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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Cybils, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 476 - 500 of 919
476. Wild Talent: A Novel of the Supernatural


Wild Talent: A Novel of the Supernatural
by Eileen Kernaghan (Thistledown, 257 pages)

In Scotland in the 1880s, Jeannie Guthrie, a sixteen-year-old girl raised by her school teacher father to love books, dreamt of being a famous author. This dream died with her father's untimely passing, and she was hired out as a farm girl. That life too came to an abrupt end, when, cornered in the barn by her lecherous cousin, Jeannie stabbed him with a pitchfork. Without picking it up.

"He clutched his shoulder and stared at the blood welling up between his fingers. "You've killed me," he said, and there was a kind of puzzlement as well as anguish in his look.
"I haven't," I cried. "I didn't." Something had happened, sure enough, and George without question was wounded; yet I felt it had naught to do with me.
"You're a witch," he said, and what I saw in his face now was hatred, and bewilderment, and fear."

Terrified that she has killed her cousin, and fearing that she will be accused of witchcraft, Jeannie flees to London. The fortuitous friendship with a free-spirited French girl, Alexandra David, leads Jeannie to a job as assistant/dogsbody to the formidable Madame Helena Blavatsky, a mystic seeker for spiritual truth, keeper of a salon frequented by the likes of Yeats, and a medium. Recognizing Jeannie's wild talent, Madame draws on her power to convince her audiences of her own spiritual abilities. And Jeannie meets Tom, a young, handsome, and skeptical student of zoology....

But when Madame's health fails, there is no longer a place for Jeannie in her menage. Jeannie's new position, assisting a charlatan in deceiving gullible audiences, is depressing, and, she fears, has alienated Tom. She flees to join Alexandra, who is now living a wild bohemian life in Paris, frantically seeking her own path to what lies beyond. When Alexandra goes too far, and actually enters the realm of spirits, it become clear that Madame's earlier warnings are true--that land is not inhabited by the the dear departed, but by much more sinister forces. Jeannie must follow Alexandra, or leave her trapped in a horrible otherworld.

In a book called "Wild Talent," I expected a lot more about Jeannie learning to live with her gifts, exploring their power, struggling with the how, the what, and the why of it all. There is a little bit of this, but the focus of the book is more on the historical fiction side of things--painting a detailed picture of life among the mystics of late Victorian London, and the artists and poets of Paris. The actual journey into the spirit world takes place late in the book, and only lasts 28 pages.

So if you enjoy well-written historical fiction, with particular reference to spiritualism, this is a book for you. Alexandra David and Madame Blavatsky were actual people, who led fascinating lives. Jeannie herself is a believable character within this historical context. On the other hand, if you are looking for wild magic, this might not be quite what you're looking for.

Wild Talent has been nominated for the Cybils Awards, in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category.

1 Comments on Wild Talent: A Novel of the Supernatural, last added: 10/25/2008
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477. Bewitching Season

Bewitching Season, by Marissa Doyle (2008) is the sort of book I would imagine Georgette Heyer thinking up if she had wanted to add Magic to her trademark regency/early 19th century) romances. Like many a Heyer romance, Bewitching Season features a smart heroine and a handsome and sympathetic male lead, and the setting is the London Season, when young girls of good families came out into society.

Persephone and and her twin sister Penelope are about to begin their season. Pen, the more vivacious of the girls, is eager; Persy, the more studious, feels sick to her stomach. She would far rather continue at home with their governess, learning not just the elements of a classical education, but magic as well.


For unlike the other young ladies, these twins come from a line of female magic users. And Persy will have to use both her magic and brains, and considerable help from her little brother this coming season, when her governess becomes ensnared in a plot to wrest power from the young not-yet-queen Victoria....Unfortunately for Persy, magic and brains are not much use in sorting out the tangles of young love, as she learns when her path keeps crossing that of handsome young Lochinvar.


In short, a pleasant read.


Poor Pen, who gets nothing to do in this book, is apparently going to have a much more interesting time in the sequel, Betraying Season, is coming May 2009.

Here's a rave review at The Book Muncher, and another review at Everyone has a Blue Castle.

And for more nineteenth-century fun, visit Marissa Doyle's blog, NineteenTeen.

Bewitching Season has been nominated for the Cybils Awards in the Science Fiction/Fantasy Catagory--the complete list is here.

2 Comments on Bewitching Season, last added: 10/23/2008
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478. Cybils Nominations


Here are the nomination long lists for the Cybils Awards. I am sorry I haven't talked about it before, but there were TOO MANY posts about it. I didn't figure you would appreciate another. Now you can go to these links and look for books you might be interested in. LOVE IT!
Cybils: The 2008 Nominations
If you have no idea what a Cybils is, go HERE.

