Back in the fall I was thrilled to be selected as a panelist for the Cybils awards. I was happy for a number of reasons. I couldn’t wait to read lots of new books. I was excited to engage in conversation with other children’s lit lovers. And I was also hopeful that being a member of the committee would finally encourage me to blog regularly. Needless to say, while I am blogging more than I used to, it is still not to the level I was hoping.
So today marks the beginning of both more frequent blogging and the long overdue reviews of Early Reader and Early Chapter Book nominess for this year’s Cyblils award.
Drum Roll Please…
During the Cybils’ process I discovered one very important thing about myself as a reader. I have a bias toward non-fiction. My committee reviewed over twenty books in the Early Reader category including three non-fiction titles:
Ants by Melissa Stewart,
Bats by Elizabeth Carney and
Great Migrations Elephants by Laura Marsh.
At first I didn’t pay much attention to these books at all, choosing to focus my time on the easy readers that told stories. And then I noticed that all my fellow panelists were saying great things about these titles. I still thought maybe they were missing something. I mentioned how the titles seems formulaic. I suggested that the text might be challenging for early readers as it often overlapped with a picture making the pages visually confusing. I was still the lone person resisting these titles. That was when I stepped back and thought seriously about this group of books. I realized that I was rejecting an entire group of books based on genre alone.
I was so disappointed with myself that I promised I would join Non-Fiction Monday immediately.
Time and time again I tell parents how important it is to expose children to a full diet of literature. I tell them that kids should be reading both fiction and non-fiction. They should read newspapers and magazines. They should engage with comics and crossword puzzles and even the back of cereal boxes. They should read anything and everything.
My challenge then for myself is to take my own medicine. I am anxious to start my non-fiction journey so that by this time next year, if I am lucky enough to be a Cybil’s panelist again, I will give full attention to all titles including those that are non-fiction.