And the Winners Are…

February 20th, 2013 by

What do a giant slayer, a puppet prince, and a fifth grader at Beecher Prep have in common?

Hint: They’ve all got a special lady in common…

Well, not exactly. That lady is actually an award called The Cybils, and all three of those people are the main characters of the 2012 Cybils winners!

Sure, everyone knows about the Newberys and Caldecotts and Oscars and Golden Globes and Grammys and MTV Awards… but did you know that contenders for the Cybils can be nominated by anyone — kids included — and instead of just voting, Cybils judges evaluate, discuss, and decide as a group who wins the award? It’s the literary award of the people!

false-prince-jennifer-a-nielsenWinner of Fantasy & Science Fiction:
The False Prince: Book 1 of the Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Sage has been forced to compete with three other orphans to become the impersonator of the king’s long-lost son. With all the lies, scheming, danger, and action, he doesn’t know whom to trust.

Check out Karen’s review of The False Prince from last year where she says “THIS BOOK TOTALLY ROCKS!” — and now that it’s won a Cybil, we have bona fide proof that she and 12-year-old reviewer Rachel have amazing taste!

    Other finalists:

  • Beswitched
  • Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities
  • The Cabinet of Earths
  • The Last Dragonslayer (The Chronicles of Kazam)
  • The One and Only Ivan
  • The Peculiar

wonder-rj-palacio-book-reviewWinner of Middle Grade Fiction:
Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Find out what happens when Auggie, who’s always been homeschooled because of his deformed face and many medical procedures, has a chance to attend regular school (Beecher Prep) for the first time ever. I’m impressed with 12-year-old Ethan’s review of Wonder“IT’S A MUST READ!!” he shouted (in all caps) — while Karen takes the easy road in her review with “it’s wonderful.” But it really is!

    Other finalists:

  • Almost Home
  • Chomp
  • Fourmile
  • Liar & Spy
  • The Adventures of Beanboy
  • The Lions of Little Rock

Bomb-The-Race-to-Build-and-Steal_SheinkinWinner of Nonfiction Books:
Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

It’s a real-life science and spy thriller. Seriously, guys. Everything in this book actually happened and it’s totally nuclear. (Hehe, pun intended!) Bomb is written from three angles: the scientists who built the atom bomb, the soliders who stopped Hitler and the Nazis from building their own bomb, and the spies who stole the bomb for Russia.

    Other finalists:

  • Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War
  • Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95
  • Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World
  • Titanic: Voices From the Disaster

Giants-Beware_Rosado_AguirreWinner of Elementary/Middle Grade Graphic Novels:
Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado

Charlotte’s dream is to be a giant slayer — but there are no giants around her quiet little village. So the answer is obvious: sneak off on a super-secret quest to find a giant! I haven’t read Giants Beware! yet, but it’s definitely moved up my to-read list since it’s won the Cybils!

    Other finalists:

  • Hilda and the Midnight Giant
  • Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller
  • Little White Duck: A Childhood in China (Single Titles)
  • Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad!

Ack! I haven’t read all of these books, and the non-winning finalists seem pretty awesome too. At this rate, my to-read list is going to be as long as Moby Dick. Never read it? It’s really long. Good thing Moby Dick isn’t on my to-read list.

So, what do you think of the winners — deserving, or was another finalist totally robbed of its recognition? Leave a comment below or send in your own review of a Cybils finalist or winner!

—Nancy

icon_nancySeriously, world. We’ve only gotten to February of this year. Nancy cleared out her to-read list just a month ago and now it’s back to dozens of titles!

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Wonder by R.J. Palacio

January 2nd, 2013 by

wonder-rj-palacio-book-reviewSubmitted by Ethan, Age 12 from New York

Rating: ★★★★★

This is a great book to read. I think it should win the Newberry Medal. I like it because it’s about a kid named August who has a special feature and he is bullied. I don’t like the bullying parts but I do like the parts where he gets helped and people are nice to him. IT’S A MUST READ!!

Book Review: Wonder

September 12th, 2012 by

wonder-rj-palacio-book-reviewOkay, I’m just going to say it: Wonder by R.J. Palacio — it’s wonderful.

Couldn’t be helped. Had to say it. And not just because it’s a super cheesy thing to say and I’m a super cheesy person; I had to say it because it’s true!

Wonder is about Auggie, who has been home schooled all his life because of his deformed face and all the medical procedures he’s had to undergo. But now Auggie is headed to regular school for the first time — and that would be nerve-wracking enough for a regular kid; for Auggie, it equals total upheaval of his life.

But that description doesn’t do justice to the book and how totally, totally awesome it is. Because when you read Wonder, you won’t think of Auggie as an interesting character with an interesting story; you’ll think of him as a real kid, just like one of your friends, or even kind of like you.

Don’t believe me? Check out the amazing book trailer for Wonder, to hear from Auggie himself. I posted it a while back with a few other book trailers that I thought were pretty awesome, but you know what? The Wonder video is soooooooo good, I’m gonna post it again right here:

To find out what happens when Auggie gets to school, and to hear more from him, his sister, and the other kids at his school… obviously, you should read the book!

— Karen

Karen cried several times while reading this book. They were all happy tears, but she still got asked, “Does the main character die?” Don’t worry, Auggie doesn’t die!

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