Happy Cybils New Year! Really, when all the confetti is swept up, the champagne bottles put in recycling, and your hangover nursed back to a semblance of sobriety, what else is there? Us, that's what!
We're back again with another list of books that kept our panelists riveted through the holiday season. We sifted through more than 1,300 books and apps this year. Phew! We have this down to a science by now, but even so, there have been a few changes.
Book Apps continue to grow in both number and sophistication, with many apps reaching out to middle- and high-schoolers, as well as the little kiddos. We changed the name of Science Fiction and Fantasy to Speculative Fiction, reflecting the trend in the industry itself to include genre-bending tropes. Dystopias in particular are still running strong, perhaps owing to the continued success of Hunger Games, a Cybils winner long before the rest of the world got Katniss fever.
The Young Adult Fiction folks report a rather unusual spate of sex, violence, and therapists this year. I tend to think it's related to Spec Fic's dystopias -- our economy limps along, and the teens reading these books know that college costs are soaring even as admissions remain ruthlessly competitive. What does their future hold? The odds are not ever in their favor, and perhaps these dystopias and dysfunctions are the postmodern answer to escapism. Grandma had her Shirley Temple movies and the Good Ship Lollipop to steer her through the Great Depression. Kids today have wicked high tech or a sympathetic shrink.
Or, as early 20th Century fantasist and philosopher G.K. Chesterton put it, "Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten."
Here's to another year of helping kids face their dragons.
--Anne Levy, Cybils Editor-in-Chief
The 2013 Cybils Finalists
Click on each link to take you to the full listing of finalists and the panelists' blurbs.
Elementary & Middle Grade