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Battle of the Kids Books Contest Starts Today

This month’s hottest competition has nothing to do with basketballs, foul lines, or colleges. It’s all about kids, books, and award-winning authors.

School Library Journal’s third annual “Battle of the Kids’ Books” begins on Monday, March 14, with a scorching competition that pits 16 of last year’s best books for young people against each other. A brilliant array of top-notch authors, like Richard Peck, Karen Hesse, and R.L. Stine, will bring their A-game expertise in children’s and young adult literature—and over the next few weeks, they’ll read and eliminate books as they get closer to the grand prize. What makes this contest fun and unique is that you’ll hear directly from the 15 judges in their blog posts about why they decided to keep or get rid of certain books. The winner will be chosen by our final judge, Newbery medalist Richard Peck, and announced on Monday, April 4.

For a complete list of judges and the books they’ve been assigned, and to follow the action of this winner-takes-all contest, visit www.sljbattleofthebooks.com.

The contenders for the coveted title of best book are:

Sugar Changed the World by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos
Keeper by Kathi Appelt
They Called Themselves the K.K.K. by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds
Trash by Andy Mulligan
As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins
The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan
The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie by Tanya Lee Stone
The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud
A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
Countdown by Deborah Wiles
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ Books contest is the brainchild of three educators: Monica Edinger and Roxanne Feldman of the Dalton School in New York City and Jonathan Hunt, a school librarian in Modesto, CA. The competition was inspired by the Morning News’ Tournament of Books, an annual competition featuring the previous year’s best novels for adults.

“Each year I’m completely energized by the Battle of the Kids’ Books. The judges always outdo themselves in smart, witty, and insightful decisions getting me to look at each contender in new ways. It is just fun to work together to keep the Battle of the Kids’ Books entertaining, stimulating, and most of all—fun,” Edinger said.

This year’s contest is sponsored by HarperCollins Children’s Books and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

School Library Journal is the most influential publication serving the largest market for new children’s and young adult books and is the only full-service publication serving the youth and school library market. It reaches over 35,000 elementary, middle/junior, and senior high school librarians and youth service librarians in public libraries. SLJ educates its readers to become leaders in technology, reading, and information literacy. It is part of Media Source, Inc. whose publications include The Horn Book Magazine and Library Journal. www.schoollibraryjournal.com.

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