Last week we announced the contenders for the 2015 BOB (AKA SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ Books). You can seem them all here but I do encourage you to go to the actual post to see what others have to say about them and add in your own thoughts.
For those unfamiliar with the BoB, it was the Tournament of Books that gave me the idea of doing similar bracket-style event with kid books. Happily, the folks at School Library Journal liked the idea and so here we are, beginning our 7th year. Of course, the Battle Commander (that is Roxanne Feldman, Jonathan Hunt, and myself) have been at it for months in order to put together the final list of contenders. As noted here:
As to which titles finally are included each year – we won’t bore you with the details of the dozens of emails and negotiations between the three of them. Suffice it to say that they look both objectively and subjectively, considering fan favorites, awards, stars, and their own critical views, keeping in mind that no matter which two books are paired together no single title can be an obvious winner.
Of course, as is inevitable when such a list is made, blood is shed; each of the three has always had to leave behind favorites on this particular battlefield, but they always end up pleased with the range and diversity of the final list.
You can learn more in this article by Shelley Diaz. In addition to our contenders we’ve got a stellar list of judges who we will begin to reveal, one a day, on February 4th. Hope to see you there!
It is the 6th year of the BoB and we’ve already had smashing decisions from three terrific judges along with clever graphics again from SLJ’s art director Mark Tuchman, smart commentary from kid commentator RGN, and wonderful responses from our loyal followers. Be sure to check it out!
For those wanting a good overview of SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ Books, I’ve a post on it up at the Nerdy Book Club today.
Tomorrow the fifth annual Battle of the Kids’ Books gets underway with a match between Bomb and Wonder judged by Kenneth Oppel. Now some, I know, are uncomfortable with the concept of books in battle, but I wish they wouldn’t be. In fact, the idea is for sixteen well-lauded books from the year before to be highlighted and admired again in a new and different way. What our judges do is thoughtful and in-depth, considering the two books they have been asked to judge and, in a variety of ways, coming up with a winner for this contest. Just with any tournament, all the contenders are great and it is just how things play out on this particular day that makes for a particular match winner. Another day and different judges and a different winner might well be the result (as is the case with pretty much all awards and contests).
I’m writing about this within a classroom context because this contest has been a terrific one for young people. Roxanne Feldman and I (the two-person Battle Commander) have been involving our students in the Battle for the last two years. Last year we introduced two very fine Kid Commentators (who will be back this year) and this year we had 5th-8th graders write introductions for the contenders. That is, each assumed the role of one of the actual books, and did a terrific job with it. (Those are here, here, here, and here.) This is something any teacher or librarian can do! In fact, we hope to expand this beyond our own students and school next year.
And that isn’t the only thing that is possible in schools and libraries. A high school library in Texas contacted us to let us know she was running the contest in her school. Others have told us of displays, bracket pools, and more. Every time we hear of this we are delighted because we’ve always hoped for the involvement of young people. Most of all I aspired to a Shadow BoB like the Shadowing Site done for the UK Carnegie Award (comparable to our Newbery). In that, young people read and vote and often come up with a completely different winner from the official judges. It would be so cool to do something like that for the BoB.
Meantime, I do encourage teachers (especially those put off by the battle metaphor) to take a look and think about how they might want to use it in their own teaching and schools. And let us know if you do!
Today we begin announcing the judges and the first one is here!
This is the fifth year of SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ Books, a fun fantasy battle modeled on The Tournament of Books which is itself modeled on basketball’s March Madness. Fun is the operative word here. The idea is to simply use the structure of a battle or match between two often very different, but always lauded books judged by a very distinguished writer of children’s or young adult books. We’ve been incredibly fortunate in having a stellar collection of judges over the years. Lois Lowry, Katherine Paterson, and Jeff Kinney are just some of the really amazing judges we’ve had. Do go back and read some of their terrific decisions here.
The main event will start in March, but to give followers plenty of time to prepare we are announcing the contenders today. So go here to find out this year’s picks! (And if you want to know a bit more about how we made those selections go here.)