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Battle of the Books

Round 1, Match 5: The Odyssey vs. One Crazy Summer

The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds Candlewick One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia Amistad/HarperCollins Judged by Karen Hesse In the summer of 1968, eleven-year-old Delphine boards a plane in New York, along with her younger sisters, Vonetta, and Fern, to spend a month in California with the mother who abandoned them shortly after Fern’s birth. Though […]

Round 1, Match 4: Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword vs. Keeper

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch Amulet/Abrams Keeper by Kathi Appelt Atheneum/Simon & Schuster Judged by Susan Patron For me, the first Battle was in being assigned a book, Keeper, whose author Kathi Appelt had six months earlier provided a gorgeous blurb for my own new book. Some of her Acknowledgment read […]

Round 1, Match 3: The Dreamer vs. The Good, The Bad, and the Barbie

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan, illus. by Peter Sis Scholastic Press The Good, The Bad, and the Barbie by Tanya Stone Viking/Penguin Judged by Barry Lyga BATTLE! OF! THE! BOOKS! a review in One Act [We open at Barry Lyga’s home. There is a knock at the door. Barry rises from a comfortable sofa […]

Round 1, Match 2: A Conspiracy of Kings vs. Countdown

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner Green Willow Books/HarperCollins Countdown by Deborah Wiles Scholastic Press Judged by Dana Reinhardt I should begin with the admission that this was never really a fair fight. When these books arrived in my mailbox, despite the old adage about how one should never do so, I confess […]

Round 1, Match 1: As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth vs. The Card Turner: A Novel about a King, a Queen, and a Joker

As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins Green Willow Books/HarperCollins The Card Turner by Louis Sachar Delacorte Books/Random House Judged by Francisco X. Stork Suppose you want to torture me, what do you do? You give me two excellent books and you ask me to pick one. What […]

Round 1 Match 8: Tales from Outer Suburbia vs When You Reach Me

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan Arthur A. Levine Books When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead Wendy Lamb Books Judged by Julius Lester Reading is subjective. What one experiences in a book, how much of a book one understands depends on what one brings to the act of reading. This is often illustrated […]

Round 1 Match 7: The Storm in the Barn vs Sweethearts of Rhythm

The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan Candlewick Press Sweethearts of Rhythm by Marilyn Nelson Dial Books Judged by Anita Silvey Choosing between the two books in this bracket—The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan and Sweethearts of Rhythm by Marilyn Nelson—at first seemed like deciding between an apple and an artichoke. But […]

Round 1 Match 6: Peace, Locomotion vs A Season of Gifts

Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson Putnam A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck Dial Books Judged by Cynthia Kadohata If you could count the subject matter of every novel ever written, I’d wager that the subject of family would come in first place.  Maybe not, but that’s where I’d put my money.  Family dynamics are […]

Round 1 Match 5: Marcelo in the Real World vs Marching for Freedom

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork Arthur Levine Books Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge Viking Judged by Gary Schmidt Many, many thanks for having me be a part of this wonderful contest. But I think that sometime in the past, I must have done something awful to you, to have you […]

Round 1 Match 4: Lips Touch vs The Lost Conspiracy

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor Arthur Levine Books The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge HarperCollins Judged by Helen Frost If I had come across these two books side-by-side on a table in a library or bookstore, I might have chosen the wrong one. Page 1 of Lips Touch: Three Times is seductive, exquisite, […]