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Battle of the Books


Last year there was a curious relationship between the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Battle of the Kids’ Books. Charles and Emma, The Lost Conspiracy, Marching for Freedom, and Tales From Outer Suburbia were all finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize last year. They also happened to be the four semifinalists in Battle of the Kids’ Books—and Marching for Freedom ended up winning both.

This year three of the recently announced L.A. Times Book Prize finalists are in our field: A Conspiracy of Kings, The Ring of Solomon, and Sugar Changed the World. The latter two books meet in the first round which means that the best we might hope for is to see the winner make it to the finals to face A Conspiracy of Kings which is in the other half of the bracket. Of course, the Undead Poll only increases the chances of one of these three making it to the finals.

What about the other L.A. Times finalists? Well, I really thought that The Rise and Fall of Senator Joseph McCarthy by James Cross Giblin from last year was a shoo-in for this year’s YALSA’s Nonfiction Award shortlist, but alas, no. Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill, a verse novel of the Salem Witch Trials, featured some of the best poetry of the year, and got many starred reviews because of it, but seemed to be passed over for more impressive honors—until now. The Curse of the Wendigo, on the other hand, wasn’t overlooked as much as it competed against a ridiculously strong field of fantasy and science fiction titles that included Ship Breaker, A Conspiracy of Kings, Pathfinder, Behemoth, White Cat, The Legend of the King, The Red Pyramid, Fever Crumb, I Shall Wear Midnight, The Ring of Solomon, Finnikin of the Rock, The White Horse Trick, Mockingjay, and Monsters of Men.

–Commentator Jonathan Hunt


  1. Wow! It was a fantastic year for fantasy! ::furiously jotting down titles I don’t own yet:: Really thought quite a few of those were better than Ship Breaker too! Where is the love for Finnikin of the Rock? Fever Crumb (which made me try to find all the books in that series)?

    We need some super fantastic ALA recognized awesome fantasy/science fiction award. Just saying…

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