More Cybils 2018 Finalists

1. MR. WOLF'S CLASS by Aron Nels Steinke

This story reminds me so much of my own first year teaching at an inner city school close to East LA. My first year I also had to redo the whole classroom(my school was like, 'uh, we don't have any bilingual materials. It's all on you.' So yeah, I ended up making my own curriculum. Thank god for this one La Habra Teacher of the Year who shared her own materials!) This graphic novel is very realistic with the portrayals of not only the diverse students, but the new teacher too).


This graphic novel shows the world of horse racing and the girl who dared to fight a system. Loved the idea of a Native American protagonist who refuses to look away at animal abuse in horse racing.

3.  BE PREPARED by Vera Brosgol

Omg, this book brought back memories! Like the author, I HATED camp. Only in my case it was Mormon girl's camp. I was 12 years old and let's just say one very embarrassing event had be…

Cybils Finalists Reflections

Today I'm going to share my thoughts on a few other Cybils finalist graphic novels. Two have protagonists that try to survive wars in their countries and the other one is a fun super hero novel with a Latina protagonist.



Fifteen-year-old Lupe receives super hero powers during her Quinceanera. What's so adorable about this story is Lupe isn't the stereotypical super hero, but a regular Latina teen. Her beloved abuelita is her mentor and shares she also had these powers when she was fifteen. Totally loved!


This is a beautiful adaption of Anne Frank's diary. It includes other insights into Frank's life, like her questioning her sexuality and the conflicts between her and her mother, that I don't remember reading back when I was a teen in the 80s. This adaption is perfect for the current political climate and will bring awareness of the horror of the Holocaust.


This story is perfect for bringing awarenes…


Today I'm going to spotlight THE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER by Jen Wang. A 2018 Cybils finalist.

Here's my YA Books Central Books review:

The Prince and the Dressmaker What worked: I really loved this story of a dressmaker and the prince who likes to wear dresses. Prince Sebastian does this in secret until he 'discovers' the shocking outfit Frances made for a client. He hires her, but tries to keep his identity secret. What happens next is the start of a relationship where an unknown dressmaker designs Prince Sebastian dresses. Little by little he gains confidence in stepping out in the designs. But not everyone is so open to his 'secret'.

Lush illustrations set in Paris are the backdrop where two very unlikely characters come together and along the way discover friendship. Only two people know Prince Sebastian's secret. Frances loves the challenge of designing the prince dresses, but fears that keeping his secret might in fact hold her back from her own dre…

HEY, KIDDO-Cybil's 2018 Finalist

Today's Cybil's book finalist pick is HEY, KIDDO by Jarrett J. Krosoczka.

Here's my YA Books Central review:

What worked: This is an amazing memoir told in graphic novel style of a teen that deals with family addiction. It starts off with his grandparent and parent's history. Readers learn what lead up to him living with his grandparents after his mother lands in jail.

I really loved this novel! The author shows what it was like growing up around a love one being a drug addict. It shows the secrets, whispers, and guilt that all family members carry around. Krosoczka shows how art saved him and also helped him cope with the pain he held inside. He includes actual illustrations of his childhood and teen years. There's also photos of his mother and him.

This is the perfect book for a class discussion on how addiction shouldn't be a hush subject. Only when discussions on sensitive subjects like addiction happen, will loved ones not blame themselves. 

Krosoczka shows t…

Cybils round two!

I'm excited to be a part of the Cybils-Children and YA book bloggers literary Awards. This year I'm on the second panel, meaning I get to read the finalist's books!

This year I get to read these graphic novel books and help choose which one is the best book of 2018!

So many great titles here!

I thought I'd share my reflections on each of the nominated books.

In the meantime, this is a great list of books to read!

Stay tuned for my first book reflection. Hint, this autobiographical graphic novel is amazing as it addresses a number of sensitive topics that include kids dealing with a parent that is addicted to drugs without being preachy.

Mistletoe & Magic

I'm excited to announce that my short story, A SHOT OF CHRISTMAS MAGIC, is included in the anthology MISTLETOE & MAGIC!

Some fun short stories include one by YA author Michelle MacQueen: THE K WORD: CAMERON

Cameron Tucker really likes his friend Peyton. All he can do is think about her. Then a cruel comment ruins everything. Can he still let Peyton know how he really feels?

I love how MacQueen is able to get inside the mind of Cameron and let readers see how he struggles to let Peyton know his true feelings while still having a hard time with his peers perceptions. Peyton isn't the 'perfect' girl that is shown on social media. But who really is? Cameron's feelings are shown in a realistic way and how he needs to step up to the plate if he wants to keep Peyton as not only maybe a future love interest, but as a friend.

Michelle MacQueen is @michellelynn_author over on Instagram
@authormichellel over on Twitter

YA author Amalie Jahn's story AFTER CHECKMATE is …

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