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Battle of the Books

Like a Winter Vortex, BOB 2014 Is Gathering Force

We, the three members of the BOB Command Team, have made our contender picks.  And, thanks to the hard work of our SLJ Support Team, now have fifteen eager judges waiting to receive their battle instructions.

Starting on January 15th, stop by often to find the contenders list, battle bracket, judge info, and more!

This will be the sixth annual SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ Books — and we look forward to being delighted and surprised by this year’s judges’ decisions and from our loyal followers’ responses to them.

So let’s begin the speculating! Tell us in the comments what you think the 16 contenders will be.  One lucky reader who guesses the most correct titles will receive a small book-related prize.

Here is a look back of the final results in the last five Battles: 








(It is clear that the 2009 graphics were not done professionally by the formidably talented Marc Tuchman – except for the final winners circle graphic!)

2009 Books and Winner


  1. Kristine A says:

    I’m on my way to work, so they’ll be poorly cited, but here goes nothing:

    Billy Miller
    If you Want to See A Whale
    Flora & Ulysses
    Courage has no Color
    Lincoln Grave Robbers
    Navigating Early
    Center of Everything
    Doll Bones
    Real Boy
    True Blue Scouts
    PS Be 11
    Eleanor & Park
    Out of the Easy
    Rose Under Fire
    Far Far Away
    More Than This
    The President Has Been Shot

    hmm, those are my guesses. I tried to get something of everything, not sure I did though. I think it’s light on fantasy, and perhaps heavy on MG, and I had to leave out on of my faves Counting by 7s, but there was enough negative consensus for that one I didn’t see it making it over the others. I’d be pleased, though, if it did.

  2. Battle Commander Battle Commander says:

    Great… Kristine, you definitely got SOME of the titles! 🙂

  3. This was REALLY hard. Here are my picks:

    Boxers & Saints
    The Center of Everything
    Courage Has No Color
    Doll Bones
    Eleanor & Park
    Far Far Away
    One Came Home
    The President Has Been Shot
    Real Boy
    Reality Boy
    Relish: My Life in the Kitchen
    The Thing about Luck
    True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
    Two Boys Kissing

  4. I don’t really have any idea, since I usually get all my current reading ideas from you guys. Most of the books I read last year have been at least a couple of years old. So I will just say that I will be very sad if Rose Under Fire isn’t one of the books, and I wouldn’t be super surprised to see Doll Bones, even though it wasn’t my favorite.


    I think I’m probably light on YA titles, but that’s my best guess. Looking forward to the upcoming battles!

  6. Kristine A says:

    I wanted to put Boxers & Saints on the list but wasn’t sure how that book(s) is counted. I saw on GR it was listed separately. Can it be considered one work?

  7. Eric Carpenter says:

    A shot in the dark:
    1. The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
    2. The Thing About Luck
    3. Far Far Away
    4. A Corner of White
    5. P.S. Be Eleven
    6. The Animal Book
    7. Boxers & Saints
    8. Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
    9. Rose Under Fire
    10. Midwinterblood (haven’t actually read this one)
    11. Screaming Staircase
    12. Eleanor & Park (this is a coin flip guess. Haven’t read Fangirl, but it could be here instead)
    13. March, Book One
    14. Fortunately, the Milk
    15. Ghost Hawk
    16. Hokey Pokey

    The last two are wishful thinking on my part.

    There will probably be one or two other nonfiction titles but I don’t know which ones. Go:A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design… would be an awesome pick.

    I’m sure one or more of the following will be included but I can’t bring myself to include them: Real Boy, Ghost Doll, Counting by 7s.

    I wish Africa My Home could be included in this field. It’s one of the top 16 book of 2013 for sure.

    Is it too early to predict next year’s battle champion??? WE WERE LIARS wins in a cakewalk.

  8. Mostly commenting to say how excited I am – and I’m hoping against hope that Sorrow’s Knot will be one of the titles. And A Corner of White, because I find the discussion on that novel to be fascinating. I don’t know if Ghost Hawk will make the list, but I’d like to see discussion of that, too.

    I’d be surprised if Boxers & Saints, Eleanor & Park, P.S. Be Eleven, The Thing About Luck, True Blue Scouts, and Rose Under Fire aren’t on the list.

    I’d also love to see some of the fabulous genre MG novels that were published this year – The Screaming Staircase, Stolen Magic, Mirage…

    Regardless of what ends up in the brackets, I can’t wait to see them!

  9. Julie Corsaro says:

    Ditto for many of these, as well as Bluffton by Matt Phelan.

  10. Everyone else’s guesses look about what mine would so I’m just saying: YAY!!! So excited to see what books we will see in it this year. I will probably have more catching up to do as all I read the last three months of 2013 was MG Spec Fiction. (Being a first round Cybils panelist is tons of fun but it eats your life.)

