Category Archives: Cybils

I was abducted by a not-so-tiny kindergarten army and I’ve finally made it back home

photo-7I’ve missed this place. I’ve missed having a moment to breathe and think about something other than how to be a kindergarten teacher. With September almost over, I’ve seen and heard and done things I never imagined seeing and hearing and doing on a daily basis until now. For example, last week I barely avoided getting my brand new pair of sparkly ballet flats puked on by one of my most adorable students. Being stylish in kindergarten is dangerous, I’m telling you. By the end of the year I could very well make a go of it on the road as a stand up comedian with some of the stories I have to tell.

It is as crazy as you imagine it might be to spend everyday with 28 three, four, and five-year-olds. A lot happens. There’s giggling. Sometimes there’s crying. There is making things with glue and colouring and building. There is writing and painting and listening and chatting. There are puppet shows and play-dough self-portraits and wonder walks. These are very full days.

And you know what? My kids love stories. In all honesty, stories have helped me get through the past few wild weeks without losing my marbles. Here are just a few of the books we’ve read this month – thank goodness for them:

I hope to be able to get back to proper posting here at the Elf in the weeks ahead. For now I leave you with a few more pictures of my class. Kids sure make beautiful art. Oh, and I’m thrilled to say I’m part of an amazing team of bloggers on the Cybils Fiction Picture Book Team this year – something to look forward to in the dead of winter. All those books will suit me (and my kindergarten army) perfectly.



Feeling the love: Jumping for Cybils (and Valentine’s) Joy

photoAwesome picture, right? That’s me and my hubby doing a heart-shaped jump for joy. (And yes, that’s our sassy old-man Siamese stalking away in the background. He was not impressed by our acrobatics). Earlier this week, we went to do a photo session at jumpshots, an amazing studio in Toronto that is the brainchild of Margaret Mulligan. She is as lovely as she is talented. If you’re in Toronto and you’re in search of a fun way to spend an evening, I can’t think of a better suggestion than a photo shoot at jumpshots.

Today is not just Valentine’s Day (reason enough to jump around, all heart-shaped), it is also the day when the Cybils 2012 Winners are announced. Here’s the link. I was on the Fantasy and Science Fiction YA panel this year, and it was a treat to be able to discuss the finalists with such a smart group of bookish people. I think you’ll find our winner, Seraphina, is definitely worthy of a heart-jump.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and Happy Cybils Day!

You really oughta…

Just in case you didn’t know, the 2012 Cybils have been taking nominations since Monday. Exciting stuff! If you haven’t submitted your picks yet, now would be a good time to scan the nominations lists to see which of your favourites of the last year have not yet been put forward for consideration. The lists are already looking tremendous. Getting awfully excited about Teen Sci-Fi Fantasy. It has been a good, good year in my category, that’s for sure.

And I might as well put a little plug in for a book that has already been nominated in the Middle Grade Fantasy category, one that I am enjoying hugely at this moment. I’m nearly halfway through The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver, and I’m forcing myself to slow down so that it lasts longer. It’s a wonderful, absorbing yarn. Here’s Lauren Oliver talking about how the idea for the book took shape:

Go forth! Nominate! Read the nominated books! Hooray for the Cybils!

Elf out.

This’ll be fantastic: Cybils 2012

I’m waving celebratory sparklers over here because I’m pleased as punch to announce that I’m a second round Cybils judge in the YA Fantasy and Science Fiction category this year. I’m on a new team for the first time ever. How exciting! And what a team it is. I’m happy to be working with these fantastic bloggers:

Round 1
Kim Baccellia
YA Books Central

Flannery Carlos
The Readventurer

Aurora Celeste

Tanita Davis
Finding Wonderland

Karen Jensen
Teen Librarian’s Toolbox

Sheila Ruth
Wands and Worlds

Hallie Tibbets
Undusty New Books

Round 2

Emma Carbone
Miss Print

Zac Harding
My Best Friends Are Books

Kerry Millar
Shelf Elf (Right here!)

Tasha Saecker
Waking Brain Cells

Nicole Signoretta
booked up

Nominations begin very soon, on October 1st. I’m already thinking about my top picks. If you don’t know how the Cybils work, you will find answers to all of your questions here.

I’m going to go have some cake now.

Cybils Finalists Are Here!

Just in case you didn’t get enough outstanding books for Christmas this year, you should be able to find plenty to entice you over at the Cybils blog since the 2011 finalists have been announced.

Of course, I’m particularly interested in the Middle Grade Fiction list, since I’m excited to be a member of the judging panel again this year. So here are those titles:

Darth Paper Strikes Back – by Tom Angleberger

Ghetto Cowboy – by G. Neri

Nerd Camp – by Elissa Brent Weissman

The Friendship Doll – by Kirby Larson

The Great Wall of Lucy Lu – by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

Warp Speed – by Lisa Yee

Words in the Dust – by Trent Reedy

Read more about why you need to read these books right here. I’ve already started. Happy Reading!

The Cybils Winners for 2010…

It’s Valentine’s Day, which means love, and chocolates, (and in my case, a dazzling pair of red boots bought for me by my fella and then put away for long, painful weeks “until Valentine’s Day”), and the Cybils Award Winners!

Of course, I am particularly interested in Middle Grade fiction, being category organizer/judge for that area. So without further ado, the Cybils 2010 winner for Middle Grade Fiction is…

Tom Angleberger’s The Strange Case of Origami Yoda!

It is such a delightful, funny, quirky, true book for Middle Graders. Buy one for someone you love today. What says Valentine’s more than a wise old green guy with giant ears?

Here’s my review (from before it was even nominated for a Cybils Award – don’t worry folks, we’re all about integrity here), and a wonderful little video so you can make a Yoda for your sweetie today:

Now, allow me to link you straight on over to:

The Cybils Winners for 2010 in all of their kid-appeal fab-writing glory

The 2009 Cybils Winners Announced!

Yippee because it’s the day that the 2009 Cybils Award are announced (and it’s Valentine’s Day, International Day of Extreme Spoiling for moi).

Naturally, as the Middle Grade fiction organizer, I’m particularly excited to share the winner in that category, but before I do, I’d like to send out a giant thank you to the first round panelists and the judges this year, for your reading and thinking and discussing. Without you, no Cybils. So I’m glad the world is full of such devoted kidslit bloggers.

Middle Grade Fiction Panelists

Sherry Early, Semicolon
Melissa Fox, Book Nut
Abby Johnson, Abby the Librarian
Kyle Kimmal, The Boy Reader
Becky Laney, Becky’s Book Reviews
Sarah Mulhern, The Reading Zone
Sandra Stiles, Musings of a Book Addict

Middle Grade Fiction Judges

Kimberly Baker, Wagging Tales
Stacy Dillon, Welcome to my Tweendom
Monica Edinger, Educating Alice
David Elzey, Excelsior File
(and me – thanks me!)

To all of you, I send a big, superhero cartoonish heart o’ thanks:

And the winner of the 2009 Cybils Award for Middle Grade fiction is…

Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson. Congratulations Laurie!

For a list of all of the winners, visit the announcement post at the Cybils blog. Well done writers! Well done readers!

(Adorable cheering child picture & superhero-ish heart courtesy of stock-xchng).