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Battle of the Books


Every year, we pick 16 books to participate in the Battle of the Kids’ Books, and unlike the prestigious award committees that can’t explicitly discuss diversity in terms of their criteria, we actively seek to balance our field in terms of racial and ethnic diversity, genre diversity, diversity of audience (juvenile vs. young adult), and diversity of publishers.

On their end, SLJ works very hard every year to recruit a great slate of similarly diverse judges. Many of these judges are extremely gracious considering that their books could have been included in the field of 16. Every year, I think SLJ will run out of awesome judges, and every year they prove us wrong.

On that note, I’d like to note a small change this year. We’re retiring the term “Big Kahuna” as it relates to our final judge because a kahuna is a Hawaiian priest. Although the word has been appropriated and used in a wider cultural context for many years, we have decided to retire the moniker. Henceforth, the final judge will be known as “The Closer.”





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