Follow This Blog: RSS feed
A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Round One: Mirka v Keeper

Match: Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch v Keeper by Kathi Appelt

Judge: Susan Patron

Part of the fun and strategy of doing your own brackets for SLJ Bob is trying to get into the head of the judge. As of today, I’m 50/50 split, guessing two correctly; guessing one incorrectly; and allowing hope to trump common sense for one. No, I’m not telling.

For this round, it all depended on whether or not the judge, Susan Patron, veered more towards novel or graphic novel.

Patron’s decision making process included her working through reviewing a book by someone she knows — Appelt blurbed one of Patron’s books and they share an editor. With the increase of friendliness on the Internet, via Twitter and blogs and other social media, there is more “knowing” the authors of books. Does one just say “no, won’t do it” as Patron initially does? How does one work to the place of “judge the book, not the author”?

Patron wrote about the three ways she read the book: “inner librarian, my inner writer, and my inner tween.” The hats I wear when reading books is inner librarian; inner teen; and inner me. The librarian me may think “I know teens who would like this,” my inner teen may think, “my fifteen year old self would have loved this book,” and inner me is actually me saying “I love this book.” Sometimes, there are all these three reactions to a book; other times, it’s just one of those inner voices speaking.

I have to say, I also like how Patron managed to trump Barry Lyga — Barry had only Barry-A and Barry-B to listen to, while Patron had three inner voices to contend with!

(And, why, yes, I had the day off from work so was able to write a longer response to the SLJ Bob entry!)

About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is


  1. Oo, I’m enjoying this counting up inner voices! I guess I’ve got one more “voice” to listen to: inner librarian, inner child/teen, inner me, and inner Mom. Inner Mom is the one who recognizes which books my sons would like now or liked when they were younger. I will have to see if my 16-year-old is interested in Gareth Hinds’ The Oddyssey, since he loved mythology when he was younger and still is a graphic novel aficionado.

  2. Sondy, you reminded me of Inner Aunt for books my niece and nephew may like. Inner daughter for books my mom will lke.