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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Cybils, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 956
1. Cybils Speculative Reader: DARK ENERGY by ROBINSON WELLS

Welcome to the 2016 Cybils Speculative Reader! As a first run reader for the Cybils, I'll be briefly introducing you to the books on the list, giving you a mostly unbiased look at some of the plot.Enjoy! Synopsis: "There's a lot in the universe... Read the rest of this post

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2. Cybils Speculative Reader: RAILHEAD by PHILIP REEVE

Welcome to the 2016 Cybils Speculative Reader! As a first run reader for the Cybils, I'll be briefly introducing you to the books on the list, giving you a mostly unbiased look at some of the plot.Enjoy! Synopsis: At first, Zen Starling was just a... Read the rest of this post

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3. Cybils Speculative Reader: WHERE FUTURES END by PARKER PEEVYHOUSE

Welcome to the 2016 Cybils Speculative Reader! As a first run reader for the Cybils, I'll be briefly introducing you to the books on the list, giving you a mostly unbiased look at some of the plot.Enjoy! Synopsis: A year from today, Dylan will... Read the rest of this post

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4. Cybils Speculative Reader: WOLF BY WOLF by RYAN GRAUDIN

Welcome to the 2016 Cybils Speculative Reader! As a first run reader for the Cybils, I'll be briefly introducing you to the books on the list, giving you a mostly unbiased look at some of the plot.Enjoy! Synopsis: In a series of flashbacks, the... Read the rest of this post

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5. So, this is happening.

The Cybils Nomination period ends October 15th! Have you made your nomination in every category you can? Turn your attention to something fun - and non-election related, thus SOMEWHAT LIFESAVING AND BETTER THAN FUN - and nominate your favorite 2016... Read the rest of this post

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6. Have You Nominated for the Cybils?

Nominations for the Cybils opened yesterday, so get crackin'! You can nominate for any and all categories, but check what's been nominated already because a book can only be nominated once. So have a few backups ready.

I'll be participating in Round 2 of YA this year. I'm so excited!

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7. Thursday Review: THE FOG DIVER by Joel Ross

Check it out--no whitewashing here!Synopsis: The Fog Diver was this year's Cybils Award winner for Elementary and Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction, and I've been intending to read it for several months now—so when it won the Cybils I made a... Read the rest of this post

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8. Us and Books: We Ship It...

This year AF and I were on the same judging panel - which has never happened before! There were some really interesting finalists this year; do stay tuned to find out what we - and the rest of our hep cat crew - chose for the YA Speculative Fiction... Read the rest of this post

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9.

Overturning Wrongful Convictions: science serving justice by Elizabeth A. Murray, PhD Twenty-First Century Books. 2015 ISBN: 9781467725132 Grades 8-12 I borrowed a copy of this book from my local public library. This is a Cybils book. The opinion expressed in this review is mine, not the committee's. Being wrongfully convicted of a crime you didn’t commit and spending years

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10. Fan Girl's Guide to the Galaxy

This is a Cybils book, but the opinion expressed in this review is just mine, and not the committee's.

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks Sam Maggs

Here's the guide you've been waiting for on Fandom 101, especially for girls. Everything is covered--how to get started, next steps to take, great books to read and shows to wath, how to make an awesome cosplay costume, tips for writing awesome fanfic, finding your people, and dealing with various levels of trolls. Parts of it are a general rah rah rah celebration of fandom, and parts are very nitty gritty hands-on practical advice (which sites you'll want to be on, but with a throw-away name/email that's not linked to any of your other social media)

It's great and interesting and wonderful with one major fatal flaw that made me want to throw it across the room. It's written right on the back-cover, but I didn't read it, because too much is obscured with library stickers. It's "The Geek Girl's Litany for Feminism."

I m a geek girl and I am a feminist... I don't have to prove my nerd cred to anyone, ever.

There are some great lines in there:

From SuperWhoLock to Shakarian, I accept all fandoms and ships as equally meaningful and important in our geek girl lives...I will support empowering, lady-created media and amazing female characters...