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479. Books at Bedtime: Wabi Sabi

We will be publishing a full review of Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein with art by Ed Young in our next issue of PaperTigers so I’m not going to say much now - except that it is stunning and enriching, a gentle, heart-warming delight that lends itself to being read aloud in many different ways! It had already been nominated for a Fiction Picture Book Cybils Award by the time I got round to it (as had a couple of others on my list, making decisions much easier… I finally plumped for Colors! ¡Colores!, which I blogged about last week…).

We’ve been waiting for Wabi Sabi to come out for a while – and one of Aline’s and my thrills at the Bologna Book Fair in April was being shown the proofs for the book by Andrew Smith at Little, Brown and Company, where we learnt that we were not looking at the original but at the second version of art-work…

Yes, this book has an amazing, Wabi Sabi-esque story behind it. It’s hard to explain but Alvina, over at Blue Rose Girls, is the book’s editor and has blogged about its amazing story in four installments – read from Number 1 now! In the meantime, here’s what she says about what Wabi Sabi actually means:

Mark spent some time living in Japan, and while there he was introduced to the concept of wabi sabi. He asked many people about it, and they all paused and said, “That’s hard to explain.” but they would offer a poem, or a photograph, a small description, and gradually, Mark began to piece together the meaning of wabi sabi.

So, what is wabi sabi? Well, as I understand it, it is a Japanese philosophical belief in finding beauty in the imperfect, the unexpected, in simplicity and modesty. For example, a old, cracked clay tea cup is wabi sabi, but a fine china cup is not. Fallen leaves in muddy water is wabi sabi. A scruffy, multi-colored cat can be wabi sabi. Mark actually named his cat in Japan Wabi Sabi!

Her final post on the subject came out on Monday and has had me chuckling aloud – but only after I knew the outcome. All’s well, that ends well! Phew – if ever a book has gone through a parallel journey in real life, this is it!

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480. The Empty Kingdom, by Elizabeth Wein

The Empty Kingdom, by Elizabeth Wein (Viking, 2008), continues the story of young Telemakos, the half British, half-Aksumite (Ethiopian) grandson of King Arthur. This is the second book of the Mark of Solomon duology, set in North Africa and the Arabian peninsula during the 6th century. In the first book, The Sunbird, Telemakos, wounded in body and spirit by months of torture, was further wounded when he lost his left arm to blood poisoning after a lion attack. Sent with his baby sister to Abreha, ruler of Hymar, ostensibly to keep them safe, he began to learn the secrets of his own emperor's erstwhile enemy. But Abreha caught him in an act of apparent treachery, and threatened him with a death warrant.

When The Empty Kingdom opens, Telemakos is serving the final span of his immediate punishment, a period of disgraceful isolation, whose worst pain was his separation from his beloved sister. The valuable information he has learned must somehow be sent home, but how can he do this when his every move is watched by Abreha, who reads his every letter, and whose acts of kindness and respect seem at odds the the death threat hanging over Telemakos' head:

"You sign yourself Meder, lord of the land, and you boast of your disgrace. Do you count yourself so far above other mortals, my shining one, that you make a jest of the order I carry in my sash, and of the iron nails balanced ready to pierce fast your feet and your single wrist?"

The tangled threads of intrigue, politics, and trust are skillfully woven together here, but I would strongly recommend reading The Sunbird first if you want to try to untangle them. I read it last year, when it was a 2007 Cybils nominee, and I still had to focus while reading The Empty Kingdom to try to keep things straight. And these two books are themselves a continuation Telemakos' story, so ideally one should read The Sunbird first. And that in turn is one of a series stretching back to Arthur's Britain, which even more ideally should be read beforehand (see below for complete sequence).

This is a book that I would like to come back to, having read all the earlier ones--I'm sure I would find things I missed in reading The Empty Kingdom this time around (which is a compliment, not a criticism!). For instance, I am still brooding over the title--The Empty Kingdom--which I am sure must be a metaphor that I don't quite get, as yet (the kingdom of Telemakos' lonely spirit??? General emptiness of kingdoms when there is no trust???). Likewise, the world building, in the geographic and cultural sense, is superb in its detailed and nuanced complexity, but carries with it a concomitant possibility that the new reader will be confused.

Telemakos is great hero, not so much in his deeds of action, although those are present, but as a character. In Telemakos, Wein has carefully created a thoughtful, lonely, and intelligent boy, trapped in complex circumstances that seem beyond his control. The pacing of the writing is unhurried, allowing characterization and relationships to take center stage. I imagine that there will be many who love this book for that reason, and others who may become irritated--I fall into the former category.

