We need diverse books nominated for the Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction category of the Cybils!

Diversity isn't a criteria we use to evaluate books for the Cybils Awards, but we do like having diverse books on the shortlists.  This is hard to do, though, when books by diverse authors and books with diverse characters aren't nominated.   Here are a few that are eligible for the Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction category (for which I am the team leader).

It is very depressing, how short this list is.  I think this is the slimmist year since I've been paying attention for diversity in middle grade sci fi and fantasy.  And this list is not short because lots of diverse books have already been nominated (they haven't-I think we have two so far--The Gauntlet, and Rise of the Jumbies).  So I hope I've  missed lots, because of not knowing every author and not having read every book.  Please put more in the comments, and I'll add them!  And please also nominate them, and lots of other diverse books in all the other categories!  Here's where you go to nominate (by October 15).  Even it they don't end up being shortlisted, it's a way to show the authors you appreciate them, and to give them a bit of publicity.

Books by diverse authors:
Akata Warrior, by Nnedi Okorafor (now nominated)
The Ghosts in the Castle, by Zetta Elliott
Spirit Hunters, by Ellen Oh  (now nominated)
The Mesmerist, by Ronald L. Smith  (now nominated)
Rebellion of Thieves, by Kekla Magoon
The Crystal Ribbon, by Celeste Lim
Voyage to Avalon (Mice of the Round Table, #2) by Julie Leung
Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic, by Armand Baltazar
A Properly Unhaunted Place, by William Alexander (now nominated)

Books with diverse characters who are central to the story:
A Crack in the Sea, by H.M. Bouwman  (now nominated)
Ghosts of Greenglass House, by Kate Milford  (now nominated)
Journey Across the Hidden Islands, by Sarah Beth Durst  (now nominated)
The Curse of the Chocolate Phoenix, by Kate Saunders
One Way or Another, by Annette Laing

Here's a longer list of books I made that not yet nominated; perhaps some of these are also diverse (?)


  1. I'm not sure if you have Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh and Voyage to Avalon (Mice of the Round Table, #2) by Julie Leung,

    1. Thanks Brenda! I had Ellen Oh's book with a title of my own imagining. Sigh. Bad brain, and sorry to Ellen! And I've added Julie Leung's book, which wasn't on any of my lists.

  2. Quests for Glory by Soman Chainani and Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic by Armand Baltazar are two more

    1. Oops Chainani was nominated already.

    2. Thank you Brenda! I hadn't heard of Timeless yet.

  3. I'd put William Alexander on the diverse authors list - he is part Latino, though it doesn't show in his name.

  4. And I'm excited to see Akata Warrior here... I have an ARC that says it wasn't due out until November. I have read it and don't know whether I'd put it in MG or teen - Amazon is saying teen, and it is quite hefty. But they are still younger characters, and the romance is pretty low key. My 7th grade son is reading Akata Witch now. There's a fair amount of violence, but not really more than other mg books...

    1. Akata Witch had a very Harry Potter age feel to it...I hope someone nominated Akata Warrior! It came out Oct. 3.


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