Here they are (see http://www.cybils.com/2014-finalists-nonfiction-for-elementary-middle-grades for the list with blurbs) ...
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Harry N Abrams
This was tough - there were lots of really great nonfiction books nominated (and a very few serious disappointments) and since the category is so broad in terms of audience (books be directed generally at ages 3-12) - it was a real trick to pick out our top seven. Yep - 7 - out of 110 books or just over 6% of the nominated books.
I ended up putting all of the books into mental groupings (biographies, dog books, read-aloud books, middle grade science books, adventure books, history books etc.) that only made sense to me, picking my top books out of those groups and then trying to figure out how my top picks compared. I avoided reading reviews of any of the nominated books and tried not to pay any attention to the other reviewers shortlists. My "short" list got up to around twenty-five at one point (oops).
Unsurprisingly, for all of the judges, there were some books that we really loved that we thought deserved inclusion, but were not favorites with the majority. I will write up a short list of some of the ones I thought were great books that didn't end up making the final list when I get a chance.
The finalists for all of the categories are linked here: