Thank you, Cybils, for choosing me as a first round judge for the Fiction Picture Book category for your 2014 awards competition.
Okay, I’m a little bit nervous, too. This is my second year in this
robe role, and I know how much work is involved, how organized I’ll have to be, how my reading chair will be surrounded with stacks and stacks of books. But honestly, I can hardly wait for it all to start. Really!
The reading of more than 200 books in about six weeks is a fabulous experience for a picture book writer. You breathe, eat, and dream picture books. In a good way. I learned so much from the great books nominated last year, like:
- SOPHIE’S SQUASH by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf (humor, tenderness, layers of story, the interplay of words and pictures)
- JOURNEY by Aaron Becker (how luscious illustrations can cause each read to take longer than the previous)
- IF YOU WANT TO SEE A WHALE by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (quiet simplicity, quiet complexity).
I also learned from the other judges — how we each approached the evaluation process, how stalwart we were for the books we loved, and the subjectiveness of it all. This lesson shines light on the submissions process and makes it more bearable. (I lie. It’s still frustrating.)
So I’m ready for more. Bring it on!
Wishing you could be part of it all? You can! Nominate your favorites (one per category) beginning October 1. Get the how-to here.