nina Moreno
- Heroine (Amazon, IndieBound)by Mindy McGinnis
- I’m Not Dying with You Tonight (Amazon, IndieBound)by Gilly Segal and
Junior/Senior High Non-Fiction (completed)
Junior High Non-Fiction (completed)
- 1919 The Year That Changed America (Amazon, IndieBound)by Martin W. Sandler
- Disaster Strikes!: The Most Dangerous Space Missions of All Time (Amazon, IndieBound)by Jeffrey Kluger
- Mummies Exposed!: Creepy and True #1 (Amazon, IndieBound)by Kerrie Logan Hollihan
- Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets (Amazon, IndieBound)by Gayle E Pitman
- The First Dinosaur: How Science Solved the Greatest Mystery on Earth (Amazon, IndieBound)by Ian Lendler
- The Poison Eaters: Fighting Danger and Fraud in our Food and Drugs (Amazon, IndieBound)by Gail Jarrow
Senior High Non-Fiction (completed)
- A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II (Amazon, IndieBound)by Elizabeth Wein
- Dreamland (YA edition): The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic (Amazon, IndieBound)by Sam Quinones
- One Person, No Vote (YA edition): How Not All Voters Are Treated Equally (Amazon, IndieBound)by Carol Anderson and Tonya Bolden
- Playlist: The Rebels and Revolutionaries of Sound (Amazon, IndieBound)by James Rhodes
- Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship” (Amazon, IndieBound)by Deborah Heiligman
Middle Grade Fiction
- Maybe He Just Likes You (Amazon, IndieBound)by Barbara Dee
- Operation Frog Effect (Amazon, IndieBound)by Sarah Scheerger
- Right as Rain (Amazon, IndieBound)by Lindsey Stoddard
- Roll with It (Amazon, IndieBound)by Jamie Sumner
- Song for a Whale (Amazon, IndieBound)by Lynne Kelly
- The Bridge Home (Amazon, IndieBound)by Padma Venkatraman
- The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise (Amazon, IndieBound)by Dan Gemeinhart
Elementary/Middle Grade Graphic Novels
- The Hidden Witch (Amazon, IndieBound) by Molly Knox Ostertag. I really like the way that people can make mistakes, even horrible ones, but their friends still hold out the hope and chance that they can do better. I also like the art (I could mostly tell people apart!) and the writing.
- New Kid (Amazon, IndieBound) by Jerry Craft. This was a great description of a year in the life of a middle schooler. He's at a new school and has to deal with figuring out the dynamics of his peers. He's black and a minority at this school, which has its challenges. And he's a good kid. I like how Craft sometimes put it the boy's art directly but it still matched the usual drawing -- that worked really well.
- Tiger vs. Nightmare (Amazon, IndieBound) by Emily Tetri. It's a bit hard to rank this one because it felt more like a picture book than a novel, but I enjoyed it a lot. Tiger's friend, the monster under the bed, has been warding off nightmares all her life, but a recent one is scaring him. She has to fight it herself for both her friend and her own security. Good pictures, good story, nice family -- my kids would have liked reading this with me.
- Operatic (Amazon, IndieBound)by Kyo Maclear and Byron Eggenschwiler. I think I would have put this in the YA category; the boundaries are nebulous. The characters are close to the ages of New Kid and Hidden Witch but the themes aim up -- this is about discovering identity, not agency, and about how love fits with our needs and self confidence. It has a lot of lovely moments but for me didn't really come together as a whole, with the identification with the opera singer not really meshing with the crush and with the concern over the missing classmate who is too pure for the for world. But many images are striking and emotionally evocative.
- The Tea Dragon Festival (The Tea Dragon Society) (Amazon, IndieBound) by Katie O’Neill. This is lovely and evocative but not really my cup of tea. I managed to have problems telling the people apart, probably because there isn't a real plot. Still, given that the characters are about as diverse as you can get (they include a bipedal llama and a dragon) that is impressive even for me. I know kids I'd give it to, but I wouldn't have been one of them.
- Crush (Berrybrook Middle School) (Amazon, IndieBound)by Svetlana Chmakova
- Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel: A Modern Retelling of Little Women (Amazon, IndieBound)by Rey Terciero,
Young Adult Graphic Novels
- This was also nominated for a Graphic Hugo, so I read it as part of that packet. It's clearly YA, so I should have checked here! It's a love story between two parte friends and secondarily an adventure dealing with some werewolf hunting bad guys. Lots of earnest diversity and acceptance, which is nice because otherwise I can't tell people apart (somehow I managed to have problems with the grandmothers). I'm cynical enough not to take their young love seriously, but it's sweet to read.