Amazon has this book listed as appropriate for ages 9-12. It is true that there is no sex or bad language, or actual acts of violence. But I think that (in general) a kid that age might end up confused, and an older kid might get more out of it. Another categorical trickiness is that although this is "fantasy" in the alternate history sense, there is no magic, no supernatural elements--in short, nothing explicitly fantastic at all, so don't expect to find that here!

Here's a review (by another Charlotte), at Blogging for a Good Book.

And here's the sequence: The Winter King, A Coalition of Lions, The Sunbird, The Lion Hunter, and The Empty Kingdom.

The Empty Kingdom has been nominated for the 2008 Cybils Awards in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category (link to complete list at top right).

2 Comments on The Empty Kingdom, by Elizabeth Wein, last added: 10/19/2008
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481. Cybils--the best of last year's Science Fiction and Fantasy

The lists of nominations for the Cybils are being pulled into their final form, and us panelists are busy reading away….but before I get too involved in talking about the 2008 books that have been nominated, I thought it would be nice to take a look back to 2007, and the science fiction/fantasy books that made the shortlist that year.


This is a great list of great books that embody the qualities my fellow panelists and I are going to be looking for in this year’s crop—outstanding world building, vivid characterization, and the sort of all-engrossing appeal that makes a book one that you find yourself pressing in the hands of strangers in book stores and libraries….(well, I have found myself doing this. Sometimes it’s even appreciated). And although several of these books needed no help from the Cybils in finding readers, others were books that before their Cybilian honors had lingered more under the radar. I hope the mix of books we offer at the end of our reviewing period also has on it wonderful books that haven’t yet gotten the buzz they deserve (this is one of the points of the Cybils, after all).

The Science Fiction and Fantasy category, incidentally, is divided into two groups-- older and younger readers (my 2008 list isn’t split yet; the final one will be). I have lifted the following blurbs off of the Cybils site, where you can go to see the other shortlists of 2006 and 2007, so if anyone ever lifts these descriptions from here in turn, please do credit the original authors!

Cybils 2007 short list in Science Fiction/Fantasy

Teen/Young Adult:

Book of a Thousand Days
by Shannon Hale
Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
On her first day as a Lady’s maid, Dashti finds herself sealed in a tower for seven years with her Lady, who is being punished for refusing to marry the Lord of a neighboring land. Tight plotting, beautiful use of language and metaphor, and an engaging main character make this book a standout.
--Sheila, Wands and Worlds

Incarceron
by Catherine Fisher
Hodder Children’s Books (UK)
No one has been in or out of Incarceron for over 150 years. Now, a young man on the
Inside thinks he’s found the way Out--and a young woman on the Outside thinks she may
have found the way In. Success will require going up against the Warden--and Incarceron
itself. The strong writing and characterization, suspenseful narrative, and creative world
building brought this book to the top of the pack.
--Leila, Bookshelves of Doom

Northlander (Tales of the Borderlands)
by Meg Burden
Brown Barn Books
Northlander is an engaging tale which shows how hatred is only ignorance of the unknown.
Though Ellin’s gift of healing saves the Northlander king, she is feared and imprisoned. This gripping tale is both emotionally moving and thought-provoking.
--Kim Baccellia, Earrings of Ixtumea

Repossessed
by A. M. Jenkins
HarperCollins
Fast-paced and sharply funny, A.M. Jenkins’ story of Kiriel--the fallen angel whose name
means “mirror of souls”--takes readers on a week-long ride in the body of an ordinary
human boy. Philosophical in a religious sense, yet untethered from any churchy elements,
this novel’s quirky appreciation of the mundane combines with a wisecracking,
personable narrative voice to create a funny yet thought-provoking novel. (For mature
readers)
--Tadmack, ReadingYA: Readers’ Rants

Skin Hunger
by Kathleen Duey
Simon & Schuster/Atheneum
Take two divergent story threads and weave them into one of the year’s darkest novels.
Add vivid characterization, a quest for knowledge beyond any cost, and magic that is
repulsive but intriguing and you have Skin Hunger.
--Tasha, Kids Lit

Elementary/Middle Grade:

The Chaos King
by Laura Ruby
HarperCollins/Eos
The Richest Girl in the World and the son of gangster Sweetcheeks Grabowski have to find
their way back to friendship, as compelling weirdness enters their lives again in the form
of a giant squid, a super-annoying hotel heiress, an animated stone lion, and The
Chaos King--a “Sid” punk with a serious art fetish. This fast-paced, stand-alone sequel is
accessible to both middle grade and teen readers and is both funny and endearing.
--Tadmack, ReadingYA: Readers’ Rants