And then we get the kicker that made me roll my eyes so hard they almost fell out of my head:

Buffy, not Bella

Because, all fandoms are meaningful and we support lady-created media, right? Oh... only if they're the right ones. Yeah. That's when I flipped back to where she's introducing fandoms and in the list of major fandoms, the Twihards aren't listed at all. Sure, they might be covered under "YA Book Nerds" but the Nerdfighters get their own shout-out. Potter has its own section. In non-book fandoms, Gleeks get a mention. Squints get a mention. Scoobies are mentioned on the list, despite the fact there's a whole section on Whedonites in general. Leaving off Twihards seems pretty deliberate. And telling.

Outside the Buffy, not Bella thing, Twilight only gets name-checked in the section on how to critique media. There's a general introduction about why we need to critique media and that it's ok if we enjoy not-perfect things but... it's glib and kinda snarky ("I'm not telling you... to stop reading your guilty-pleasure YA romance novels!") And in things to look out for, there's a section on "How Healthy is that relationship, anyway?"

There a lot of media out there (like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey) that glorifies abusive, controlling, or even violent behavior as a romantic relationship. When we read these books and think, "Wow, that's so sweet that he shows up at her house, uninvited, at night while she's unconscious, to watch her sleep!" we subconsciously accept that behavior as okay.

There could have been a great section on how things that are mostly liked by teen girls are automatically dismissed as lesser and what that says about us as a society and how to deal with that as a fangirl. Or, you know, it could just pile on.

Most importantly, it could have been a great section on how to reconcile how problematic our faves are. I know all about problematic faves. How? Because I am Buffy, not Bella. And even though this book is all over the awesomeness of Buffy (as it should be, Buffy is awesome) it never points out its problems. And Buffy has plenty of problems.

For instance, that whole thing there it's painted as "romantic" for a vampire to show up uninvited to watch his girlfriend sleep? Before Edward did that to Bella, ANGEL WAS DOING THAT TO BUFFY. Speaking as someone who got into Buffy late in the series and didn't go back and watch the beginning until after I read Twilight? Angel has most, if not all, of Edward's icky points. Buffy's other loves all come with major issues in the "healthy relationship" category. Maggs mentions Spuffy elsewhere in the book, and trust me, Spike over Angel any day, but Spike is ISSUES and their relationship is all ISSUES. And I really like Xander, but that guy is really a whole heap of Nice Guy (tm) problems.

When Twilight was still new there were T-Shirts and sayings of"And then Buffy staked Edward. The End" Yeah... Buffy wouldn't have. Edward and the other Cullens would have all been Scoobies. There's a good chance Buffy would have dated Edward. Or at least made out with him, or had a MEANINGFUL slow dance (note to self: see if there's any good fanfic with Rosalie and Cordelia as BFFs. Or Willow and Alice.)

I think the main difference is not the guys, or the relationships, but Buffy and Bella themselves. To save the world, Buffy killed Angel--I don't think that Bella could have killed Edward. BUT, BUT, BUT in one of my many conversations about this (hi, my name is Jennie, and I'm a fangirl) my Twitter friend @FangirlJeanne pointed out something major that has me rethinking that stance:

Buffy was THE SLAYER. She had a job given to her by the POWERS THAT BE. She was the CHOSEN ONE and had to deal with DESTINY. Of course she killed Angel. Bella didn't. Bella was just a normal girl who turned into a normal vampire and she still fought serious battles before and after to protect her friends and family. If Bella was a CHOSEN ONE and had to deal with SLAYER DESTINY, could she have then killed Edward? If Buffy wasn't the SLAYER, could she have still killed Angel? I don't know, but these are the kind of things fangirls think about late at night, both the Buffys and the Bellas.

Maggs went a snarky, easy route that ended up invalidating a lot of her book for me, undermining her main argument. We like all fandoms, but not that one.