Fiction Picture Books and Board Books
Fiction Picture Books
- Dream Big (Amazon, IndieBound)
by Joyce Wan
- Good Night, World (Global Greetings) (Amazon, IndieBound)by Aleksandra Szmidt
- Huggle Wuggle, Bedtime Snuggle (Amazon, IndieBound)by Della Ross Ferreri,
- Jump! (Amazon, IndieBound) by Tatsuhide Matsuoka
- Peek-A-Bruce (Mother Bruce Series) (Amazon, IndieBound)by Ryan T. Higgins
- Peek-a-Who Too? (Amazon, IndieBound)by Elsa Mroziewicz
- You Are Light (Amazon, IndieBound)
by Aaron Becker
Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction
- Cog (Amazon, IndieBound)by Greg van Eekhout
- Homerooms and Hall Passes (Amazon, IndieBound)by Tom O’Donnell
- Love Sugar Magic: A Sprinkle of Spirits (Amazon, IndieBound)by Anna Meriano,
- Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (A Sal and Gabi Novel, Book 1) (Amazon, IndieBound)by Carlos Hernandez
- The Dark Lord Clementine (Amazon, IndieBound)by Sarah Jean Horwitz
- Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Amazon, IndieBound)by Kwame Mbalia
- We’re Not from Here (Amazon, IndieBound)by Geoff Rodkey
Elementary/Middle Grade Non-Fiction
- Monument Maker: Daniel Chester French and the Lincoln Memorial (Amazon, IndieBound)by Linda Booth Sweeney
- Moth (Amazon, IndieBound)by Isabel Thomas
- Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born (Amazon, IndieBound)by Miranda Pau
- Sea Bear: A Journey for Survival (Amazon, IndieBound)by Lindsay Moore
- Seashells: More Than a Home (Amazon, IndieBound)by Melissa Stewart
- Sonny’s Bridge: Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins Finds His Groove (Amazon, IndieBound)by Barry Wittenstein
- Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team (Amazon, IndieBound)by Susan Hood and
Middle Grade Non-Fiction
- Can You Hear the Trees Talking?: Discovering the Hidden Life of the Forest (Amazon, IndieBound)
by Peter Wohlleben
- Free Lunch (Amazon, IndieBound) by Rex Ogle
- It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers) (Amazon, IndieBound)by Trevor Noah
- Killer Style: How Fashion Has Injured, Maimed, and Murdered Through History (Amazon, IndieBound)by Alison Matthews David and
Easy Reader and Early Chapter Books
- Hello, Crabby!: An Acorn Book (A Crabby Book #1) (Amazon, IndieBound)by Jonathan Fenske. A very simple book with few words but a high humor potential, so it's rewarding to read. It would also be easy to do as a shared read for first decoders. And I like Crabby's humor, so I'd enjoy it.
- Yasmin the Superhero (Amazon, IndieBound) by Saadia Faruqi. Bright pictures help make the words even clearer as Yasmin has a kid-sized adventure. As an adult, I quibbled with her rescue of Ali (the fish vs fishing pole problem) but that's just me. Her family was realistically kind and loving, and I'm always glad to see dads called Baba.
- Fox & Chick: The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories (Early Chapter for Kids, Books about Friendship, Preschool Picture Books) (Amazon, IndieBound) by Sergio Ruzzier. I can see kids enjoying this, but I wasn't in the mood. Fox is a responsible nice guy and Chick is the child-surrogate, but Fox felt too self-sacrificing. Chick ruined everything (I guess except for the cake) but Fox just took it and never gave Chick a chance to learn compassion or even kindness. Sometimes I'm in the mood to roll with the selfishness of children, but sometimes not!
Early Chapter Books (done)
- A Is for Elizabeth (Amazon, IndieBound) by Rachel Vail. OK, I'm not even pretending this is in order that I think kids will like. My name is Beth, short for Elizabeth, so this book is perfect for me. I'm considering changing my signature to match the suggested spelling from Elizabeth's name poster. It was a fun read too, with encouraging short chapters and kids figuring out a fair alternative to relentless alphabetical order.
- Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship: Stories from India (Amazon, IndieBound) by Chitra Soundar. I could only get this in audio because of the pandemic, but that was a delightful way to experience these tales of Prince Veera and his young companion as they compassionately trick people into learning the value of fairness. The stories are based on traditional folk tales, so I recognized some of the tricks but that didn't diminish the pleasure. I bet the illustrations add to the charm.
- Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet (1) (Frankie Sparks, Third-Grade Inventor) (Amazon, IndieBound) by Megan Frazer Blakemore. The drama of third grade comes alive as Frankie advocates for her preferred class pet, anticipating problems by inventions solutions. But an emotional sidewave almost collapses her when she and her best friend disagree. There's a moral here about what friends can expect and demand from each other, and an example of innovation, and a quiet demonstration of the value of reading even when it doesn't come easily. There's more in the series for kids who enjoy Frankie (and there should be a lot of them!).
- Mr. Penguin and the Lost Treasure (Amazon, IndieBound) by Alex T. Smith. This book aims at the early mystery reader. Mr Penguin has read a lot of stories and is ready to live the life. He's a bumbling sort of hero, but he has a lot of competent friends. Kids should enjoy being a few steps ahead of the protagonist for most of the story, and the illustrations and bright colors should smooth the way for more reluctant readers. I did feel it was a bit boy-heavy.
- Rabbit & Bear: Rabbit’s Bad Habits (Amazon, IndieBound) by Julian Gough.This book lost some personal points because my kids and I thoroughly mined the humor of rabbits' poo eating habits, so some of the humor fell a bit flat for me. But given how long it took us to do that I suspect kids would find it hilarious. And the emotional arc of friendship earned was deceptively strong. I do feel a bit bad for wolf, though, even is he was bad. I mean, he was just drawn that way.