Into the Wild
by Sarah Beth Durst
Penguin/Razorbill
A long time ago, all fairy-tale characters fled from their stories seeking refuge from “The
Wild,” a tangled, evil forest. Since then, Rapunzel has kept the forest under control with the help of her daughter Julie, but when it gets too powerful she is forced to depend on Julie to set aside her fears and doubts and defeat The Wild. Julie’s strong character is an inspiring example of duty, survival, and love.
--Traci, Fields of Gold

The Land of the Silver Apples
by Nancy Farmer
Simon & Schuster/Atheneum/Richard Jackson
Books
Land of the Silver Apples has it all--adventure, fairies, old world gods, and an ancient world that is caught between belief in the Old Gods and Christianity. This standalone sequel will appeal to not only fans of Nancy Farmer but those who enjoy adventurous tales.
--Kim Baccellia, Earrings of Ixtumea

Skulduggery Pleasant
by Derek Landy
HarperCollins
When twelve-year-old Stephanie Edgley’s mysterious uncle dies, he not only bequeaths her his house, but a sticky supernatural situation and a rather dashing skeleton detective named Skulduggery Pleasant. This smart novel is full of humor, action, and a real sense of danger--and has a sly wit that would appeal to a wide age range.
--a. fortis, ReadingYA: Readers’ Rants

The True Meaning of Smekday
by Adam Rex
Disney/Hyperion
Nothing has been the same since the Boov invaded Earth and re-christened it Smekland. But things get even weirder when twelve year-old Gratuity Tucci embarks on a journey to find her missing mother--accompanied by her cat (named Pig), a fugitive Boov (named J.Lo) and a slightly illegal hovercar—and realizes that there’s more at stake than just her mother’s whereabouts. A hilarious satire with a touching ending and spot-on illustrations by
the author.
--a. fortis, ReadingYA: Readers’ Rants

Three sequels to books on this list have been nominated this year—Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire, Out of the Wild, by Sarah Beth Durst, and Sapphique, sequel to Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher (I’m looking forward to reading these!)

And speaking of sequels, the wait for the sequel to Skin Hunger is almost over (well, kind of). Sacred Scars will be out in paperback in the UK next June, and here in the US in hardback in August (which seems strange, but that's what fanfiction says). Anyway, here’s the cover:

0 Comments on Cybils--the best of last year's Science Fiction and Fantasy as of 10/17/2008 10:17:00 AM
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482. LAST DAY FOR CYBILS NOMINATIONS

TODAY (OCT. 15) IS THE LAST DAY TO NOMINATE BOOKS FOR THE CYBILS!

The Science Fiction/Fantasy list dosen't actually need any more books on it, but here are a few deserving orphans that haven't made it yet, if you need a suggestion:

Gone, by Michael Grant
Cybele's Secret, by Juliet Marillier
The 39 Clues (The Maze of Bones, Book 1), by Rick Riordan,
The Quest Begins (Seekers, Book 1), by Erin Hunter
Charlie Bone and the Shadow by Jenny Nimmo
Dragon Flight, by Jessica Day George.

Here's where you go to leave your nomiation...but check this list first, to make sure you won't be wasting your vote on something that's already there.

And if you go to this post at the Cybils, you'll find links to suggestions in other catagories!

1 Comments on LAST DAY FOR CYBILS NOMINATIONS, last added: 10/15/2008
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483. It's the Last Day for the Cybils Nominations!

Just like I said up there. You've only got until midnight to express your love and devotion for your favorite books of the year! Is there a book in one of these categories that you can't imagine living without?

From the Cybils blog:

The genres: Easy Readers, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Fiction Picture Books, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade Novels, Non-Fiction Middle Grade/Young Adult Books, Non-Fiction Picture Books, Poetry, Young Adult Novels.
Has it not been nominated yet? Then go nominate, you silly person!

0 Comments on It's the Last Day for the Cybils Nominations! as of 10/15/2008 5:49:00 AM
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484. Angel, by Cliff McNish

Angel, by Cliff McNish (2008 Carolrhoda Books, 311pp)

Freya is only eight years old when she meets her first angel--tall, shining, and beautifully winged. But after that one appearance, it never returns, leaving Freya in a state of angel obsession that becomes madness.

