Cybils Recap Post!

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Bleeding Out by Imagine Dragons.

When you have a second go on a judging panel for the same award, it's hard not to compare the experiences even though they are like pears and creme puffs (you thought I was going to say apples and oranges, didn't you?). :) I can actually say that because the pears (year 1 - Science Fiction and Fantasy) was completely different than the creme puff medium (year 2 - graphic novels). Both delicious, but different beasts entirely. Click here for a recap of my SFF panel of INSANITY. You know, I rather forgot that I didn't eat for those three months. :)

That post is really cool and very thorough on the complete insider's scoop to a judging panel, if you were ever curious.

This year was fun, and different. Graphic novels are half visual. As such they are generally faster to read. Add to that fewer nominees than the SFF group*and something really cool happened. I was able to read almost every book on the nomination list in its entirety. I could read multiple books in a day. Do you realize how cool this was? I would sit at lunch, munching on my fantastic PB&J sandwich, and go "Hey, I just finished Baby Mouse, Lunch Lady, and Squish all in one hour. I AM A BOSS. Bring on the Big Bad Irondclads!**"

This was so cool. I was able to absorb the full story and feel I could give a really valid argument as to why or why not something should make it to the next round. Confidence builder, I tell you.

That was one thing, I have to say, I was frustrated with during my first panel. It is nothing against the Cybils at all. It is pure logistics. You have to understand the sheer magnitude of the books nominated for that category. There are so many books nominated, it is difficult at best to read them all, and literally impossible to read them all in their entirety. 180+ books in three months? You get this face - o.O - on an almost daily basis.

But the thing that is hard is the thing I really have to commend the Cybils for. Not only can anyone nominate a book, which offers HUGE reservoirs for uncovering brilliant hidden gems (woot!), but publishers can also highlight books they think might have been missed. And on top of that, each book has to be read by at least two panelists. And since we just didn't have the time to read all of the book, once it was read by two panelists, you moved onto one that hadn't been given any love. It was like a tag team race, and it was crazy fast. Because in that panel, we dedicated the last month to reading ALL the books the various judges had shortlisted on their personal list. So scratch my previous estimate. 180+ in two months. This wasn't a problem with the graphic novel panel, and that is one thing I absolutely loved this time around. In fact most books were read by almost all the judges. Made for some lively discussions. :)

I loved being able to weight the drawings alongside the words and see just what they could do with this incredible medium. That is another thing that made this quite different, though I cannot tell you how much I loved being on the SFF panel. Both made me rather giddy at times. :) I also loved seeing the sheer variety of stories this year - a historical next to a fantasy next to a memoir. They were all unique and I adored every second of it.

Now I know you want to know all the secret inner workings of a judging panel this year. The truth? A lot of scrolling. :)

Yep. Lots and lots of scrolling. That's because come dooms day, we gathered in a tiny little chat room and began pelting out our favorites and for the life of me I could not make my little chat box go bigger. And when you have seven hardcore passionate people advocating the little lovelies they think should make the list, let's just say you get a lot of chatter really fast. My little roller ball on my mouse got quite the workout that night.

That is probably the other (real) secret you should know. This list (and I suspect all award lists) are not unanimous decisions. Yes, some were obvious shoo-ins and required very little, if any thought. But others were hot contenders and a couple made it in by the skin of their teeth after a whole mess of discussion (and scrolling). So it is an agreed consensus, and a very strong list. I think all of us are very proud of it.

There were a couple of books that missed my personal favorite list, but the others on the panel had some really good points on why they should not make it. So as award season hits us in full swing in the next few weeks, namely with the behemoth of the Neberry/Printz/Morris/etc. coming out very soon, remember it was probably very much the same. There was probably someone fighting just as hard behind the scenes for that wonderful book you love, and you have no idea how close it came to making it. Because really, it often comes down to the wire. And that is a very comforting thought for me. :)

And NOW! SINCE I am done with the Cybils finally, that means a contest is in order! A promise is a promise. Now it is only one book, but it is one I think you will really like.

Oh, also - what did you think of the comic series I posted for the end of the world? It was... an experiment, and let's just say a wacom tablet is riding on your responses. Did you like them? Were they funny? Would you like to see more cartoons/drawings on the blog? Be honest!

*Dude, nothing can top them. Outside of picture books, they have the highest number of nominees every year. Like I said, insanity.

**Note: Not read in this order. Yes, I remember things like that. :)


Meg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Heather Zundel said...

This is Meg's comment since my blog template is more than a little evil.

Meg said: Loved the comics! Keep them coming! :o) And glad to hear that you're Cybils experience was better this year!

Thank you so much! You are always so sweet in your comments! *glomp* ^_^

Pica said...

It sounds like so much fun to be a judge for graphic novels. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Pica said...

And yes, I would love seeing more comics on the blog!

Kimberly said...

The Cybils sounds amazing! And, yes, do comic strips every now and then. I think they are stylistically interesting, and who doesn't love reading about books?