And now I'm rage-defending Twilight, which is not a place a like to be. (This review sums up my Twilight feelings pretty well)

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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11. Elena Vanishing

This is a Cybils book, but the opinion expressed in this review is just mine, and not the committee's.

Elena Vanishing: A Memoir Elena Dunkle and Clare B. Dunkle

It opens with Elena in a hospital in Germany, not sure why her chest hurts so much. She's then medically evacuated to the US, to be treated for anorexia. She next years are a tangle in and out of treatment as everyone watches Elena slip away while she insists she's fine.

This is co-written with her mother, who is a novelist, and it was that story-telling sensibility. Part of that is we are in Elena's head for the entire time, and not Elena-looking-back, but Elena-then, so... holy unreliable narrator Batman. It's a pretty warped (albeit fascinating) perspective.

One thing I would have liked is something on what was "really" happening during all of this, because Elena's POV is so divorced from reality. (of course, I could just read her mother's memoir of the same time, Hope and Other Luxuries: A Mother's Life with a Daughter's Anorexia)

It's painful and hard to read, but also hard to put down.


Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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12. Cybils Nominations--What to Nominate!

Cybils Nominations are Open!

There haven't been that many nominations yet in YA Nonfiction, and we need some more books to read so that we can pick the best ones!

When I was preparing for the Cybils, I started looking around to see what books had gotten stars or a lot of good review so I could start placing my holds and gathering up potential nominees.

Are you still looking for something to nominate? Here's a list of things that I found that would be a good nominee, but no one's nominated yet:



Fuel Under Fire: Petroleum and Its Perils by Margaret J. Goldstein

Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson

The Untold History of the United States, Volume 1: Young Readers Edition, 1898-1945 by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, adapted by Susan Campbell Bartoletti




Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus

The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics (Young Readers Adaptation) by Daniel James Brown

Also, on Sunday, Jean Little Library posted a long list of possible nominations--all of her suggestions for YA Nonfiction are still waiting to be nominated!

Anyone can nominate! If you're reading this YOU CAN NOMINATE. Go do it.



Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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13. Say Hello to Poetry, Cybils Style!

It's that time of year again. On October 1st, the Cybils open for nominations. I am excited about serving again this year in the first round of judging with an AMAZING group of folks. Here's the scoop on the poetry category.


Our esteemed organizer: Jone Rush MacCulloch of Check It Out

Round 1
Round 2
I know we'll have a slew of terrific books to review and report on, with the outcome being a small group of outstanding finalists that will give those round two judges a whole lot to talk about. Last year I racked up $31 in library fines for keeping my books a wee bit too long. Let's hope I'm much better about returning books this year.

I can't wait to get started. Three cheers for the Cybils!

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14. Cybils Awards: Five Reasons to Apply as a Judge!


Everyone else is doing it, so I thought I'd post my five reasons why you should apply to be a Cybils Awards judge. As you would expect, there's a lot of overlap with other people's reasons, but I'll add my own spin on them, and with an emphasis on my category, Young Adult Speculative Fiction. For those who don't know what speculative fiction is, it includes fantasy, science fiction, horror, dystopian, steampunk, and basically anything else with supernatural, fantastical, or futuristic elements.

1. Read and discuss good books. Hopefully you don't need an excuse to read, but it doesn't hurt to be able to say, "Sorry, I can't do the dishes, I have to finish this Cybils book." Cybils judges engage in intense reading - and for Round 1, a LOT of reading - and intense discussions with a small group of people who share your book passion.

In YA Spec Fic, we've sometimes had upwards of 200 nominated books in Round 1, and while you don't have to read them all, Round 1 judges in YA SF can expect to have to read at least 40 books over a 3 month period. (Presumably, you'll already have read some of the category nominations). It's crazy intense, but so much fun! Round 2 judges have to read 5 to 7 books in a little under 6 weeks, but they get to read "the best of the best" and choose a winner.

2. Make lifelong friends. Those intense discussions with like-minded people? Turns out they're a great basis for a friendship. I've made lifelong friends from serving together on a Cybils panel. (And KidLitCon is a great place to meet up with them in person!)

