Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Let's Go, Cybils Force!

It's that time of year again. The trees are changing, the festers are festing, and people let me officially judge things.

Yes folks, fall is in the air and so is the pungent scent (thesaurus.com tells me I could have also used, "whiffy") of the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literacy Awards (Cybils). I was grateful to my Past Self for pasting that image ahead of time, so I could correctly spell out the acronym.

Nominations are open now and run through Oct 15. They have a handy nomination page  that is even easily accessible on mobile devices. You can nominate your favorite title in the following categories:
Book Apps; Easy Readers/Short Chapter Books (never fear, these are two separate things. I too was worried); Fantasy & Science Fiction; Fiction Picture Books; Graphic Novels; Middle Grade Fiction; Non-Fiction Picture Books; Non-Fiction: Middle Grade & Young Adult; Poetry; Young Adult Fiction.

Judging is based on kid-friendliness, which is definitely key. And if there's anyone who knows kid friendliness, it's kids. BUT, if there's anyone who's a grown woman who watches Cartoon Network while drinking in her pajamas...


ANYWAY, I nominated some great things, and so should you. But they won't be as great as mine, because things can't be nominated twice, and I already stole the best ones. For instance:

Book Apps
For the second year in a row, I have the pleasure of being on the Book Apps committee. The second I saw that the nominations were open, I jumped on the chance to nominate my favorite from the past year (which actually came out one week after the 2011 awards publishing deadline):

Some people call themselves fangirls/boys of various things. All material created by and for them, and the realm in which they exist, is a metaphysical arena called a fandom.

I used to think that I could not relate to this subculture. But I have come to realize I am a fangirl of exactly two things:
1) hoppy beers (beers that are overly bitter due to the excessive use of hops-- I like to think they taste like children's' tears)
2) Mo Willems.

It's for this reason, given the fact there were no beer brewing book apps for kids, that I nominated Don't Let the Pigeon Run This App. Oh, also, it's really good.

When it first came out, this app was $7.99, and has now settled in to a more market-friendly $4.99. My favorite part about the app is the use of mad libs to create sillier and sillier stories. Mad libs are actually sneakily educational, since kids can practice appropriate sentence structure (I mean really, how else are students going to learn verb tense, and the difference between a noun and a verb? A not boring way, I mean).

The fact that the reviewers on the iTunes site seem to think there's no educational value to it makes me want it to win even more. There's no educational value to a book, either, if you just let it sit there.
Yeeaaah, watch out, I'm waxing philosophical.

Non-Fiction Picture Books
 One of my favorite things about the Cybils is that this category exists at all. As someone who loves it when kids get tricked into learning things, non-fiction picture books are a thing of beauty. Especially when they are as invitingly gross as Poopendous by Artie Bennett (illustrations by Mike Moran).

For instance, here is a list of synonyms for poop that a non-fiction inclined elementary kid can insult his/her younger siblings with: guano, dung, pellets, dung, manure, cowpie. Or for the particularly astute, using-neutral-facts-as-insults: "Hey sis, guess what! You're a Maasai tribesman! Know why? You live in a cow dung hut!"
Haha! How do you like your population numbering 840,000 in Kenya in the 2009 census?

Anyway, there's a lot here to enjoy, including the fact that poop is described in rhyme. AND the illustrations just beg for it to be grabbed right off the display shelf. Also, the narrator's name is Pip Poopdeck. PIP POOPDECK. If you don't think that's an awesome name, I can't believe you're still reading this blog.

Regardless of the fact that I already nominated great ones, never fear! Good titles still exist and you should nominate them right away.

Click here to go to the nomination form!

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