Happy New Year! Cybils lists are up!

Hello! Wow, the holidays, eh? And the post-holidays. Every day it feels like I should have taken my Christmas tree down already, or posted on my blog. Well, the tree will have to wait for now, because

The Cybils shortlists have been announced!

And I want to talk about them.

Since I was a round one panelist for Graphic Novels this year, and since the GN category isn't split into older and younger subcategories, I got to help decide two shortlists this year. Let me tell you about them. Affiliate links, ahoy!

2014's Best Graphic Novels For Younger Readers (and up):

Bad Machinery: The Case of the Good Boy by  John Allison -- I wrote the official summary for this one, because YES. Where have you been all my life?  I confess that I have stayed up past midnight more than one night this week, reading the archives of this most excellent webcomic. (Start here, if you so choose.) But get this: The book is even better! So better! Extra pages!

And I will tell you what I felt didn't really fit into the neat-n-tidy Cybils summary. That is that this series is my new Calvin and Hobbes.  The six mystery-solving English middle schoolers who star are not actually much like Calvin, but all the essential elements are there: Either funny or interesting every time? Check. Larger, overarching story? Check. A little bit of the imaginary, made real? (Not a talking tiger toy, but still) Check. Occasional witty perspectives from adults? Check.

Bird and Squirrel on Ice by James Burks -- So much good clean fun! Bird and Squirrel are a best friends. They begin this book (I haven't read the first volume, yet) by crash landing near a penguin village. They end it by subverting gender stereotypes and avoiding the Trinity Syndrome. Wahoo! I do not even know how many times Levi made me read this book to him. A lot. And it's not short. But we had so much fun! Enjoy.

El Deafo by Cece Bell -- I have given this one the full-review already. Most excellent. I feel like reading this book has made me a kinder, more sensitive person. Just weeks after reading this I made a friend who is deaf. Thanks for the tips, Ms. Bell!

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War -- I wanted to like this one more than I actually did. But my fellow panelists made up for my lack of enthusiasm. What can I say? I was a little frustrated with our protagonist's deep desire to fit in. The story is about a half-white, half-Japanese young man who is required to report to the Internment Camps the U.S. government instituted during WWII. His Japanese father is away, and even though his mother is Irish and not required to "go to camp" she accompanies her son. I'd love to read this story from the mother's perspective. It was very well done.

Ok guys, that's NOT ALL. But that's it for me tonight. That's only four of the seven books on this shortlist though! I will return and tell you more about the remaining titles on the younger readers list, and all about the YA list, too. Mark my words. Edited: Second half of the list here!

In the meantime, I promise not to mind if you peek at the rest of the lists. These are some of the best graphic novels published in 2014, as decided by us die-hards who love kidlit graphic novels so much that we blog about them.

Tell me, which of these four titles sparks your interest most?

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