  11. Eleanor & Park
    Ghost Hawk
    Counting by 7s
    The Thing about Luck
    Ketchup Clouds
    Zebra Forest


  12. Far, Far Away
    The Thing about Luck
    A Corner of White
    Out of the Easy
    The Boy on the Wooden Box
    True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
    Pi in the Sky
    Flora and Ulysses

  13. After considering previous contenders, Heavy Medal, Someday My Printz Will Come, Roxanne and Monica’s blogs, here’s my best guess:
    1. Boxers & Saints
    2. The Things About Luck
    3. The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp (what else this year would have a pie as pictured in the sneak peek? At least, I think it’s a pie….?? hmm could be from Far Far Away I suppose……)
    4. Far Far Away
    5. Eleanor & Park
    6. What the Heart Knows
    7. Courage Has No Color
    8. March, Book 1
    9. The Animal Book
    10. “The President Has Been Shot!”
    11. All the Truth That’s In Me
    12. Rose Under FIre
    13. Hokey Pokey
    14. Flora & Ulysses (hard to evaluate for Newbery due to the pictures so I’m thinking this would be a good place for it to garner some extra attention)
    15. Doll Bones (surely one of the Holly Black books from this year will make it, but since I’ve already got 3 YA titles on here, I’m going with the MG since I don’t see more than 4 YA Fiction titles in the contenders in previous years and I’m saving my last YA pick for my wishful long shot……..)
    16. The Summer Prince

    I feel pretty confident of the first 5, but progressively less as the list continues. There were several I discarded as being just slightly too young given the previous contestants (Locomotive, The Year of Billy Miller), but I could have guessed wrong on that. I tried to balance fiction and non-fiction and age and genres – I feel like normally there’s a more commercial title mixed in (still quality writing, but one less likely to be recognized by awards a la Hunger Games or Percy Jackson), but I couldn’t figure out which one to pick this year – maybe it would be The Dream Thieves replacing something else. Trying to narrow it down to 16 is not for the faint of heart! I don’t envy the Battle Commander Team that part of the process.

  14. Battle Commander Battle Commander says:

    You are all very sneaky, scouting out our various blogs!

  15. Heather C. says:

    1. Rose Under Fire
    2. Eruption
    3. The Year of Billy Miller
    4. The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
    5. P.S. Be Eleven
    6. The Thing About Luck
    7. Counting by 7’s
    8. Flora & Ulysses
    9. Courage Has No Color
    10. Doll Bones
    11. The Nazi Hunters
    12. Far, Far Away
    13. Navigating Early
    14. Lincoln’s Grave Robbers
    15. Boxers and Saints
    16. Jinx

  16. Battle Commander Battle Commander says:

    Last chance before we unveil the actual list. Can someone guess all 16?

  17. I will confess to having my dates mixed up and thinking the list would be revealed yesterday. I got up early to view it and was so disappointed when I found out that it wouldn’t come out until Wednesday. I can’t wait to see who won — my guesses were based primarily on what I’ve read on blogs but I will confess that some were just wishful thinking. I’ll be up early tomorrow so that I can start placing holds on the books I still need to read!

  18. TeenReader says:

    PS Be Eleven
    Far, Far Away
    The Thing About Luck
    What the Heart Knows
    The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
    The President Has Been Shot!
    Doll Bones
    Flora and Ulysses
    Better Nate Than Ever
    Boxers and Saints
    Eleanor and Park
    Rose Under Fire
    A Corner of White
    September Girls

  19. Without looking at the other guesses:

    eleanor & park
    Far, Far Away
    What the Heart Knows
    The Animal Book
    Randolph Caldecott
    Donner Dinner Party
    Boxers & Saints
    The Thing About Luck
    True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp
    Flora and Ulysses
    One Came Home
    PS Be Eleven
    The Year of Billy Miller

    • Now I wish I replaced either Eleanor & Park or One Came Home with Rose Under Fire. You don’t usually use sequels where you’ve already placed one book in the series, bur Rose is technically not a sequel.

      • I didn’t choose Rose Under Fire because we had just done Code Name Verity last year. I didn’t choose PS Be Eleven because we had done the first book in that series. I have no idea if my reasoning was correct with those. Tomorrow can’t come quickly enough!

        • Weird how I didn’t consider that logic for P.S. Be Eleven, which was very much a sequel. Often logic and I are not in the same room.

  20. True Blue Scouts
    The Real Boy
    All the Truth That’s In Me
    A Face Like Glass (although is it 2012 or 2013? can’t remember)
    A Corner of White
    A thing called luck
    Doll Bones
    Flor & Ulysses
    Ps Be 11
    Far Far Away
    Ghost Hawk
    The Screaming Staircase

    I haven’t read many of these – some are just based on my personal to read list. I’m hoping hoping hoping that All the Truth and Corner of White are in there; as previously mentioned, they will make for great discussions. And “A Face Like Glass” deserves to be discussed somewhere! Unless it’s just too old.

    Can’t wait for the announcement. You encourage me to read things I wouldn’t otherwise try.

    • Crimeny! How could I forget the Screaming Staircase! I knew, knew, knew it would be in BoB as soon as I’d read it. And that it would be the book I would most want to win. Geez, I’m an idiot.

      • And there’s the commercial title I was looking for – not on a bunch of best of lists, not with a bunch of stars, but good writing and fun. Oh Screaming Staircase – you fell victim to my recent move from children’s to YA – I forgot you existed.

      • And I forgot Donner Dinner Party. The one nonfiction book that I paid attention to. The one that made my friend spend much of Christmas Day explaining historic cannibalism to his teenage daughters (since I sent the book to his son).

  21. Kristine A says:

    I fell trap to the rules if my mock Newbery and discounted British works (screaming staircase and midwinter blood). Whoops.

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