The Cybils Awards for 2021 books are out! These awards for children's and YA works recognize books with "highest literary merit and popular appeal." That's a tough standard, and it's hard to choose just one winner.
Hop! Stop! Hop! Stop! SO MUCH SNOW!
Check! Peck! Check! Peck! COME ON, LET'S GO!
Peep! Cheep! Peep! Cheep! WE WANT MORE!
Till back they bounce through the barn house door.
In You Don't Have to Be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves, Diana Whitney selected works by 68 poets including Amanda Gorman, Margaret Atwood, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Elizabeth Acevedo. The poems, exploring themes of loneliness and longing, seeking and sadness, shame and rage, speak to girls coming of age. Whitney says she wanted to collect voices she wished she'd heard when she was a teen. Here's an excerpt from a poem by Elizabeth Spires, "Questions for Google":
What does it mean and why does it matter?
How do I get from here to there?
Where is the line that cannot be crossed?
Why is the first time the best?
Who will be coming and when will they get here?
How long will it last before it is over?
Who has the right and why do they have it?
Who is the most important one?
Starfish. Lisa Fipps has been garnering well-deserved praise (including a Printz Honor) for this powerful and beautifully written middle grade novel in verse. Ellie faces bullying (about her weight), and tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules. She finds friendship and acceptance, and through therapy finally feels ready to confront her badgering mother. Middle grade (and older) readers will respond enthusiastically to this much-needed title.Call Me Athena, by Colby Cedar Smith, is an evocative YA historical novel in verse. It tells the story of a girl's coming of age in a Greek-French immigrant family in 1930s Detroit. Told in beautiful poetry with multiple voices and great historical details, this book impressed the judges with deep historical research and comprehensive back matter.
If you haven't read these, don't wait -- get down to your library or bookstore and check them out. If you have -- what's your favorite? Are there other recent works of poetry you'd recommend? Please share in the comments. And thanks for supporting poetry for kids!