Battle of the Kids’ Books, Week One

Today I stayed home from work with a headache, but on the plus side, the one thing I was able to do was read, and I finished two contenders from School Library Journal’s Battle of the Kids’ Books, Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys, and The Grand Plan to Fix Everything, by Uma Krishnaswami. That leaves me with only one book left of the sixteen contestants. It’s probably the shortest, Inside Out and Back Again, so I hope to finish it tonight or tomorrow.

Since Inside Out and Back Again doesn’t compete until next week, I thought I’d post my picks for the first week.

The first match happened today. My pick, Amelia Lost, was the winner. Judge Matt Phelan gave a brilliant analysis of both books.

Getting them finished in the nick of time, tonight I posted reviews of both of tomorrow’s contenders: Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys, and Bootleg, by Karen Blumenthal.

You can see from my reviews that I thought both books were brilliant. But for my pick to win, I have to go with Between Shades of Gray for the way it made me continually forget that I was reading fiction, not fact.

The remaining matches this week involve two of my favorites for the entire tournament, so these ones I care a lot more about:

For The Cheshire Cheese Cat vs. Chime, I definitely want Chime to win.

For Daughter of Smoke and Bone vs. Dead End in Norvelt, despite the brilliance of Newbery-winning Dead End in Norvelt, my heart is solidly with Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

But, again, half the fun is reading the judges’ analysis and opinions. Who will win this year? Stay tuned!

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