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Battle of the Books

Who’s that Man Inside the BoB Art Studio?

As many of BoB followers pointed out, SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ Books site is not only thought provoking and fun to read, it is also a total joy to look at: all because we have the ingenious and whimsical Match graphics and other icons.  Who has created all these images?  You asked, and we answer here:

Mark Tuchman, SLJ’s Creative Director

Mark has been working at SLJ for the last ten years and recently collected his design work here:  His prior freelance work illustrating for newspapers and magazines such as Glamour, NY Newsday, The Daily News, Scholastic, Black Enterprise and Seventeen can be viewed here:

We couldn’t thank Mark enough for giving us the pleasure of receiving the graphics for the Match posts and sharing them with all the BoB fans.  We feel it a fitting tribute to Mark’s talents and dedication by exhibiting a selection of his BoB designs for the past four years.  Please enjoy!

2009 Battle Brackets:

2009 Match Design (based on crude design by the Battle Commander):

Peanut Gallery Banner:

2009 winner The Hunger Games on the top and third tiers of the winners podium:

2010 Early Brackets:

Victory Tour of 2009 BoB winner Hunger Games to 2010 Contenders:

2010 Boxing Ring Theme Match Graphic:

Confetti fluttering around Match winner (2010):

2010 Undead:

2010 Celebration of BoB winner Marching for Freedom 

2011 Pre-Battle Buzz:

2011 BoB Early Brackets:

2011 Match design — every “book” contender holds a weapon specific to the content of the book.  (Round 2)

2011 Undead winner: Conspiracy of Kings digging itself out of the grave.

Peaceful Gathering of all contenders at the end of 2011 Battle, holding hands and abandoning all weapons in celebration of the much loved Ring of Solomon.

Stickers for 2012 additions:


2012 Brackets:

2012 Match Designs:

(note the COIN under Chime?)

2012 Undead: Okay for Now, lifted from the land of the dead by birds wearing Comedy/Tragedy Drama Masks:

And of course, yesterday’s Finale Group Photo with all contenders giving thumbs up in good cheer!



  1. Steffaney Smith says:

    The Battle was elevated to an entirely new level with the outstanding creative graphics of Mark Tuchman. Enjoyed each day’s announcements linked with Mark’s artwork. Now if we could just get him to re-do some of the YA book jacket covers!!!!!!

  2. Knowing that most jacket artists don’t read the books the design for, what impressed me most were how the graphics for each BoB book incorporated inside information. Either Mr. Tuchman read each book or he was given good notes. Well done.

    My favorite from this year was the Gantos Kid’s bloody nose. I also loved all of the Zombie graphics.

  3. Thanks for showing this–the design is part of what makes every match a joy to behold!

  4. Genevieve says:

    Mr. Tuchman’s graphics were so apt, inventive, and so much fun to see each day – like DaNae, I was struck by how accurate the graphics were in incorporating small details from the book. Loved Grand Plan’s green sari and bracelets, Inside Out’s papaya, and Anya’s Ghost’s purse. I kept wondering if Okay for Now was going to throw a horseshoe at some point.

  5. Genevieve says:

    Is the 2009 Battle inaccessible for good, or might it too arise from the Undead? I would dearly love to read it.

  6. Battle Commander says:

    The 2009 Battle is all here on the site — all the decision write-ups gathered in one post: — it’s listed under Previous Battles on the menu bar, too. Enjoy!

  7. But Battle Commander, the heartbreaking omissions in the first battle are the comments by M.T. Anderson and Suzanne Collins after the winner was announced. Collins’ illusion to finding Anderson in the woods with a speak and spell is a work of art in itself.

  8. Battle Commander says:

    Ah Danae… we so would love to have those too, but SLJ was sold to a different company after the first battle and so while we were able to save the write-ups we weren’t able to grab all the comments as well. Sigh.

  9. Mark Tuchman says:

    You guys just made my day/week/month! Thanks so much for your kind words. BoB is one of the more fun projects I get to do in my job at SLJ. It would probably help if I actually read the books (!) so maybe next year I’ll lobby for a set of my own, preferably autographed. So in answer to your question DaNae, I thumbed through in-office copies supplied by the review editors (Heart & Soul, Amelia Lost) and did lots of research on the internets (ie. Google search terms: “Okay for Now” book summary spoiler). Spoiler got me more book details but never read about the horseshoe, Genevieve. Also I followed the battle carefully to inform my illustrations for subsequent rounds. Procrastination helped me in this regard as I ended up drawing the images very, very—too close—to the actual publish dates. Did you notice in Round Two, Match Two graphic the 20c Australian coin used by Sy Montgomery in choosing Chime as the winner in Chime’s previous match? Thanks again for your comments. And compliments back at you, because your comments throughout the battle were a big part of my enjoyment of the event. Cheers!

  10. Thank you for the coin explanation, Mark. I was racking my brain for how a coin fit into the plot of CHIME. I really didn’t want to read the book again.

    Always love the hear from a fellow procrastinator.

    And again, WELL DONE!

  11. Genevieve says:

    SLJ, please give Mark a copy of all the books next year! 🙂 Mark, thank you for researching the books to get the details in the pictures and make them that much cooler.

    I didn’t understand the coin till you explained it, Mark – that’s awesome.

  12. Thank you, Mark, for the awesome drawings. Each morning I looked forward to seeing how you would illustrate each book as much as to see which book would win. Great job.

    I hope you get a set of books next year!

  13. Mark, your illustrations added so much to the battle! And now I know who’s responsible for my excellent t-shirt from a couple years back! I’m amazed you hadn’t read all the books. You must have done outstanding research! (My favorite, too, was Dead End in Norvelt’s bloody nose.) I also love the coin explanation. Didn’t catch that at the time, but it’s perfect!

  14. Whoa. I always imagined more than one person was behind all of those graphics. I’m seriously impressed. Thanks so much for the lovely work Mark. It is one of my favorite things about the battle.

  15. I love the evolution of the graphics how they now include something from the books in each picture. I find it hard to believe that he has not read each book!! So amazing! Every day I would scrolll down to see the graphic of the winner before actually reading the post! Thanks so much for your heart!

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