Monday, February 4, 2013

First Lines - 2012 Cybils Finalists.

by Susan Berger

The Cybils are the Children’s Book Awards given by bloggers. Here is a link to the full list:

I decided to take first paragraphs from the Cybils finalist list. Four of these of the books also made the ALA List. This list includes the Newbery and the Caldecott among others. Here's the link to The 2013 American Library Association Youth Media Awards:
1. On a cold afternoon, in a cold little town, where everywhere you looked was either the white of snow or the black of soot from chimneys, Annabelle found a box filled with yarn of every color.

2. Prologue: May 22, 1950
HE HAD A FEW MORE MINUTES to destroy seventeen years of evidence, Still in pajamas, Harry Gold raced around his cluttered bedroom, pulling out desk drawers, tossing boxes out of the closet, and yanking books from the shelves. He was horrified. Everywhere he looked were incriminating papers-a plane ticket stub, a secret report, a letter from a fellow spy,

3. At least look at the picture!” Flora’s dad begged. “Don’t you want to know what to expect?” He pushed the glossy brochure across the table. It had a photo on the cover of a large white house on a very green lawn, and the words “Penrice Hall-Individual Fulfillment in a Homelike Atmosphere.”

4. It was his own grandmother who fed Henri Pierre to the Cabinet of Earths, long ago when he was only four. Don’t misunderstand! It happened like this.

5. When an Irish lad named Frank Browne was seventeen, his uncle Robert gave him a camera. Frank fell in love with photography and before long he was snapping that shutter everywhere he went.
6.     MR. BENNETT WALKED into room 212 carrying a plastic bag. He smoothed his sweatshirt that read DEATH TO STEREOTYPES, tucked Claus his rubber chicken under his arm, raised one eyebrow, and jumped on his desk. He opened the bag, lifted a loaf of bread into the air and shouted, “Sell it to me.”
7.  I AM A COWARD. I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending. I spent the first twelve years of my life playing at the battle of Stirling Bridge with my five big brothers, and even though I am a girl the let me be William Wallace, who is supposed to be one of our ancestors, because I did the most rousing battle speeches. God, I tried hard last week. My God, I tried. But now I know I am a coward. After the ridiculous deal I made with SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer von Linden, I know I am a coward. And I'm going to give you anything yoole, which sort of sexy, at least to may ask, everything I can remember. Absolutely every last detail.

8. ONE WEEK BEFORE OUR SENIOR YEAR of high school begins, Erin's wearing her basketball practice jersey and I can see her black sports bra through the armhole, which is sort of sexy, at least to me.

9. I wake up.
Immediately I have to figure out who I am. It’s not just the body-opening my eyes and discovering whether the skin on my arm is light or dark, whether my hair is long or short, whether I’m fat or thin, boy or girl, scarred or smooth. The body is the easiest thing to adjust to, if you’re used to waking up in a new one each morning. It’s the life, the context of the body, that can be hard to grasp.

10.    “I’m going to whack a duck,” said Bink.

(Number 10 is a personal first line favorite.)

Do you recognize any of these lines from your reading in 2012? Any of them call out to you?
In my next post I'll link you to the books. Until them I'll be working on some of my own first lines...and middle lines...and chapters....and last lines....

Write On.

14 comments:

  1. I like number 2 the best because it sounds like it involves time travel and spies. Plus, anyone named Harry Gold has to be interesting.

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    1. Yes it does sound like that and number 2 is one of my must reads.

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  2. They're all pretty good. I recognize No. 9, since it's one I "previewed" to check out of the library. I'm wanting to read 2, 3, and 4 as well, based on the first sentence. I'm not inclined to read a book that has "sexy" in the first paragraph, though it might hook a middle-schooler. Thanks for posting.

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    1. Yeah, number sure sounds interesting. Thanks, Penelope for commenting.

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  3. Oooohhhh, I think #4 is my favorite, although #'s 1,2 and 3 are right up there for damn fascinating. With captivating first lines like these, it's no wonder they are up for awards. Thanks for sharing Sue!

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  4. Thanks for posting these, Susan. These are like tasty little nibbles when there's no time for a full meal. It's very interesting to see the very deliberate decisions other authors make about what to offer first to grab the reader's attention and pull us helplessly through the looking glass.

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  5. Thanks for posting these, Susan. These are like tasty little nibbles when there's no time for a full meal. It's very interesting to see the very deliberate decisions other authors make about what to offer first to grab the reader's attention and pull us helplessly through the looking glass.

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  6. Thanks for posting these, Susan. These are like tasty little nibbles when there's no time for a full meal. It's very interesting to see the very deliberate decisions other authors make about what to offer first to grab the reader's attention and pull us helplessly through the looking glass.

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    1. Yup. Your comment didn't show up at first because I forgot I had to sign in as Pen and Ink and moderate the comments. Thank for taking the time to comment, Bill. Love the way you wrote your comment. "Pull us helplessly through the looking glass."

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  7. I think number 4 is a must read for me, Kris. I'll pass it to you when I finish. Tommy might like it.

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  8. Thanks Susan, posted to my facebook-
    Kit Grady

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  9. Great post - I think the Cybils committees always do such great work.

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    1. Thank you, Madigan. We think they do great work too,

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