KidlitUnderground’s Picks for Cybils Nominations 2021

It’s Cybils nomination season again! Do not forget to recognize your favorite new books of the past year! Nominations are open until October 15.

Here’s what I’m nominating (and yeah, I always try to have backups just in case). Check these out if you haven’t already!


GIVE THIS BOOK A COVER by Jarret Lerner (and you!) provides over 100 creativity-sparking, writers-block-busting, boredom-busting activities for… I think it was intended for children, but I enjoy this book and its prequel GIVE THIS BOOK A TITLE too.

Lerner’s life’s mission is making art, creativity, and books accessible to kids; he breaks down drawing so even the least artistically-inclined can do it. These books are an extension of his must-visit website of free activities for kids.


The Collectors: Fright Watch

THE COLLECTORS by Lorien Lawrence – Second in the Fright Watch series (the first book is amazing too, just published too soon for this year’s nomination), this book picks up where predecessor THE STITCHERS left off and plants the seeds that Goodie Lane in suburban CT is probably some kind of paranormal vortex.

Quinn and Mike are back with their kind-of-more-than friends tension and ability to stumble upon glamorous supernatural villains you actually can’t hate. Lawrence’s portrayal of bereaved child Quinn goes deeper in this book; a spot-on portrayal and a mirror/window/sliding glass door so many kids need.

Lawrence’s third book, set for publication in August of ’22, already has my nomination for next year!

THE ENGINERDS STRIKE BACK by Jarrett Lerner, the third in the Enginerds series, is hilarious. With all the push to get girls into STEM (with zero effort to change the sexism, racism, and ableism that rule the tech world), boys were getting ignored – till Lerner stepped up. Narrator Ken and his mostly-male crew of nerdy friends are a refreshing cast of characters.

This time, the gang has to save Earth from aliens from the planet Plerp. The characters are over-the-top and ridiculous (in the perfect way), featuring a cast of a farting robot, tie-wearing aliens to take themselves way too seriously, a dog named kitty, and a group of preteen boys (and a girl) who are nerdy and proud. Primarily, this book exists to make you die laughing, but subtle messages of self-confidence and friendship ring throughout.

My only caveat with this series, is it’s one of those you have to read in order.


It’s hard to write an all-the-feels ghost story, or a dark/scary book with character education embedded, but Cullen Bunn (with the artistic talent of Cat Farris) pulls it off spectacularly in THE GHOUL NEXT DOOR.

I’ve raved enough about this book, and fairly recently to boot. You need Grey and Lavinia in your life.


MOON CHILD by Gaby Triana – Full disclosure, the author gave me a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. And WOW. “The Craft meets The Shining” when 18-year-old Cuban-American Valentina ditches church camp and the semi-repressed memories of the painful abuse there, and runs to the home of her estranged half-sister

As a reader who has never felt I fit in with the organized religion in which I was raised, this book had healing undertones of a powerful and affirming breakup letter with the Catholic Church (Vale’s religion).

Looking for ideas of what to nominate? Or just need some ideas on good books to read? Check out other bloggers’ picks:

From the Cybils site:

Use our #Cybils2021 Idea Boards to make sure all the books get nominated.

DATES: 10/1/2021 to 10/15/2021

*Publishers & Authors have a separate submission period.

Eligibility: Published between 10/16/2020 and 10/15/2021.
One nomination per category per person.

What will you be nominating? Tell me what I missed this past year.

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