Cybils Awards v. The Walking Dead – a No Brainer

Cybils AwardsWhy count the days until the The Walking Dead, when you could already be celebrating the launch of the 2015 Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards (@Cybils)?! See, I told you it was a no brainer!

This year, the Cybils Awards are celebrating its 10th Year! The 2015 Call for Judges opened on Monday, so while you’re waiting for that show to start, head on over to the blog to learn more about the Cybils Awards and, think about applying as a judge.

Rather than repeat last year’s post with my top three reasons why being part of the Cybils Awards rocks, I am going to ask you to consider three questions.

1. Do you read and blog about children’s and/or YA adult books?

Books nominated for the Cybils Awards come from readers just like you, and we’ll put out a call for nominations shortly.

BUT if books for kids and young adults are a staple in your reading and blogging diet, then why not share your knowledge with like-minded reviewers?

2. Do you love learning about new books?

As much as I read in a year (about 200 books), there are A-L-W-A-Y-S new books I discover through the Cybils process. Being a Cybils Panelist (Round 1) or Judge (Round 2) is a great way to grow as a reader. Whether you are into adding more titles to the TBR pile of your favorite genre, or are looking to stretch yourself more in a genre you don’t review as often, there is no better resource than fellow panelists and judges.

This also applies to learning about new blogs. I always find wonderful new kidlit and YAlit blogs that I want to follow. Little known fact: Katie Fitzpatrick (@MrsKatieFitz) and I met through the Cybils Awards process when she was a panelist one of my first years as the Easy Reader / Short Chapter Chair. Now she’s the chair!

3. Do you hate those long winter nights?

There is no better way to get through the ho-hums of winter than to curl up with a great book (or two or three!). Autumn can be a particularly busy time for some folks with re-establishing back-to-school routines, and the onslaught of holidays. I know those feelings. Come January you’ll be looking for meaningful discussion and new books to read!

If you answer yes to these three questions, and you are passionate about helping connect kids with books that have literary value and are kid friendly, then you really don’t want to miss out on this unique opportunity. Trust us, its a no brainer!


The Cybils Awards 2015

Apply Today.

Avoid the Summer Snide

No, that’s not a typo!

Before I go on, I want to be clear that summer slide is a very real thing. Learning is a skill and like any other skill, it takes regular practice. Just ask Michael Phelps – when he doesn’t practice, he doesn’t finish races with new personal best times. Even in the breast stroke (which he r-a-r-e-l-y swims).

The Summer Slide

In a report released earlier this spring, Reading is Fundamental outlined some of the very real reasons for summer slide. Two Key Findings in Read for Success: Combating the Summer Slide in America stood out. 

  • A child’s access to books (the study focused on rural / impoverished areas) is critical.
  • Engaging – and guiding – parents in working with their children is equally important.

Every year, from mid-spring through Labor Day-ish, #summerslide is part of our literacy conversation. From “get ready, it’s coming” to “let’s prevent” ideas, talk of summer slide is all around us. Consciously or subconsciously, it is on our minds. It’s been on my mind a lot, too.

I’m thinking about that blurring line between getting the word out and raising awareness and mounting that “high horse” from which we measure parents who “failed” to keep their kids’ skills razor sharp. The summer snide.

What do to about Summer Snide

avoid summer snide

This post is for those of us who may be feeling guilty about letting reading practice and math worksheets slide this summer.

  • Could we have done things differently? Maybe. Probably.
  • Should we cram 10 weeks worth of worksheets in before school starts next week? Probably not.

Enjoy what’s left of your summer.

Spend your energy focusing on the learning ahead and getting your kids excited about what’s to come. Cramming wasn’t a good thing in college, so it definitely isn’t something to model for a second grader! Changing the routine to add in daily practice drills and worksheets now are more likely to discourage that excitement of learning than make up for “lost” time.

Stop worrying. There is nothing you can do about the summer snide. Let. It. Go. Did you have a good summer? Did you do fun things with your kids? Awesome.

I bet y’all had wonderful conversations and learned some really cool things. Did your son call Grandma to tell her about the man-eating jellyfish he found? Bet she loved that! Did your daughter draw a picture to send to her favorite aunt? Cool.

Don’t get me wrong, reading with your child is important, but it isn’t the only way to build their vocabulary, practice their reading, and strengthen their literacy skills. As the RIF study reminded us – helping our kids achieve success is a partnership between parents and kids.

Take heart in the everyday ways that you engage your children with literacy and learning.


Bad News for Outlaws – a #TBT Book Review

It is hard to believe that it’s been almost six years since we read and reviewed Bad News for Outlaws.

bad news for outlaws Bad News for Outlaws
The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshall

written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Carolrhoda Books, 2009

Colonel George Reeves was so impressed with the marksmanship skills of his young slave Bass that he would take him hunting and enter him in shooting contests. He even took Bass to fight beside him in the Civil War. After Bass got into an argument with Colonel Reeves and struck him, he had no choice but to run. He settled in Indian Territory; at the end of the Civil War, he bought some land in Arkansas and settled down. When outlaws started using Indian Territory for their hideouts – and wreaking havoc – it was time for the government to step in. Bass was deputized as a US Marshal. He captured many wanted men and women, even earning their respect.

Reading Tub book review of Bad News for Outlaws, September 2009

Why a Throwback Thursday for Book Reviews?

Those of us who blog about books are a community. We read lots of books, we write lots of reviews, and we share those reviews with fellow book lovers and those in search of books for children and teens on our blogs, websites, and via social media.

We write so many reviews that, over time, they get buried by other, newer reviews. BUT! that book we read three years ago will always be new to some reader, somewhere. So why not share that review with a new audience?

Everyone is welcome! Here are the participation guidelines:

  • If you reviewed the same book we’re featuring, add your permalink to the original review on the Reading Tub website or in the InLinkz Linkup.
  • Want to (re)share a review you posted in June 2009, then add your permalink in the InLinkz Linkup. [No, it doesn’t have to be a book you loved; but it does have to be a review you take a lot of pride in.]
  • Add any notes about the review in the comments, please.

The spammers have been having a blast with our Throwback Thursday posts … now its your turn to take back blogging from those nuisances. Did you review Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia? Or another book from May 2009? Add it to our linkup above or comments below.

Too late for the #TBT linkup?

No worries, add your review on our review page at the Reading Tub.

NOTES: Bad News for Outlaws cover image links to The Reading Tub has an affiliate relationship with Amazon. 100% of any income from this source is used for our literacy mission.