Six years later, she is home from the mental hospital, and has carefully built a "normal" identity--she's become "friends" with the beautiful alpha female of her class and her henchwomen. Keeping that place means being unable to be kind to the new girl in class. Stephanie is the archetypal total looser--wrong parents, wrong uniform, no social skills, and an obsession with angels that she unwisely shares with her class. But this obsession creates a bond with Freya, despite Freya's fear of falling back into her madness, and it is to Stephanie that Freya turns when she sees her second angel, dark and terrifying...Until she knows who the angels are, and why she sees them, Freya will never find peace. And until she accepts her own destiny, Freya will not help Stephanie, or her own troubled family.

Spoilerishness--I thought at first this was more young adult than fantasy--part of the plot is the ya standard of nice girl with bitchy friends who must befriend outcast girl. As I read on, and the angels become increasingly real, and increasingly implicated in the action of the mortals, the story became more clearly fantasy. These angels are living beings (although inhuman), and their role on earth is not specifically as a conduit to the divine.

McNish doesn't go much for subtlety in his characterizations--Stephanie, in particular, is so awfully a looser that she seems overdone (was it really necessary, for instance, for her clothes to be quite so horribly wrong?) Plot-wise, however, the interesting intersections of angels and humans make this a page turner, and I found Freya's personal angelic journey fascinating (although I would have liked a bit more explanation).

This book came out in the UK last year--here's its cover over there.
I prefer the US one, because the book really is about Freya, not about angels in general.

And here's what seems to be the paperback cover, making it look like a gothic thriller, which it isn't.




Angel has been nominated for the Cybils Awards in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category.

1 Comments on Angel, by Cliff McNish, last added: 11/5/2008
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485. CYBILS nominations close tomorrow

You've got one more day to nominate your favorite children's and young adult books of 2008! The CYBILS await you. After October 15, the judges will read, read, read. They will announce the finalists on January 1, 2009 and the winners on February 14.

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486. Great Books not yet nominated for Cybils

Tomorrow is the last day to name your favorite books from 2008 for a Cybils award! If you haven't yet spoken up now is the time. Over one hundred children's book bloggers are on commitees eagerly waiting to review all the best books published between Jan. 1 and Oct. 15, 2008. It only takes one mention for a book to be on the list and sent to the review committee in nine categories: Fantasy and

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487. Last Call for 2008 Cybils Nominations: Act Now

Hurry! Your chance to nominate your favourite children’s book of 2008 in each of nine categories for the third annual Cybils Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards ends on October 15 2008. So pop over to www.Cybils.com and make your voice heard now.

Here are some great books of 2008 that have yet to be nominated:

Nominations close on October 15 2008, so do it now.

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488. Where'd she go?

_
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, everyone! Yes, I'm elbow deep (literally) in pie pastry and turkey stuffing today in preparation for The Big Turkey Supper with all the fixin's.

These past few weeks have been busy.

I manned the reception desk at the fabulously successful Fall Book Harvest held by CWILL BC (my professional writers and illustrators group) at the Vancouver Public Library on October 5. So many authors showcasing their new books to crowds of people...teachers, parents, and kids, kids, kids. It was a great afternoon.

I took a preliminary research trip to a local animal site (Shhh! This project's still at the secret stage, but I'm very excited!)

I've been up to my eyeballs organizing the Nonfiction Picture Book Category for the 2008 Cybils Award. So many great books are already nominated, but so many aren't on the list yet, so if you haven't stopped by the Cybils blog to nominate your fave, get on over there. Nominations close on October 15...only a few more days left! (Just scroll down, click on your category of choice, and leave a comment with your nomination.)

I've also been nose to grindstone reading and writing for my English class (I got an A+ on my essay! I got an A+ on my essay! Sheesh, you'd think I'd won the lottery the way I'm jumping around and carrying on, but it's the first university class in over a decade, so it's pretty exciting stuff, let me tell ya).

And if you're looking for more interesting reading today, Laura and I are talking about social networking sites over on the Bubble Stampede blog, and it's Nonfiction Monday...as always you'll find links to great book talk about kids' nonfiction on Anastasia's blog.

Now I'm off to finish making pie and getting that turkey in the oven, as I contemplate how much I have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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489. Cybils: Missing in Action

Okay, we admit that the comments sections of the Cybils nominations are hard to read. They go on forever with duplicates and page turns making it hard to see if your favorite book is listed. Well, now we’re asking what good books haven’t been nominated. Give us some of your favorites that you’d like to see there, and maybe someone will agree and make the suggestion. There’s already a round-up of posts started at the Cybils, and you can add your Missing in Action list too.

