CHICAGO – Will Harry Potter triumph among critical bloggers? Will novels banned in some school districts find favor online?
With 90 volunteers poised to sift through hundreds of new books, the second annual Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards launched on Oct. 1. Known as the Cybils, it’s the only literary contest that combines both the spontaneity of the Web with the thoughtful debate of a book club.
The public’s invited to nominate books in eight categories, from picture books up to young adult fiction, so long as the book was first published in 2007 in English (bilingual books are okay too). Once nominations close on Nov. 21, the books go through two rounds of judging, first to select the finalists and then the winners, to be announced on Valentine’s Day 2008.
Judges come from the burgeoning ranks of book bloggers in the cozy corner of the Internet called the kidlitosphere. They represent parents, homeschoolers, authors, illustrators, librarians and even teens.
The contest began last year after blogger Kelly Herold (Big A little a) expressed dismay that while some literary awards were too snooty – rewarding books kids would seldom read – others were too populist and didn’t acknowledge the breadth and depth of what’s being published today.
“It didn’t have to be Brussels sprouts versus gummy bears,” said Anne Boles Levy (Book Buds) who started Cybils with Herold. “There are books that fill both needs, to be fun and profound.”
Last year’s awards prompted more than 480 nominations, and this year’s contest will likely dwarf that. As with last year’s awards, visitors to the Cybils blog can leave their nominations as comments. There is no nomination form, only the blog, to keep in the spirit of the blogosphere that started it all.