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Battle of the Books

Round 1, Match 4: Grasshopper Jungle vs The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza

JUDGE – JO KNOWLES Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith Dutton Books/Penguin The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos FSG/Macmillan As seems to be the tradition with Battle of the Books, I’ve been tasked to pit two books against one another that have almost nothing in common, so please bear with me as I […]

Round 1, Match 3: El Deafo vs The Family Romanov

JUDGE – ELIZABETH RUSCH El Deafo by Cece Bell Abrams The Family Romanov by Candace Flemming Schwartz & Wade/Random House Shoot me now! That was my first reaction when I was told I would have to choose between El Deafo by Cece Bell, a stunning graphic novel memoir about growing up with severe hearing loss, […]

Round 1, Match 2: The Crossover vs Egg & Spoon

JUDGE –  ISABEL QUINTERO The Crossover by Kwame Alexander Harcourt Brace and Company Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire Candlewick Press It wasn’t easy picking a winner for this round of Battle of the Books. Here’s the thing: I had to choose between poetry (good poetry-and yes, I believe there is bad poetry) and fairytales. Two of my […]

Round 1, Match 1: Brown Girl Dreaming vs Children of the King

JUDGE – HOLLY BLACK Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett Candlewick On the face of it, these books have little in common. They are set in different countries, in different historical periods, and told in very different ways. One is prose, the other poetry. One […]

Round 1, Match 8: True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp vs What The Heart Knows

JUDGE – SHEILA TURNAGE True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathy Appelt Atheneum Books for Young Readers What the Heart Knows by Joyce Sidman Houghton Mifflin Books for Children Comparing Joyce Sidman’s What the Heart Knows – Chants, Charms & Blessings to The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt is […]

Round 1, Match 7: Rose Under Fire vs The Thing About Luck

JUDGE – MALINDA LO Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein Hyperion/Disney The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata Atheneum Books for Young Readers Since SLJ’s Battle of the Kids Books is known for its wacky pairings, I’ll skip the whole “these two books are so different!” hand-wringing. It’s true, Elizabeth Wein’s Rose Under Fire is […]

Round 1, Match 6: Midwinterblood vs P.S. Be Eleven

JUDGE – MAC BARNETT Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick Roaring Brook Press P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia Amistad/HarperCollins In P.S. Be Eleven, the sequel to Rita Williams-Garcia’s Newbery Honor-winning One Crazy Summer, the Gaither girls are back in Brooklyn after a few months with their mother in California. It’s the late 60s and the various cultural […]

Round 1, Match 5: Hokey Pokey vs March, Book One

JUDGE – TOM ANGLEBERGER Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli Knopf Books for Young Readers March, Book One by John Robert Lewis and Andrew Aydin Top Shelf Productions Look, I don’t know what the other judges in this Battle are up against, but I think I’ve got the most outrageously unfair bracket since the invention of brackets […]

Round 1, Match 4: Far Far Away vs Flora and Ulysses

JUDGE – SARAH MLYNOWSKY Far Far Away by Tom McNeal Knopf/Random House Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo Candlewick Press Once upon a time, on a couch in my apartment, there were two books, Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo and Far Far Away by Tom McNeal. One book I liked. The other I loved. […]

Round 1, Match 3: Doll Bones vs Eleanor and Park

JUDGE – LAUREN OLIVER Doll Bones by Hollly Black Margaret K. McElderry Books Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell Saint Martin’s Press Somehow, despite the buzz, the plethora of positive reviews, the online chatter and endorsements from authors as venerated as John Green, Eleanor & Park had slipped beneath my radar until very recently. It’s not that I […]