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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

School Library Journal’s 2010 Battle of the Kids’ Books Announcement

Yes, folks.  Consider this your official announcement regarding SLJ’s 2010 Battle of the (Kids’) Books.  Sixteen books enter the ring, but only one will emerge victorious!  Just like last year, celebrity judges (authors one and all) will each be given two books.  As they choose the "better" title, that book will compete against other winners.  In the end, celebrity judge Katherine Paterson will choose between the final two.  And, as noted in this video, there will be a poll for "The Undead" which will bring back to life a book, via reader poll, that was killed off in an earlier decision.

Everything starts up March 1st.  And you’ll be able to follow all of this after that point on Twitter at @SLJsBoB or on the new blog (address to be announced on SLJ soon).

The books up for contention are:


And the list of the judges:

M. T. Anderson
Christopher Paul Curtis
Nancy Farmer
Candace Fleming
Helen Frost
Shannon Hale
Angela Johnson
Cynthia Kadohata

Julius Lester
Jim Murphy
Walter Dean Myers
Katherine Paterson
Gary Schmidt
Anita Silvey
Megan Whalen Turner

Tomorrow, #50-46 of the Top 100 Children’s Novels Poll. 

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Wow once again an amazing group of judges. Looks like the selection committee really tried to get a good mix of books this year. Already some surprises, the omission of the sequel to last champion is shocking! Would have liked to see Jasper Dash and the Flame-pits of Delaware or The Case of the Case of the Mistaken Identity given a shot, it’s nice to see so many nonfiction titles but what about the funny?

  2. Too fun. And wonderful to see several friends in the video!

  3. Did you get a haircut midway through the video?! Great video, by the way!

  4. Jonathan Hunt says:

    We debated long and hard about whether to include books written by authors that were represented last year (i.e. CATCHING FIRE, FIRE, and WINTERGIRLS). We liked the possibility of including these authors as judges, but we also wanted to avoid the charge of favoritism. (I’m afraid we can’t avoid it altogether since FIRE made the list). The fantasy trilogies really complicate the matter: Are you then obligated to include MOCKINGJAY and BITTERBLUE?

    We had good representation from the nonfiction last year, but this year was even stronger. We’re disappointed that we did not include ALMOST ASTRONAUTS as it ended up as one of the most decorated books of the year.

    I think many of the books include elements of humor, although I would not label any of them as such. We did consider DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, but were hard pressed to come up with any other serious funny contenders. Do you have any suggestions beyond THE FLAME PITS OF DELAWARE?

    I’d like to add that the shortlist was finalized by early December which means that, unlike last year where you can argue that we deliberately snubbed the National Book Award winner (WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED) and the Printz Award (JELLICOE ROAD), there was no opportunity for us to adjust our list in light of the ALA Awards.

  5. I’m totally enamored with those zombie sock puppets. Awesome!

    Between this and the chapter books poll, though, my to-read list is growing at an unnerving rate. Better snap to! (Reference test to study for? Nah….)

  6. Nancy Werlin says:

    Can’t wait!

  7. Re: haircut – Good catch.

  8. Huh. Last year I had a clear favorite to root for. This year I’m torn between three and there’s a fourth that I haven’t gotten to yet, but love the author (need to get to that one, clearly.) For now I just have to hope that they’re spread out in the first round, but this is going to be tough!

  9. As is often discussed, humor is even more subjective than distinction. Personally I thought Anderson’s Jasper Dash and Mac Barnett’s Case of the Case of the Mistaken Identity were both outstandingly hilarious, as I’m sure this years wimpy kid is. That said I’m not sure what I would drop from the 16 you selected because they are all very deserving picks. Make sure next year’s battle includes the newest Clementine and all will be forgiven.

  10. What a great selection of books and pedigree of judges. And the inclusion of the zombie round just makes the fun last a little longer. Can’t wait! (I would *squee!* but this is a professional forum.)

  11. Margaret Willey says:

    Let me just say how impressed I am by the energy and focus and oganizing and general love of literature it takes to do something like this. I am just astounded and, of course, fascinated–searching through the lists for both my favorites and the many beloved books that I am not familiar with. Kudos to Elizabeth and to all the judges and all the fanatics, please stay obsessed!

  12. So Eric, I just saw your Clementine comment, and the world brightened.

  13. Brooke Shirts says:

    I’m still wondering why picture books have been excluded once again from the BoB. Ah, well. Can’t have everything. Props to using the “Eye on Springfield” theme, Betsy. (Yes, I am just that big of a Simpsons nerd.)

  14. Hannahlily says:

    I thought A Season of Gifts was quite humourous, although I probably wouldn’t necessarily label it a “funny” book, at least, not along the lines of Jasper Dash or the Wimpy Kid books(but, again, humor is so subjective…) It sure would be exciting if the new Clemenine book was on the list next year; I love that girl!

    Anyway, what a wonderful lineup of books and judges! I enjoyed so many of these books that I don’t know which one to root for. It’ll be exciting to see how the judges and the books are matched up.

  15. And Brooke gets 50 extra points for identifying “Eye on Springfield”.

  16. Once again, just like last year, I’m really love the choices for judges, but I’m not in love with all of the choices. How someone could exclude one of the most acclaimed not to mention(according to our ongoing poll) Top 100 Novels of All Time (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon) and include instead some popualr but literarily questionable sequels (The Las Olympian, etc.) is kind of beyond me. Also, I think the entire system is just kind of unfair. Even considering “The Undead” round, the chances of the book you like winning that is rather slim, so I’ll probably end up hating one of my favorite authors by the time the battles are over. But, all in all, it’s all in the name of fun so I’ll just kind of relax and enjoy.

    Nice video, by the way.

  17. Um, yeah, I had to rewatch the video multiple times to see if there was a part in the hair in the beginning, and there was and the hair sure looked real, but then you were wearing wigs later, so I was all thrown off! Haircut or not? But then I read the comments so I guess that mystery is solved. Betsy, you are an odd one. Of course, I’m one to talk…

    So when is there going to be a battle of the picture books?

  18. I’m sort of loving the idea of a Battle of the Picture Books. But I know how much work goes into this novel battle, so it would take some serious dedication on someone’s part.

  19. So what does the Giving Tree T-Shirt say? Inquiring minds want to know.

    I love the I Am Kiki Strike T-Shirt though-that one I know.

  20. I was very excited for this, squee-ing as my favorites were announced… but I was disappointed at a few of your eliminations, though I can see a bit of the reasoning behind them. The main two? Catching Fire and Going Bovine.

    I DID love, however, that When You Reach Me was included, because I read that last July (bought it the day it came out, actually) and thought it was fantastic without enough appreciation. (Though I can’t say that now, because it DID win the Newbery…)

    And the video was great. Nutty and wacky, but great. And I love the idea of the Undead round…

  21. Love the costume changes! Nice haircut!

  22. You can see the full Giving Tree t-shirt here:

  23. Elizabeth Dulemba says:

    LOVIN’ the hair drama Betsy! :) e

  24. Sheela Chari says:

    This is the first BoB I’m watching and I, for one, am riveted. Of course, the hairdos kept me mesmerized, too.