The only negative aspect of serving as a judge was knowing that SO MANY books deserved recognition, but only a few could move ahead to the finals. After the announcement at the first of the year I'll resume posting my own notes about many of those outstanding titles that I read, enjoyed, and highly recommend. For now, though, I'm excited to see so many of my favorite titles making an appearance on other lists.
I'm particularly excited to share award winning titles from a source I find easy to recommend, for two reasons. First, each category includes multiple titles, not a single winner and a narrow field of finalists. Second, the top titles represent the favorites of teachers, librarians, readers, parents, authors, and others involved in using books with young readers. It's a win-win list, since the selections are undisputed in terms of their value and appeal, so there are no losers among them.
Here are links to the 2015 NERDY BOOK CLUB lists in two categories of picture books: fiction and nonfiction. In each case the lists are long, but overflowing with excellence.
The first is fiction, and I'm thrilled to see that every title included was among those at the very top of my lengthy "best of" lists before narrowing to the final cut. Take time to click and explore these amazing and wonderful offerings, please.
Then move on to explore the remarkable titles recommended in the nonfiction category. Most of these I've also read, but I look forward to giving them closer scrutiny now that my responsibilities in round one of the CYBILS Awards are over.
One reason I sometimes pass on review-requests for this blog is that not every book will appeal to me, and some may not rise to a level that, in my humble opinion, merits the strongest recommendations. And yet I firmly believe that ANY given book, even one that may never be considered for any awards, might turn out to be the exact right book for a particular child on a particular day. Not because of its literary merit, visual quality, design elements, or any other objective criteria.
Perhaps the odd-looking pup featured has the very same name and color as the child's dog who was recently "put to sleep". Or the story involves a situation that somehow speaks to the young reader's own experiences. Maybe it is just the sparkle in the cover art, or a reference to bodily functions. If, for whatever reason, a book tugs at a reader's heartstrings I never want a post or review of mine to suggest it has no value.
On the other hand, books found on these two award lists have made their way there for the very reason that readers have consistently found them to be "that book", have recognized in them something that speaks to their hearts and minds. I'm convinced they will do the same for you and the readers in your lives.
Pass it on.