The snow is all gone. The rain and wind are here! I just read an email about the dismal state of affairs for education in Washington and am trying to stay focused and positive.
If this were Monday, I would be talking about the CYBILS Nonfiction Picture Books shortlist. The first day back was rather wild so Nonfiction Monday did not get written. I do want to share about the CYBILS and the process.
First: My team: Tricia, Debbie, Beckie, Dave and led by Fiona were fabulous. We seemed to work well together. Our biggest challenged appeared to be getting copies of all the nominees. This brings me to my second point
Second: In fact, I received two books after our finalist list was sent in and I know another team member received books too late as well. It is a shame that some nominees could not be fully considered. I looked and looked within the public library systems and my own district for some of the new titles to no avail. I hope the publishers will really consider sending nominees to the panel members next year in a timely manner. The CYBILS does such a great job of promoting books.
For the past two years, I have served as a poetry judge which I loved doing. What I noticed about being on the panel to decide the shortlist for the NFP Books was less stress. I wonder if that is the way others feel. It felt good to be able to nominate five -seven titles and not just say definitively, “This is THE one. This is the best!” I mean they are all great books.
I found for me drawn to books with engaging information for readers of all levels. Kid appeal and saturated with information were two important criteria for me. Almost all the books were filled with lots of information but some more than others really smacked of kid appeal, the kind of book that is likely to be on student hold lists. The judges will have their work cut out for them as they decide CYBILS Award for the Nonfiction Picture book from the following list:
Astronaut Handbook, written and illustrated by Meghan McCarthy
If any one book will spark the curiousity about becoming an astronaut, it it this book! The illustrations are bold and engaging. The text is written at a level that explains some pretty difficult concepts. I thought immediately of a few students who are interest in the space field.
Duel!: Burr and Hamilton’s Deadly War of Words, written by Dennis
Brindell Fradin and illustrated by Larry Day
I doubt that this title will stay on the shelves. If a teacher doesn’t have it check out, it will be in the hands of students eager for information about some pretty famous characters of early America.
Fabulous Fishes, written and illustrated by Susan Stockdale
Playful and yet nonfiction, the line-up begins now with Fabulous Fishes for those marine biology scientists. The illustrations are spectacularly colorful.
Nic Bishop Frogs, written and photographed by Nic Bishop
Anyone who has read Nic Bishop’s Spiders knows that he is brilliant behind the camera. This new addition does not disappoint. I am left wondering where to sign-up for photography classes by this author.
A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, written by Jen
Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
The story behind one of my favorite poets. Bryant has made more of his poetry accessible to the younger students and Sweet’s illustrations are a major compliment to the text. I cannot wait until April to pair this with last year’s CYBILS for poetry: This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness by Joyce Sidman.
Wanda GÃg: The Girl Who Lived to Draw, written and illustrated by Deborah
This book charmed me with a quiet story of Wanda Gag who wrote Millions of Cats(always a favorite). The author pulled from Gag’s own journal entries to tell the story of a remarkable person.
Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa, written and
illustrated by Jeanette Winter
I loved the illustrations in this story. And Winter tells anincredible slice of life about 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Wangari Maathai. In this time of environmental concerns, this story brings to the forefront the power of one person’s actions in the world.
So if you have not had an opportunity to read any of these, head to your own library and check them out. You can also check out other finalists here.