I have known since before Christmas what books are on the CYBILS poetry shortlist and it has been extremely hard to keep that news to myself, known only by my fellow panelists and the CYBILS organizers. If you open the link I just gave you, you can see the covers and the write-ups done by my fellow panelists and me for each of the books.
The books on the poetry list are all splendid. They include three individual collections of poetry: AFRICAN ACROSTICS: A Word in Edgewise by Avis Harley, THE MONSTEROLOGIST: A Memoir in Rhyme by Bobbi Katz, and RED SINGS FROM TREETOPS: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman. For the first time in CYBILS history, we have two anthologies on the shortlist: THE BILL MARTIN JR. BIG BOOK OF POETRY edited by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson and THE TREE THAT TIME BUILT: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination edited by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston.
Some interesting (to me) tidbits on the books on our list: This year, all the books contain illustrations (which is not always the case in poetry). AFRICAN ACROSTICS is illustrated with photographs by Deborah Noyes; the other five happen to be illustrated. When it comes to titles, THE BILL MARTIN JR. book is the only one without a subtitle. When it comes to poets, Joyce Sidman is the only poet on the final list who has won a CYBILS award in the past - she won twice, in fact, for This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness in February of 2008 (for books out in 2007), and she won the first-ever poetry CYBILS award for Butterfly Eyes: And Other Secrets of the Meadow in February 2007 (for 2006 books).
In other (non-poetry related) CYBILS news, two of the books I nominated made it onto shortlists: MERMAID QUEEN is on the Non-Fiction Picture/Information Books list and EDGAR ALLEN POE'S TALES OF DEATH AND DEMENTIA, illustrated by Gris Grimly, is on the Young Adult Graphic Novel list.