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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Battle of the Kids’ Books

Do you know what time it is?

It’s time for School Library Journal’s Battle of the Kids’ Books, aka BoB!

Why, what is BoB?

Excellent question. Sixteen children’s and teen books from the prior year are selected; each title “battles” the other, with a celebrity judge reading the two books and selecting a winner. Those winners then each battle each other, and so on, until there is one final round of two books and a winner is declared.

I find it a lot of fun, both because of the randomness in which the books go up against each other, and also because of what the judges select and how they come to a determination of which book “wins”.

The complete list of books is at the BoB site; as is the schedule of when the battles will be posted; and the judges. A short post tells a bit about each judge. As I’m writing this, the brackets are posted, but with just the first round books and the judges TBA. Once the judges are all announced and assigned, it’s fun to not just say say “what book would I pick” but also speculate “what book will that judge pick?”

As in the past, I’ll be posting my reactions to the individual battles and rounds. Because of timing, I’ll try to have those posts up either later that day or the next day. This year, I’ll also share my own predictions.

What are your plans for SLJ BoB?

Edited to add: Did I say two books and a winner is declared? Did I mention I spell three “t w o”? As Monica points out below, “the final round involves THREE books as we have one who comes BACK FROM THE DEAD. That is, one of the contenders previously kicked off is voted back in our Undead Poll — which opens next Thursday.” I even have posts scheduled for when the Undead Poll opens! I knew this!

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. I will be doing pretty much the same, but I don’t even try to predict. I’m just no good at it.

    • Elizabeth Burns says:

      I think last time all my picks were knocked out by the second round. It was pretty bad.

  2. I love seeing the judges’ reasoning, even if I disagree with their ultimate decision. It’s so fascinating to see what they pick up on, and what they see as strengths or weaknesses.

  3. I’m going to try to read all the books this year. I’m hoping that I find some new books to love and not repeating the Life: an Exploded Diagram fiasco of 2012. That book still makes me shudder. I’ll have to wait until I’ve read them all before deciding which book I’m going to vote to come back in the Undead Poll. Do I go with my favorite or one I loved but I think will be under appreciated?

    I love reading the judges’ thoughts on their selections and really enjoyed the kid commentators.

    • Elizabeth Burns says:

      I’m not sure I’ll be able to read all of the books, but it makes it so much better when I have

  4. Thanks for featuring the BoB! Just one correction — the final round involves THREE books as we have one who comes BACK FROM THE DEAD. That is, one of the contenders previously kicked off is voted back in our Undead Poll — which opens next Thursday. So, Nerdfighters, Wonderofwonder, and all other fans of particular books — get your folks out there! A few years back the Undead winner was unexpectedly a science book because a scientist blogged about it, urging his readers to vote for it and, guess what, it won! So getting the word out clearly works.

    Monica who is half of the BoB Battle Commander