Mine is only picture books, at least for now. I haven’t decided which one of these to nominate, but maybe one of them is a forgotten favorite of yours that I can share.

  1. Ladybug Girl, by David Soman and Jacky Davis
  2. M is for Mischief, written by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
  3. It’s Not Fair!, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld
  4. Katie Loves the Kittens, by John Himmelman
I’ve seen my absolute favorites on the Early Reader, Middle-Grade, and Young Adult lists, but that doesn’t mean that your best-loved books are there. It’s only a couple of days until nominations close, so be sure that you’ve put in your two cents.

4 Comments on Cybils: Missing in Action, last added: 10/15/2008
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490. The Magic Thief, by Sarah Prineas

The Magic Thief, by Sarah Prineas (2008, Harper Collins, 411 pages, but in a large font with very generous spacing).

The Magic Thief has been on my "list of books to seek out list" for ages, so it was with happy anticipation that I opened it, and began to read....and read...and then the children wanted me, so I had to put it down (grrrr), but then I read some more...

Conn has survived on the streets of Wellmet alone, thanks to his quick hands and quick wits. But when he picks the pocket of the wizard Nevery, and pulls out the stone that is the locus of Nevery's magic, his life changes. But life as Nevery's apprentice isn't all fun and games--Conn has only thirty days to find his own locus magicalus, or lose his new status. Much worse is the fact that someone, or something, is sucking the magic out of Wellmet, and Conn has to use every bit of his quickness, and every bit of his new found magic, to defeat the Magic Thief.

I am very glad that this is Book 1--even though this particular plot came to a nicely wrapped-up conclusion, I want more of Conn, and Nevery, and Rowan (the distinguished girl who teaches Conn to read), and I want to find out the backstory (back story?) of Bennet, the knitting tough guy, and I want to spend more time exploring Nevery's giant, ruinous house (he blew it up 20 years before this story in a magical experiment), and I want to learn more about the magic of Wellmet...

Conn is a very engaging narrator, reminiscent of Gen in The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (if you like that book, you'll probably enjoy this one). Interspersed with Conn's story are entries from Nevery's diary, which make for an amusing contrast.

A great book for kids 9-12ish, or anyone that loves a brisk, crisp, magical story. This has been nominated for the Cybils Awards (with good reason!), and here's another review from Nettle, my Cybilian collegue. I have a list of all the books nominated for the Science Fiction/Fantasy here; nominations close on the 15th of October.


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491. Nomination Suggestions

Ya'll only have 4 more days to vote for books in the Cybil Awards and unfortunately, a lot of great books have not yet been nominated. If you haven't yet nominated a book and are at a loss for what to nominate, here are some of my own suggestions:

The Little Bit Scary People by Emily Jenkins (Fiction Picture Books)

Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here! by Barbara Park (Fiction Picture Books)

Willow by Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan (Fiction Picture Books)

Queste by Angie Sage (Fantasy/Sci-Fi)

The Other Book by Philip Womack (Fantasy/Sci-Fi)

Go here to nominate!

The Sky Inside by Clare Dunkel (Fantasy/Sci-Fi)

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492. What's Missing from the Cybils: Early Readers

Have you nominated a book for the Cybils? Hurry up, there's only a few days left. Nominations close on October 15, 2008. Anybody can nominate one book per category.

I've compiled a list of books in the early reader category that are eligible, but haven't been nominated yet. To the best of my knowledge, all the books I've mentioned below are designed for beginning readers, are 64 pages or less and have a publication date between January 1, 2008- October 15, 2008.

There are three exceptions that don't meet the 64 page limit, and if these books aren't eligible for the Cybils, then they should be eligible for the Geisels and the Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award. They are:
All three books are published by Candlewick. Although they have roughly 72-80 pages, Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig and The Twin Giants in particular have appropriate word choices, white space, and liberal use of illustrations throughout the text. I'd definitely consider them early readers. But, we'll leave that up to the judges.

I'm so glad that the early reader category has been established as part of the Cybils (and I'm honored to have been the one to suggest it). I think this genre is extremely important and I've always felt that these kinds of books go unsung. If you click on the Amazon links I've provided below, you'll notice that almost none of these books have been reviewed yet, even though some of them have been published for nine months. After you put in your nomination, drop by Amazon or Barnes and Noble and leave a quick comment or review.

Last year, while all the Newbery and Caldecott predictions were being posted everywhere... the only books I saw on anybody's Geisel prediction lists were Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie books. I love these books, and I'm delighted that There's a Bird on Your Head won the Geisel, and I think it was well deserved. But, Mo Willems just started writing early readers and he's not the only one in the game.

