My Best of — Cybils Middle Grade Panel Edition

We’ve hashed, discussed, chatted, pleaded, and, in the end, came up with a shortlist, which we turned into our panel organizer today. The official lists are scheduled to go up on the first of January, so you’ll have to wait until then to find out what they are. As is to be expected, because of the nature of panels and compromises, not all of my favorites from the 72 books (of the 129 on the original list) I read made the shortlist. But, I think they deserve some recognition, if only because I loved them. 🙂

The ones that got 4.5 to 5 stars (5 stars on my Goodreads page, since they don’t do 1/2 stars)
The Penderwicks on Gardham Street, by Jeanne Birdsall
Shooting the Moon, by Frances O’Roark Dowell
The Girl Who Could Fly, by Victoria Forester
Diamond Willow, by Helen Frost
Moxy Maxwell Does Not Like Writing Thank You Notes, by Peggy Gifford
Every Soul a Star, by Wendy Mass
Forever Rose, Hilary McKay
Island of Mad Scientists, by Howard Whitehouse

And a few others worth mentioning:
Chancey of Maury River, Gigi Amateau
The Trouble with Rules, by Leslie Bulion
A Thousand Never Evers, by Shana Burg
The Walls of Cartagena, by Julia Durango
The Gollywhopper Games, by Jody Feldman
Savvy, by Ingrid Law
Bringing the Boy Home, by N.A. Nelson

Looking at the list, I can see that my old habits are still manifesting themselves: I like books by women authors, mostly about girls. I liked all three of the fantasy-middle grade crossover books. There are three historical fiction, but mostly it was realistic fiction that took the day (not counting the one horse book I found I liked).

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the other members of my panel; they’re smart, passionate readers and we had a great pile of books to work though. Our two chats, and multiple Yahoo group discussions have been fascinating and enlightening and thought-provoking. It’s one thing to sit here and blather about how much I like a certain book; an entire other one to chat with six other people and have to come up with reasons in favor or against said book. It’s been a marvelous experience, one I’m very glad and grateful to have been a part of.


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