Jan 2, 2021

CYBILS Fiction Picture Book Finalists- 2020!

 In case you missed it on New Year's Day (say it ain't so!) the 2020 Cybils Awards announced the finalists titles in all categories. Here's a link to my share of the news as Round One Panelist in the fiction picture book category.

I've read and appreciated every one of these, and each of the nearly two hundred other titles I read with an eye to narrowing so many amazing contenders to this limited list. I've always preferred working in Round One rather than the task, now, of naming only ONE of these as the eventual winner. That would certainly break my heart. I feel shattered as it is that we couldn't commend many more of the top tier titles to this finalist list. 
There were many that came within a whisper of being finalists, let me tell you!

I've written full posts about each of these (and more) in this blog, and others on my Goodreads reviews. So, to help you dig into the best of the best fiction picture books of 2020, here are some blurbs and links to full reviews:

"...a  brilliant anthem for Black males becomes an anthology of countless visual biographies. Specific and worthy and lovable lives are written in the eyes, encounters, and possibilities portrayed. Images like these provide a perfect integration of contemporary lives with the many centuries of inheritance that produced these individuals and their stories."

While this is a brilliant book about dealing with stuttering, "...This remarkable picture book allows all readers to recognize the "dysfluencies" in our own lives, not just in oral language. It holds out hope for adults and children to learn to center ourselves, to become one with the things that matter to us, to trust that the current of our lives will return us to calm, even on our own "bad speech days", whatever those may be."

In a year that has denied the making of new memories in many ways, this gentle story reminds us that the potential for making and sharing memories surrounds us. "There are countless wonderful things about this book, and meaningful ways in which it reveals nature and seasons and life cycles and longing. But mostly, it just might launch someone into making memories."

"With only a few moments of reflection, it is a celebration of Dad-Daughter love, of the power and joy of trusted people in our lives (especially extended family), and the expansive wonder of nature, (from massive redwoods to the tiniest banana slugs). It affirms every stage of recognizing and preparing to face challenges, including the bumps and bravos, and satisfactions of persisting."

THE PAPER KINGDOM, by Helena Ku Rhee and Pascal Campion:

This conveys "...the not uncommon reality of being night service workers with young children. In this case, they deal with a canceled childcare situation by turning a 'take your child to work night' into a series of fantasy adventures while they provide custodial care in the silence of the night."

WE ARE WATER PROTECTORS, by Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade:

"I am rarely speechless, but this book nearly achieves that for me. The incredibly symbolic and fluid and moving illustrations are masterpieces, page by page. The compelling narrative with repetitive patterns of challenge and commitment are timed perfectly for increasing impact. The reader pledge offered on the back page is a call to action, and the after notes about Ojibwe traditional water keepers elevate the entire work from amazing to holy."

DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS, by Carrie Finison:

"Told in rhymed couplet's, LuAnn Bear's generosity and open-door policy is taxed when batch after batch of a dozen doughnuts is consumed by her hungry (and admiring) friends. When empty cupboards and an overwhelming mess are all she has to show for the day, LuAnn does what bears often do- she ROARS. "

I hope that you'll begin this new year with a quick read of each full review, followed by adding them to your library request list, wish list, or shopping cart. These are valuable additions to home, classroom, and library collections, and each will make a beloved gift to others. Choosing just one as the eventual CYBILS AWARD winner is an unenviable task.

If you read in any of the other categories (and I KNOW you do!) checkout the finalists by linking HERE to the CYBILS AWARDS  page and then scrolling down to click on the category of your choice, for all ages and interests. Each offers a treasury of excellence and appeal.

Please stay tuned for links and new reviews for many other outstanding titles that are not on this list, but winners nevertheless. As seriously joyful as we all are that year 2021 has arrived, we can expect many hours of stay-at-home reading in the months ahead. 

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