3. Influence the books available for children/teen reading. Yup, awards do have an influence. And while the Cybils don't get as much media as, say, the ALA awards, we have a pretty big and dedicated following that includes teachers, librarians, and booksellers. The books you choose may end up on reading lists, getting purchased by a library, or in bookstore displays. Books that win awards and get that attention may be more likely to be reprinted or have a sequel or other books by the author published.

4. Get your blog better known. Did I mention we have a following? Round 1 judges are encouraged to blog about the books you read, and while Round 2 judges can't blog the finalists during the round, they can post reviews after the winners are announced. Throughout the Cybils season, we post review excerpts with links to reviews by both Round 1 and Round 2 judges to the Cybils blog, thus further aiding discovery of judges' blogs. During the summer, you can contribute themed book lists for posting on the Cybils blog. Being a Cybils judge can bring greater visibility to your blog, increase your traffic, and give you greater credibility with publishers.

5. Learn a lot. I mean, a lot. I sometimes think I know a lot about YA SF, but every year I'm blown away by the knowledge and expertise of my fellow judges, and every year I learn more from them.

What I'm looking for

As Category Chair for YA Speculative Fiction, I have the responsibility to choose the judges for my category. It's my least favorite part of the Cybils: I hate having to choose one person over another, but unfortunately we usually don't have room for everyone.

Here are some of the things that I look for:

1. A passion for speculative fiction. If your "about" on your blog says that you don't really like most spec fic, then I'll most likely pass. If you don't post about SF much, I'll think long and hard before choosing you.

2. Knowledge of spec fiction and its subgenres. Speculative Fiction is a very diverse genre. One day you might be reading a scary ghost story, and the next a futuristic dystopian. I look for people who have read broadly within the genre and can discuss the various aspects, literary elements, and tropes of the genre.

3. Critical thinking skills. I have to know that you can think critically about books and analyze the literary elements and readability of a book. Reviews are a great way to demonstrate this, but if you don't review books, hopefully you can submit other blog posts that demonstrate your critical thinking skills.

4. Open to diverse perspectives. I want to see that you have a demonstrated interest in diversity, and a tolerance for worldviews different from your own.

5. Diverse backgrounds. I mean this in two ways. First, I look for people who can bring expertise or experience with one or more under-represented groups, in what we usually mean when we say diversity. For example, do you blog about people of color, LGBTQA+ characters, differently-abled characters, different religious or worldviews, etc.? Second, I look for a variety of personal and work experience, so that the panel is hopefully made up of a good mix of librarians, teachers, parents, booksellers, authors, etc.

So I have I scared you off yet? Oops, I was supposed to be convincing you why you should apply! Please do apply, and if YA Speculative Fiction isn't your thing, we have plenty of other categories ranging from Easy Readers to Young Adult. We even have a book apps category!

Here's the information on how to apply!

Also, see the following posts for more reasons to apply!




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15. Themed Cybils Reading Lists!

If you haven't been over to the Cybils blog in a while, you're missing out--there's been regularly posted content, including book reviews, featured bloggers, and interviews with this year's award winners. AND, there is a new, fun recurring feature:... Read the rest of this post

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16. Cybils Finalist Review: THROUGH THE WOODS by Emily Carroll

Summary: Horror fans take note: if you're a fan of, say, Holly Black, Neil Gaiman, Edgar Allan Poe--you will not want to miss this graphic novel compilation of spooky tales by webcomic artist Emily Carroll. It's beautiful, and frightening, and... Read the rest of this post

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17. Cybils Scarf Knitting

As you know, I was a second-round Cybils judge this year in YA Nonfiction. To help me prepare, and to have fun arm-chairing the first-round panelists, I read several of the nominations when the first-round was reading them, too.

And, while I was reading, I knit a scarf.




It is warm and cozy and can also be worn as a loose hood to keep my ears warm while not messing up my hair.

It also can cover large portions of my face when the weather requires!





