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Battle of the Books

Round 1, Match 2: Boxers and Saints vs A Corner of White

JUDGE – Yuyi Morales  Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang FirstSecond/Macmillan A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty Arthur Levine Books/Scholastic A CORNER OF WHITE vs BOXERS AND SAINTS. One a 373 page fantasy novel, the other a two volume graphic novel. Where do I start? Actually, I know a good place. Let’s begin experiencing […]

Round 1, Match 1: All the Truth That’s In Me vs The Animal Book

JUDGE – VAUNDA NELSON All The Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry Viking/Penguin The Animal Book by Steve Jenkins Houghton Mifflin When I learned I had to choose between Steve Jenkins’ nonfiction The Animal Book and Julie Berry’s teen novel, All the Truth That’s In Me, I winced. It’s challenging enough to compare two […]

Round 1, Match 8: No Crystal Stair vs The One and Only Ivan

No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Nelson Carolrhoda Books/Lerner The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate HarperCollins Judged by Catherine Gilbert Murdock   What does a self-educated radical bookseller have to do with a depressed 35-year-old strip-mall gorilla? More than it would appear. Both suffer violent childhoods and initially muddle through adulthood. Both grow to […]

Round 1, Match 7: Moonbird vs Seraphina

Moonbird by Phillip Hoose FSG/Macmillan Seraphina by Rachel Hartman Random House Judged by Marie Lu     So. Seraphina vs. Moonbird. I have to admit, I first approached this particular matchup scratching my head. Where to even begin? At first glance, there’s not much similarity at all between these two distinctive books: Seraphina is phenomenal […]

Round 1, Match 6: Liar and Spy vs Splendors and Glooms

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead Wendy Lamb/Random House Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz Candlewick Judged by Franny Billingsley Shall I Compare Thee They want me to compare you, the two of you.  But I don’t want to.  I’d rather compare you to a summer’s day, or to my Mistress’s eyes, or to […]

Round 1, Match 5: Jepp, Who Defied the Stars vs Starry River of the Sky

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh Hyperion Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin Little, Brown Judged by Adam Gidwitz   I have a problem. No, it’s not that I can’t choose between Jepp, Who Defied the Stars and Starry River of the Sky. I have a bigger problem than that. I […]

Round 1, Match 3: Endangered vs Three Times Lucky

  Endangered by Elliot Schrefer Scholastic Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage Dial/Penguin Judged by Kathi Appelt     Set these two books side by side, and with the exception of their trim sizes, it would be difficult to find anything about them that is similar.  But once I sat back and let the full […]

Round 1, Match 2: Code Name Verity vs Titanic

    Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein Hyperion/Disney Titanic by Deborah Hopkinson Scholastic Press Judged by Margarita Engle     Judging is inherently biased.  It is a blatantly subjective process.  Since I am primarily a writer of novels in verse, I foolishly assumed that I would be asked to choose between two volumes of […]

Round 1, Match 1: Bomb vs. Wonder

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin Roaring Brook/Macmillan Wonder by R.J. Palacio Random House Judged by Kenneth Oppel   You would be hard-pressed to find two books with less in common: a heartfelt novel about a boy with a severe facial deformity who starts school for the first time; and a thrilling non-fiction account of the challenge, […]

Round 1, Match 8: Okay for Now vs Wonderstruck

Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt Clarion/HMH Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick Scholastic Judged by Jeff Kinney Oh, the delicious irony. A guy who draws stick-figure cartoons gets to judge which book is better on its literary merits… the one written by the Caldecott-winning author or the one written by the two-time Newbery Honor winner. Perhaps the […]