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Monday, January 21, 2008

Interview with Erin McIntosh ~ Cybils Award Panelist

Erin is a singer who tries to be bold, a dancer who wishes she were more flexible, and an actress who thrives in the spotlight. She is first and foremost a bookworm whose wide tastes vary from Babymouse to Shakespeare. You can check out her blog at

What are the Cybils Awards?

The Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards.

How did the award come about?

I believe that Kelly made a comment on Anne's blog, or vice-versa. The wheels started spinning, and within a few days the seed had blossomed!

Is another children's book award really necessary when there are already several presented by the American Library Association?

The Newbery winners award for good writing without really considering kid appeal. The Quills is popularity vote. The Cybils provides a middle ground: Good writing and kid-friendly.

What books are eligible for nomination?

All children's and young adult books published in English in 2007, as long as they weren't nominated a previous year. (A book published in England can be nominated one year but it can't be nominated again the following year when it's published in America, for example.)

How are titles nominated?

You find the correct category for the book you wish to nominate:

Fantasy and Science Fiction
Middle Grade Fiction
Young Adult Fiction
Graphic Novels
Fiction Picture Books
Non-fiction Picture Books
Non-fiction: Middle Grade and Young Adult

And then you merely leave a comment with the title and author of the book. One nomination per person per category.

Eighty-three of the judges and panelists are adult bloggers. Why and how were you chosen as one of the three teenage panelists?

I guess it was a case of being in the right place at the right time. Last year I was the only teen panelist.
Sheila put out a call for panelists for the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category, I emailed her, and she told me yes! I had only recently turned my blog's focus to bookishness, and Sheila liked my reviews, so I made it.

By what criteria are nominations judged?

All of the following (from the Cybils site) are taken into consideration by the nominating panelists:

Writing (and, if pertinent, illustration)
Kid appeal
Is it a book an older child, or even an adult, will rush to finish, before reading it a second time
Is the book innovative?
Does it surprise you with something new?
Does the book speak to you as a reader?

How many books did you read in your role as Middle Grade panelist?

I read 50 books out of the 73 that were nominated.

What Middle Grade titles stood out to you this year?

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George, The Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, Leepike Ridge by N. D. Wilson, The Rising Star of Rusty Nail by Lesley M. M. Blume, Verdigris Deep by Frances Hardinge, Miss Spitfire by Sarah Miller, Louisiana's Song by Kerry Madden, Home of the Brave by Katharine Applegate....I could go on and on.

The Cybils are a grassroots effort. How do you spread the word about the award?

Through blogging! News and press releases are posted on the
Cybils blog and bloggers post to pass those things along - a virtual word of mouth.

What does being chosen as a Cybils Award winner mean for a book and author?

More people blogging and talking about their books! And for the 2007 awards (unlike the first ones in '06) there will be stickers for the winning books and some sort of small recognition for the winning authors and illustrators.

Why are the Cybils important to you?

I love sharing recommendations with people and passing along new, innovative titles - the "best" of the year. If we're helping even a little to give something to the world, or even just a handful of people, it makes me very content and joyful to do so.

What was your personal favorite 2007 novel for young people?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling which was phenomenal, brilliant, and history-making.

The Cybils finalists were announced January 1st. What are the finalists in your category (Middle Grade)?

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
Cracker: The Best Dog In Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata
Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis
Leap of Faith by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Leepike Ridge by Nathan D. Wilson
Louisiana's Song by Kerry Madden
Miss Spitfire by Sarah Miller
Wild Girls by Pat Murphy

When will the 2007 Cybils Award winners be announced, and where will we find that announcement?

The winners will be announced on February 14th, 2008, at the Cybils blog:

When do nominations open for 2008?

Nominations open in October! Watch the site in the fall for updates.


  1. Woot for Miss Erin!

    (Pretty picture, too.)

  2. Thanks so much for the interview, Erin! Your panel did a great job narrowing 73 nominations to a few wonderful selections. Leepike Ridge, for example. :)

  3. Gee, Noel, I wasn't aware that you liked Leepike Ridge... :)
    Thanks for this interview. I'm so thankful for awards and reccommendations like this that help me weed through all the junk and find my way to the wonderful, magical books.
    A hearty amen to HP #7. It was my favorite book of the year, maybe the decade. I'll read it again and again!!

  4. Yahoo, Erin!

    Kim Baccellia

  5. Great job, Erin!
    Thanks to NovelJourney for posting this.

  6. Yay Cybils! Thanks Noel and Erin.

  7. Yay, Erin! What a fantastic job explaining the processes (and joys!) of the Cybils. And thanks, NovelJourney, for posting this feature.

  8. Hi Erin! It's been so fun tracking the Cybils process this year. So many of the books I still have not read. I have my work cut out for me! (I am reading Repossession right now, which I think is a YA or fantasy nominee -- really loving it!)

  9. Wow, Erin. You're a champ. What a fab interview.

  10. Thank you, Noel, for interviewing me. I am so incredibly honored!

    And thank you everyone else for your lovely comments!

  11. How did I never know what the Cybils were? Strange the things that pass you by. Or that you pass by. Great interview and great interviewee. :)


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