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Battle of the Books

2017 Judge: Tanya Lee Stone

Tanya Lee Stone_ credit - Ambient Photography

Tanya Lee Stone was a happy participant in SLJ’s Battle of the Books back in 2011 when her The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie succumbed in Round 2 to Kathi Appelt’s Keeper. It wasn’t a total loss, though, as judge Naomi Shihab Nye referred to her as “the intrepid Tanya Lee Stone,” thus softening […]

2017 Judge: Javaka Steptoe

Javaka Steptoe(c) Gregg Richards

Javaka Steptoe is an artist, designer, and illustrator.  He has illustrated 11 award-winning books, including CSK Award winner In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall and CSK honor book Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow.  His most recent picture book, Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, received 5 starred reviews and reflects Javaka’s belief […]

2017 Judge: Eliot Schrefer

EliotAuthorPhoto_credit Priya Patel

Eliot Schrefer is a longtime fan of the Battle of the Books. He’s written many novels for young readers, including two installments of the New York Times-bestselling Spirit Animals series and the “Great Ape Quartet” of young adult books, two of which have been finalists for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature. His […]

2017 Judge: Ellen Oh

Ellen Oh Headshot

Ellen Oh is a very busy person. She has 3 kids that demand to be fed on a daily basis and 2 dogs that demand to be walked. When she has free time, she works for a nonprofit company called We Need Diverse Books where she gets to hang with some of the most awesome […]

2017 Judge: Brendan Kiely

BK color photo

Brendan Kiely is The New York Times bestselling author of All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds), The Last True Love Story, and The Gospel of Winter. Someone once told him that if he became a writer he could read for a living. He can’t. He has deadlines. They loom. He loves to write, but reading […]

2017 Judge: Cynthia Kadohata

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Cynthia Kadohata is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning book Kira-Kira, the National Book Award winner The Thing About Luck, the Jane Addams Peace Award and Pen USA Award winner Weedflower, Cracker!, Outside Beauty, A Million Shades of Gray, and several critically acclaimed adult novels, including The Floating World. She lives with her son and […]

2017 Judge: Varian Johnson

Varian Johnson _credit Kenneth B. Gall

Varian Johnson is the author of six novels, including the Jackson Greene middle-grade caper series. The first novel in the series, The Great Greene Heist, was named an ALA Notable Children’s Book Selection and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year among other accolades. In addition to middle grade, Varian writes novels and short stories […]

2017 Judge: Sara Farizan

Sara Farizan_ credit - Mark Karlsberg_

Sara Farizan is the author of the Lambda award winning If You Could Be Mine and the non-award winning but super fun Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel. She lives in Massachusetts, misses Prince and George Michael, and thanks you for reading her work.You can follow her on twitter @SaraFarizan even though tweeting […]

2017 Judge: Lulu Delacre

Lulu Delacre - credit_ Arturo Betancourt

Lulu Delacre was born in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico. She studied art at L’Ecole Supérieure d’Arts Graphiques in Paris, France, and released her first title, Arroz con Leche (Scholastic) in 1989. Since then, she has written and illustrated many titles for children and young adults, striving to create quality literature incorporating her own life experiences […]

2017 Judge: James Dashner

HI RES JamesDashner_MariaWood

James Dashner is the author of many books, including the Maze Runner series, and the Mortality Doctrine series, some of them read by people. When he dies, he wants to be buried in between Stephen King and Charles Dickens. Books are his everything, and judging a battle over books has been the ultimate goal of […]