We need diverse books! (to be nominated for the Elementary/Middle Grade Cybils)

Back when I was a panelist for the 2010 Cybils awards, I went through to see how many of the 130 nominated books had diverse protagonists shown on the covers of the books, and added a few more I knew of to the list.  It was not a long list.  10 years later, 18 of the 45 books nominated so far in EMG SF have black, indigenous, and Asian kids on their covers, and there are 4 other books by diverse authors with no kids on the cover.  This is really heartening; the years when we fretted over the lack of diversity on the EMG SF shortlist seem to be behind us.....

But!  There are still quite a few books with diverse kids by diverse authors that haven't been nominated yet in EMG SF! (please let me know if you can think of others I've missed)

Thunder Run. Dactyl Hill Squad Book 3 by Daniel José Older
The Chaos Curse (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond) by Sayantani DasGupta
Ikenga, by Nnedi Okorafor
Mixture of Mischief, by Anna Meriano
Muse Squad, by Chantel Acevedo
Gloom Town, by Ronald L. Smith
White Fox, by Chen Jiatong
Silverworld, by Diana Abu-Jaber
The Fallen Hero, by Katie Zhao
Treasures of the Twelve, by Cindy Lin

I can't think of any eligible EMG spec fic books that have disability rep. this year, which makes me sad.
LGBTQ rep is also lacking, although for the first time I know of, there an EMG spec fic with an intersex protagonist--Cattywampus, by Ash Van Otterloo

Here's where you go to nominate (Oct 15 is the last day!) And if you nominate a diverse book for the Cybils, you get a sticker!

(nb: diversity per se isn't a criteria the Cybils panelists use in picking the books to shortlist, but it can contribute to the two criteria of reader appeal and literary merit....)


  1. I haven't read any of these. I see I have work to do. Thanks for the list.

  2. It seems to me like MG spec fic is a bit short on nominations this year (not sure how it compares to other categories)? 🤔 Or are there often many nominations in the last days as people wait to see which books haven't been nominated yet? :P

    1. I think MG fic (both regular and spec) and both YA Fic were a bit down this year....no library and bookstore browsing for months I think effects these more. However, there were sure a lot more political Mg and YA nonfiction books than in past years!

  3. What about Show Me a Sign by Ann LeZott? I loved this book about a deaf girl in 19th century Massachusetts.

  4. Ah, I see someone beat me to it!


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