Posted by: jeannineatkins | February 14, 2011

2010 Cybils Awards

Congratulations to all the Cybils Award winners (click for the link). Marilyn Singer’s Mirror Mirror, illustrated by Josée Masse, won the award in poetry: you can click here for my review of this collection of fairy tales told in palindromes. It’s amazing how illuminating and fun it can be to read old tales from two directions.

It was exciting to have Borrowed Names named as a poetry finalist, along with Ubiquitous and Dark Emperor by Joyce Sidman, who masterfully pleats science and sounds, making connections intricate as overlapping feathers or scales, and Jessica Swaim’s book Scarum Fair, which combines chills and laughter. Honored here more in their roles as editors and compilers, working from their generosity as mentors and colleagues, are Lee Bennett Hopkins for Sharing the Seasons, a joyful collection, and Jane Yolen for Switching on the Moon, which celebrates nighttime rituals for the very young.

Thanks to the judges and all who work hard to make the Cybils happen. Getting their hands on books, reading, musing, discussing, wrestling time from other commitments to blogging, baking, yoga practices, running, communing with Jane Austen, teaching, writing their own poems, guiding and caring for children, and so many other things. Extra hugs and Valentine cookies to you all!

When you’re named a finalist of something and you know you have a chance it feels sad not to get the number one spot, even when you know odds are against the pinnacle and you love the winning book. But you remind yourself it was cool to be a finalist and go on, knowing the crowd of “almosts” or “not this time” is so much bigger than that tiny place on top. And the day isn’t too much changed. Cheers would be a lovely way to start the morning, but then it would be about setting aside the prize, just like sending disappointment to its corner, and turning to a window with its cloudy but marvelous view of all books yet to be written.

Which is the plan. Then I’m baking Jama’s lemon bars.



  1. Hugs and Valentine cookies to you, Jeannine, for your very wonderful book, which was in excellent company, and for that window you’re now looking through with hope and anticipation.

  2. Dear Jeannine, even though you are, as always, immensely gracious, I’m sending over some extra hugs to you today. I’m sure the winning book is wonderful, but I’m thinking of all the readers, especially young adults, who will enjoy your beautiful poems that will launch them into wanting to know more about these interesting women. And they certainly are lucky readers–I can’t think of a more unique way to dip and dive into history.
    I hope your window is clear and full of light for your writing today. xo

  3. I’m so happy for you that your book was a finalist. Enjoy the lemon bars! They were my addiction when I was pregnant with Lily (which, um, might explain the pregnancy pounds). Happy Valentine’s Day!

  4. Thanks, Toby, for all your tea and good wishes.

  5. Lorraine, you’re the gracious one, no matter what is going on. I’ll happily accept your extra hugs and send some back. Thank you for the kind and thoughtful words.
    And lucky, lucky me. I’m planning a quick visit with Melodye while she’s on her mission in New England. Am so looking forward to that!

  6. Thanks, sweet Jeni. I wonder if Lily will have a craving for those bars, too. The recipe doesn’t look too hard for such a wondrous thing.

  7. Your exquisite turns of phrases: “sending disappointment to its corner,” “a window with its cloudy but marvelous view of books yet to be written”–those are dailyisms that keep us going. I wish you had won, too, and the judges must have had a very difficult decision (I’ve been a Cybils judge and remember throwing an off-discussion tantrum when *my* book didn’t make the cut).
    Lord knows we want all the recognition we can get for our books, but it’s the work in front of us that helps us move forward. Let’s wipe a corner of that cloudy window and see what’s there.

  8. Thank you, dear Candice, for your kindness and saying it all. I love that work that helps us move forward. And I love your off-discussion tantrum. It’s a reminder that while most people may not love our books best, somebody out there is happy to read us, and even if she doesn’t know it, is waiting for what’s growing on our laptops right now.

  9. I’m so happy to think of the two of you together. Have a wonderful time!

  10. What a wonderful and gracious post, Jeannine. Even though we try to consider the poems only, and not the art, I think older poetry collections and novels in verse face an uphill battle in the Cybils. I wish there were two poetry categories (but I realize not that many poetry books for older kids are published, sadly).
    Anyway, your book was read and loved and will continue to be so:>)
    Enjoy your lemon bars–those look yummy!

  11. Thanks for your kind words, Laura!
    Actually, it’s wonderful that the Cybils has even one poetry category. Of course it must be hard for judges to consider books for such different audiences as preschoolers and teenagers, and I thank you for your willingness to face that challenge!
    I was happy that my lemon bars came out looking as good as Jama’s and were fun to make and eat. Gave some to friends and now there are two left downstairs, though really one and a half. I’m thinking that half might not be around much longer….

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