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February 01, 2007


Monica Edinger

I'm as big an intellectual snob as they come, but have no problems with the qualifications of the CYBILs judges. In fact, I have been very impressed with the way you all have put these awards together.

Regarding credentials, since these are awards BY children's literature bloggers, it seems to me that judges just need to be those who have been reading and blogging about this topic thoughtfully. And you've indicated that they have by providing links to their blogs,highlighting their reviews, and profiling many of them as well.

What is so cool about electronic communities (blogs, mailing lists, etc) is the diversity. I joined the child_lit list serve in 1994 and met people not only from all over the world, but from a variety of occupations ---- scholars, writers, editors, librarians, teachers, passionate readers, and more. I see something similar happening within the children's lit blogosphere and am absolutely delighted to see that diversity represented in the judges of this award.

Since this is the first time you've done the award you might want to (after February 14th) create a vehicle (perhaps here) for people to let you know how they feel you could tweak the process for next year. That would be the place to thoughtfully further discuss credentials perhaps.


Little Willow

A quick response, because I must dash to work -

I am a bookseller. I specialize in children's lit and teen fiction. I started reading when I was 2. I cannot remember being unable to read, and I have always loved stories: writing them, acting them out, reading them.

I worked at the local public library for years, then at bookstores ever since I was old enough to earn a paycheck. I am also a freelance book reviewer and, if you didn't catch it earlier, a writer. I've known that I wanted to write teen fiction since before I was a teen myself!


Interesting topics in the discussion so far!

I know that some have felt that our panelists weren't qualified enough. My experience being on a panel and coordinating another has been great. I've gotten to know so many great bloggers and feel so much more connected to the kidlitosphere than I did before.

My committees have been especially great--and very diverse: authors, librarians, book lovers. And I've been very impressed by what everyone has brought to the committee.

Jennifer, Snapshot

I am a judge (and an unqualified one at that), so take it with a grain of salt :) I alluded to this in my comment on yesterday's process post, but I think that the diversity has been great. It seems that we have a lot of librarians and authors, who are industry experts as far as I'm concerned. I think that over the coming year a good thing to think about is how exactly the Cybils are different from other awards and capitalize on that.

I know that many states have awards given by kids, including the Nutmeg here in CT and the Bluebonnet in my home state of TX, and they are well-regarded. The only expertise that the kids bring to the table is that they are the ones reading the books. I think that the same goes here.


Just to respond to your bit about the folks who work for the ALA, Kelly - I review for the ALA at Booklist and I am not a librarian, do not have a degree in literature, snf do not in any way shape or form have any academic experience of the literary type.

Yet I review books that help librarians decide which titles to order for their stacks.

Go figure.

I was hired purely through my work at Bookslut and some good reponse from folks I had reviewed and on a trial basis with my editor. Clearly after a couple of years, she and I are getting along great. I do specialize in books that I have a bit of experience with from college (degree in northern studies, so I typically review northern related books), but my last review was for a book on New Orleans - because I blog for the Voices of NOLA and thus have evident interest in the city. I have also reviewed lots of natural history and environmental books - I just like reading those subjects.

All of this is a long way of saying that even though I get checks from the ALA, I'm no librarian. I think it's very cool that you guys are largely associated through your kid lit blogs - it shows a commitment to the literature that transcends professional (or academic) requirements.

Heaven knows, you don't have to work at a library in order to love books!


What qualifies anyone for anything? Really? What's more important than passion and enthusiasm? Black & white qualifications can look good, but ultimately it's love for the subject that makes a person good at it.

As a personal defense, I've a BA in Writing & Literature and a MLIS. I'm the librarian daughter of a librarian who grew up with an extended family who love books. But it is MY LOVE for teen lit that I think qualifies me as a panelist.


It's interesting, because on the surface of things, I don't know that I even meet the stated criteria of "running a blog about children's books." I have a blog, but it is about reading, poetry, word-games and stuff in general. In any given month, I might have very few blog posts specifically about children's books.

But the children's lit blogosphere IS where I tend to hang out. Why? Because I've always had a fascination with and love for children's books -- from my undergrad thesis, to my graduate studies and conference papers, to today. I don't blog about it much because I'm still learning from others who've been in the space longer, and hoping that after my Cybils stint is done, I'll be able to dive in deeper in this pool.

Kim Baccellia

Wow! Interesting question. How do you determine if someone is qualified or not?
I was one of the panelists this year. I loved the whole process of working with those in my committee.

To tell you a little about myself, I have a BS degree in Education and taught for fifteen years. I worked with second language students, the primary language was Spanish. I also completed graduate work in bilingual/bicultural studies. It was from my experience working with these children I came up with the idea of my YA novel, Earrings of Ixtumea.

I'm an active member of SCBWI and have been attending a weekly critique group for over three years.

I first stated my live journal blog when I took an on-line YA chick lit class with Lauren Barnholdt, author of Reality Chick. From there I've met writers, librarians, and others involved in the publishing world.

I think the whole idea of the CYBILS is great.


Wow, Kim, those are great credentials--much more impressive than mine. (Plus, on a personal note, I love the idea of a fantasy novel where the magic totem is an earring. Enough with the rings and swords!)

I think this issue is a sleeper that will come up much more strongly next year, when we get many more volunteers. We may find ourselves with more people than we need, so how do we determine who fits and who doesn't?

I'm one of these people who hates firm guidelines on anything. The second we adopt criteria that says you must have this or that on your resume, I think we've lost something.

On the other hand, I want our many talented and highly qualified panelists to feel they're among their peers so they don't get frustrated.

It'll be an interesting balancing act, to be sure.

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