Striking Out with the Battle of the (Kids’) Books

Last week, I posted my predictions for School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books. Well, the first half of the first round is over, and if you want to know who won — it was every book I did NOT predict!

My strategy was to guess that the celebrity author judges would pick the book most like the ones that they themselves write. However, I’m beginning to suspect that it’s easier for them to see flaws in books similar to their own.

Do check the Battle website. The rationales the judges gave for their choices are interesting and entertaining and will make you want to read both books. All the judges — with the notable exception of the one who shot down my favorite — spoke in high praise of the book they did not pick, as well as the book they did pick.

Now that we know which books have advanced to the first half of the second round, I’ll make predictions about those matches. Honestly, I’m tempted to predict the ones I do NOT want to win — that way they won’t win! Actually, I don’t really care about these two matches, now that my favorites are knocked out. Now I hope that Marcelo wins it all — unless Fire comes back from the dead to challenge him.

So, second round first half predictions:

Round Two, Match One:
Charles and Emma
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Judge: M. T. Anderson

M. T. Anderson doesn’t seem like someone who would fall so much for a girls’ book. (But I’ve definitely been wrong before!) I’m going to predict that Charles and Emma will win.

Round Two, Match Two:
The Last Olympian
The Lost Conspiracy
Judge: Angela Johnson

I’m going to predict The Lost Conspiracy, since I’ve read it and it is an exceptional work of imagination. With this one, I’m not emotionally invested in my choice, though — since I thought The Lost Conspiracy was an awfully dark book, and it won my imagination, but not my heart.

Perhaps I should be hoping that the weakest books win, to give the winner of the second half (I like almost all those books better than these!) a better chance!

But we shall see….

I am enjoying, despite my disappointment in the choices so far, that there is no criteria given to the judges. It points out that different people like different types of books, and how rather random this whole thing is anyway. It’s a fun way to highlight sixteen exceptional books, with everyone realizing that this is by no means an objective contest.

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