Over at the Cybils Website, the call for panelists has gone out! Here's the information on what the panelists do, and how you can put in your name to become one of them!
The Cybils awards are given each year by bloggers for the year's best children's and young adult titles. Nominations open to the public on October 1st. Panels of bloggers engage in two rounds of judging--in the first round, a group of bloggers selects a short list from all the books nominated, in the second, a different group of bloggers chooses the winner from the short list.
If you have any question about what it's like to be a first-round middle grade science fiction/fantasy panelist, feel free to email me! It is a great experience, and a lot of books to read (anyone can nominated a book in each category, so some will be excellent, some not so much).
Don't be daunted at the thought of a list of 150 or so books (the number from mg sff last year) to read, though! Chances are that if you are interested enough in a category to put your name forward, you've already read a number of the books that are going to be nominated. The organizers also seem to make sure that each category has a few fast readers in it....not everyone has to read every book, so if you are a slow (but committed) reader, don't let that stop you. If you are daunted, you can also just put in your name for consideration as a second round panelist!
Another important aspect of being a panelist is that it helps to be willing to talk about the books as you are reading them! The process is MUCH more fun and effective when panelists email each other lots, getting to know each other and making it clear which books they think are in contention (or not).
There are more people wanting to be panelists than there are slots (especially in some categories--I have a sense that YA and picture books are always popular, but I wonder how many people want to do mg sff). So don't forget to make a case for why you should be a panelist in the space provided on the application form! (The deadline to apply is September 15).
Past winners in mg sff (which split off from YA sff in 2008)
And from 2009, 2007, and 2008 (respectively):