The pattern isn't 100% exact, but if you want to knit one too, here's the general recipe. The actual knitting is pretty easy, but you have to be able to do it while reading. (Knitting while reading is my superpower. It got me through college--the knitting kept me awake while reading boring articles, and if that wasn't enough, I could randomly stab myself with a needle to help me perk up.)

Gather a few colors of yarn in a similar weight.
For this scarf, I used a KnitPicks lace sampler that had been sitting in my stash forever. It's a mix of their various lace-weight yarns, a total of 5 colors.

Find a gauge that gives a nice drape, but is tight enough to still be warm
For me, that was 5 stitches/inch on a size 3 needle.

Cast on 60 inches worth of stitches
So... 300 for me. BUT I did not take into account that, when worn, the weight would stretch it, so it's a lot longer than I intended, so I can loop it 3 times instead of 2.

Join round, being careful not to twist stitches, mark beginning of round
I totally twisted my stitches. :(

Knit in the round while reading your first book
Yes, you have to read and knit at the same time.

When you finish your book, break yarn, join next color
Don't worry about finishing the round. I used a split splice so I wouldn't have to weave in any ends. As you're striping, you can't really tell where the yarns overlap in the finished project.

Purl in the round (reverse stockinette stitch) in the round while reading your next book

Repeat in this way until you've read all your books or are running out of yarn.
I ran out of yarn. Some books were read more than once (especially on the short list) so they have multiple stripes.

Finish final round, bind off in pattern

Lightly steam block
One of the things that makes it so cozy is that the changing between stockinette and reverse stockinette make it bunch up, so it's even more extra warm!


Here's a close up of my striping pattern:



One stripe is not a full round long. Nonfiction lends itself to this, as the books tend to be a size where they stay open nicely on their own. A stapler across the top of the pages also works well to hold it open. If you're working with longer books, you can also switch every chapter or reading/knitting session. I kinda want to do one that is smaller (so it'll just be a cowl, no looping) in shades of dark gray/black with the stories in one of the City Noir books.

Also, just to brag, here's the vintage WWI poster you can see in the edge of the frame:




Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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18. Cybils Finalist Review: HIDDEN: A CHILD'S STORY OF THE HOLOCAUST

Summary: Told through the eyes of a grandmother recalling her childhood during the Nazi occupation of Paris, this story takes the wrenching events of the Holocaust and shows how important it is to remember our history and set it free so that the... Read the rest of this post

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19. The Shadow Hero: Review Haiku

A turtle for our time:

the classic superhero
tale writ anew.

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Lieuw. First Second, 2014, 176 pages.

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20. The Harlem Hellfighters: Review Haiku

A story of wartime
bravery, tainted by
shameful racism.

The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks. Broadway Books, 2014, 272 pages.

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21. A Cybil's Bookmark: SALVAGE by ALEXANDRA DUNCAN

This book is a 2015 Cybils Award YA Speculative Fiction Finalist. This is a review by a finalist judge, so will focus more directly on summary. We hope you pick up this Cybil nominee, read, and enjoy! Summary: Sixteen-year-old Ava is a dichotomy -... Read the rest of this post

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22. Cybils Finalist Review: THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER! by Jimmy Gownley

Summary: This book has got a great title. Rest assured the premise lives up to the promise. This was one of my personal favorite titles from this year's excellent crop of Cybils graphic novel finalists. The autobiographical story of how the author... Read the rest of this post

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23. Gaijin: Review Haiku

A different story
of internment, with
complicated characters.

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner. Disney, 2014, 144 pages.

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24. Through the Woods: Review Haiku

CREEPY AS ALL HELL,
and wonderfully rich and
compelling to boot.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. McElderry/S&S, 2014, 208 pages.

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25. Cybils Finalist Review: THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS by Max Brooks and Caanan White

Summary: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II are, by now, well-known to American and African American history. But the regiment known as the Harlem Hellfighters--the Army's 369th infantry unit--were the first American unit to reach the Rhine in the... Read the rest of this post

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