If you followed the Heavy Medal blog, you’ll already know which two books are my favorites here—A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS and SUGAR CHANGED THE WORLD—and since they are in separate halves of the bracket it’s entirely possible for them to meet in the finals! But I hate the fact that SUGAR CHANGED THE WORLD and THE RING OF SOLOMON meet in the first round, making that the worst first round pairing of the whole tournament, followed closely by AS EASY AS FALLING OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH and THE CARDTURNER.
The Newbery Medal winner has been upset in the first round the past couple years, and while we don’t have MOON OVER MANIFEST in the tournament, I’m very curious to see how ONE CRAZY SUMMER, our lone Newbery book, will fare. I think it could easily win the Undead Poll; it also goes up against a completely different kind of book in the first round, THE ODYSSEY, making me think we are once again at the mercy of the judge’s whim. I’m also very curious to see how the other graphic novel, HEREVILLE, will hold up against KEEPER.
But back to the Newbery Medal winner for a moment since there was a bit of discussion in the comments recently about its absence here. I do agree with Roxanne and Monica that, with it being so hard to narrow our choices down to just sixteen titles, it would be very difficult to reserve spots for certain books. I also agree that we don’t necessarily need to validate the choices of other award committees. On the other hand, I see the primary value of Battle of the Kids’ Books as entertainment, sometimes illuminating and provocative, yes, sometimes highlighting unsung books, yes, but ultimately entertainment—and thus I do want to see the best of the best go head-to-head.
So, here are two questions for your consideration. First, which first round match-up is the least pleasant for you (i.e. the match that pits the two books that are most deserving of advancing farther in the tournament)? And second, what is the primary value of Battle of the Kids’ Books for you? Is it purely entertainment? Is it instructive? Is it motivational for children and teenagers? Or strictly for an adult audience?
— Commentator Jonathan Hunt