Here's a list of titles that haven't been nominated for a Cybil yet:

Amazing Animal Journeys by Liam O'Donnell

Annie and Snowball and the Teacup Club by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Suçie Stevenson

Ape Adventures by Catherine E. Chambers

Basketball Bats by Betty Hicks, illustrated by Adam McCauley

Family Vacation by Fiona Lock

Fancy Nancy at the Museum by Jane O’Connor

Flood! by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by John Wallace

Goof Off Goalie by Betty Hicks, illustrated by Adam McCauley

Greek Myths by Caryn Jenner

Journey of a Pioneer by Patricia J. Murphy

Just Five More Minutes by Marcy Brown and Dennis Haley, illustrated by Joe Kulka

Let's Play Soccer by Patricia J. Murphy

Lulu's Wild Party by Paula Blankenship, illustrated by Larry Reinhart

Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig by Kate Dicamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

The Mozart Question by Micheal Morpurgo, illustrated by Michael Foreman

My First Ballet Recital by Amy Junor


Pete's Party by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by David Gordon, Loren Long and David Shannon

A Pony Named Peanut by Sindy McKay, illustrated by Meredith Johnson

Quack Shack by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Yukiko Kido

Snow Dogs: Racers of the North by Ian Whitelaw

Snow Trucking by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by David Gordon, Loren Long and David Shannon

The Spy Catcher Gang by John Kelly and Kate Simkins

A Trip to the Theater by Deborah Lock

The Twin Giants by Dick King Smith, illustrated by Mimi Grey

Volcano! by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by John Wallace

Wagon Train Adventure by John Kelly and Kate Simkins

Welcome to China by Caryn Jenner

Wet Pet by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Yukiko Kido

Zoom! Boom! Bully by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by David Gordon, Loren Long and David Shannon

Click here to nominate in the early reader category.

In addition to this list, another great place to look for ideas is the Mock Geisel blog, created by the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Check out the new poll on the sidebar to see if you've nominated a book in every category.

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493. Cybils: Poetry books not yet nominated

The Cybils are the "Children's & Young Adult Blogger's Literary Awards." This is the only book award started, run and awarded by bloggers. We focus on the very best books with strong kid appeal that have been published in the last year. Anyone can nominate one book in each category. I've used my votes already so I'm going to list some suggestions for those of you who haven't done it yet. Books

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494. Three Reasons To Get Excited For Cybil Season

You have one week left to nominate a favorite book for a Cybil. Here are three reasons why you should.

Reason 3: It's Free

No, I'm not making some kind of joke. Some book awards require a nomination fee. The National Book Award for instance, requires a $125 entry fee as well as a contribution of $1,000 from the publisher toward a promotion campaign if the book becomes a finalist. Some state awards (I'm not talking about the state readers' choice awards for children's books) also require a nomination fee.

I don't mean to suggest that there's anything wrong in requiring a nomination fee. There are expenses involved with running an award program, and, since many thousands of books are published every year, the fee probably helps keep the number of books in contention at a manageable level. Or nearly so. But I do think that the fee has an impact on awards. Of course a publisher that has to come up with $125 for every book it nominates for the National Book Award isn't going to nominate every book it published. Anyone can nominate a title for the Connecticut Book Award, but I don't think I have any fans who are so enthusiastic that they'd want to come up with $50 or $75 to do so. (There was a sliding fee determined by the number of copies published, two years ago, anyway.). So I'm guessing that people who want to use their money wisely, look at their books and decide what has the best shot of winning. That decision may be made on the basis of the book's quality or it may be made on the basis of the book's quality and its similarity to books that won the award in the past.

That's what I'd do, anyway.

So for a lot of book awards, the winner is not necessarily the best book of the year, but the best book that was nominated.

Reason 2: It's Your Chance To Influence An Award

You know all that talk about mavericks and outsiders we've been hearing lately? Well, that's sort of what the Cybils are because readers--any readers--have a hand in the decision making. Remember Reason 3, which you should have just read. Any book award is given to the best book of those nominated. You have a chance to nominate a brilliant book that the professionals haven't noticed.

Reason 1: It Gets Book Titles Out In Front Of Readers

Books disappear very rapidly from the public consciousness. Even award winning books. Within a month or two of the Newbery and Caldecott announcements, I see people on listservs starting to speculate about the next year's winners. This year's winner is so yesterday. It's time to go on to the next big thing.

Bloggers are the judges who make decisions about your nominations. And what do bloggers do? They blog. Unlike other book awards where decisions are made behind closed doors (not that there's anything wrong with that), the Cybils panelists and judges are allowed to talk about what they're reading. That means that nominated titles from back as far as January can get some attention again. The attention is good for the books, and it's good for you readers.

