Cybils Awards – I’m a Round One Judge!

I cannot believe they picked me.

Even though I was a Round One Judge for middle grade last year, I was sure I wouldn’t be selected this year. I think enjoyed myself so much last year, I knew what I would be missing this year if not chosen. I haven’t hit refresh on a webpage since the last time I was checking to see if I passed the bar! But, they picked me and I am a Round One Judge for YA Speculative Fiction.


I took this right off the about page and I love it. “At its heart, the Cybils Awards is a group of readers passionate about seeking out and recognizing books that represent diversity, inclusion, and appropriate representation for children and teens. To accomplish that goal, the Cybils Awards works to recognize books written for children and young adults that combine both the highest literary merit and popular appeal.”


Also known as “panelists,” the round one judges basically check the list of nominated books and read until you cannot read anymore. Then, you whittle down the list to a few finalists for the Round 2 Judges to pick a winner. I do not envy them having to make a choice! The full description is here if you are curious.


The category that I will be helping to judge is young adult speculative fiction. I think we all know what “young adult” covers but, for the sake of clarity, Cybils defines this category as for 12-18 year olds.

According to last year’s YA Speculative fiction chair Jenny Ehler, “Speculative Fiction takes us to realms of the imagination: places and times and realities where the rules of life may be different than our own and where the impossible and improbable become real. But good science fiction and fantasy does more than that: it asks, “What if?” It makes us think. It holds up a mirror to our own society and lets us see ourselves in a different light. Magic, aliens, ghosts, alternate universes, time travel, space travel, high fantasy, dystopian, post-apocalyptic futures, horror, and sentient animals are just some of the many topics that belong here.”


The best part of being a judge is getting to know the other Judges. Leading us through this adventure is Sondra of Sonderbooks. Then there is Jessie @ The Library Coven, Jennifer @ Raise Them Righteous, Karen @ Teen Library Toolbox, Melissa @ Here in the Bonny Glen and Sarah @ Sarahyael.

I hope to talk a lot about the YASF books over then next few months and try to keep my thoughts organized. I put a drop down menu at the top of the page for YASF 2022 if you are interested in looking at the books we are all reading. And, if you cannot wait, you can make suggestions and check out the book on the idea boards!

9 thoughts on “Cybils Awards – I’m a Round One Judge!

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    1. Actually, you try and get them all from the library or other sources. They only send you books if you can’t get your hands on a copy. Which, I really like (even though I want the books, all the books) because it means if I have a better library system than another Judge we end up having more equitable access. I did get some hard copies last year though!


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