While only one book can win, there are thousands of good books out there. During Cybil Season, you'll get a chance to read about them. And one of the books you--and thousands of others--read about could be a book you nominated.

3 Comments on Three Reasons To Get Excited For Cybil Season, last added: 10/21/2008
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495. The Robe of Skulls, by Vivian French


The Robe of Skulls, by Vivian French, illustrated by Ross Collins (2008, Candlewick, 200pp, for ages 8-11)

When a wicked witch realizes to her horror that she doesn't have the gold on hand with which to pay for her new gown (the titular robe of skulls), what else can she do but come up with an evil magical plot? In this case, she hatches a scheme to turn all the princes of the neighboring realms into frogs, and ransom them back to their grief-stricken parents in return for cash. But pitted against her are a spunky girl, escaping a miserable family situation, a prince who would rather run off and explore than mingle pleasantly with other royal children, and the most charming bats I've ever met in a work of fiction. Plus the Ancient Crones!

This is a funny and fast-paced book, and the black and white illustrations are an amusing and engaging addition to the text. Next year, when my oldest is a more confident, nine-year-old reader, I'm absolutely certain that I am going to pressing this, and other books by Vivian French, into his hands. And I have no qualms at all in urging those who already have such a child to seek out this book.

Here are two other reviews, at Kiss the Book and Adventures in Reading.

The Robe of Skulls has been nominated for the Cybils in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category. There's still time to nominate your own favorite books of 2008, so head on over!

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496. Lament, by Maggie Stiefvater

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception, by Maggie Stiefvater (Flux 2008, 336pp) is a great addition to the sub-genre of fantasy in which human girls find their destinies entwined with non-human types (faeries, vampires, and such like).

Deirdre had no idea, when she met Luke, and began to play music with him, that she was at the beginning of a perilous encounter with the hosts of faerie...Her love for Luke, strange and beautiful (and dangerous?), her growing awareness of her own fey powers, and her realization that she has become involved in a life or death struggle against inhuman beings make for a gripping read.

Just a quick warning--things are not wrapped up neatly at the end (although the worst of the danger seems to be over). So you'll have to wait until the sequel, Ballad, comes out next fall to see what happens to Luke and Deirdre...

Here's another, more detailed, review at The Story Siren.

Lament has been nominated for the Cybils in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category.

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497. Remember to Nominate Your Favorite Books for the Cybils!

Remember to put in your votes for the Third Annual Cybils Awards. You have until next Wednesday, October 15th, to nominate a favorite title.  


Here are the rules.

Come on.  Nominate your favorite title.  Click on one of the links to the nine genres below and leave a comment. It's that easy.  


Thank You!

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498. If you’re looking


for a book to nominate for the Cybils, Becky and Amanda have some ideas. And so *cough* do I. In addition to their suggestions, how about:

Debbie Harry Sings in French by Meagan Brothers
I Know It’s Over by C. K. Kelly Martin [nominated!]
The President’s Daughter by Ellen Emerson White (or White House Autumn. Or Long Live the Queen) [My bad! Sorry Angie, they're not actually eligible. :( ]

Or a bunch of books that I haven’t read yet, but maybe you have. (Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg? [nominated!] Getting the Girl by Susan Juby? All We Know of Love by Nora Raleigh Baskin?) Nominations close in less than a week, so nominate your favorite book published between January 1 and October 15 of this year before it’s too late.

      

4 Comments on If you’re looking, last added: 10/14/2008
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499. NFPB - Calling All Nominees!

Last year at this time I published a list of nominated books for the Cybils in nonfiction picture books and named some titles that were startlingly absent. We have a terrific list of nominees to date, but some excellent titles are still missing. Won't you head on over and make a nomination? Here are some of the books I have yet to see on our list.
I'm sure there are many other worthy titles still waiting to be nominated as well. I may be pushing for nonfiction picture books here, but don't forget there are 7 other categories you can nominate titles in. They are:
So, what are you waiting for? Head on over and nominate a title today! Don't forget, that nominations close on October 15th.

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500. Cybils: what's not on the lists yet?

I've been watching the Cybils nominations over the past week and making my nominations. We only have five more days to put books on the lists! The Cybils are the "Children's & Young Adult Blogger's Literary Awards. This is the only book award started, run and awarded by bloggers. We focus on the very best books with strong kid appeal that have been published in the last year. Anyone can nominate

10 Comments on Cybils: what's not on the lists yet?, last added: 10/14/2008
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