February 26, 2017

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2017 Judge: Kwame Alexander (The Closer)

Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and New York Times Bestselling author of 21 books, including BOOKED and THE CROSSOVER, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, […]

2017 Judge: Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen is often called the Hans Christian Andersen of America (though she will only admit to being the Hans Jewish Andersen of the States) has written over 360 books. She loves, loves, loves to read, though sometimes writing gets in the way. However, she has read every single Jane Yolen book, which also takes […]

Want the Latest Brackets?

Just go to Shelley Diaz’s excellent article, “Download SLJ’s 2017 Battle of the Kids’ Books Brackets” for all the details. Enjoy!

2017 Judge: Duncan Tonatiuh

Duncan Tonatiuh is the author-illustrator of The Princess and the Warrior, Funny Bones, Separate Is Never Equal, Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote, Diego Rivera: His World and Ours and Dear Primo. He is the illustrator of Esquivel! and Salsa. His books have received multiple accolades, among them the Pura Belpré Medal, the Sibert Medal, The […]

2017 Judge: Sabaa Tahir

Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s eighteen-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash, and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks, and all […]

2017 Judge: Nova Ren Suma

Nova Ren Suma is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Walls Around Us and other novels. She loves unreliable narrators and ghost stories, so if you see her in person, tell her a good, spine-tingling ghost story to keep her from sleeping through the night. Nova lives in a tiny apartment […]

2017 Judge: Tanya Lee Stone

Tanya Lee Stone was a happy participant in SLJ’s Battle of the Books back in 2011 when her The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie succumbed in Round 2 to Kathi Appelt’s Keeper. It wasn’t a total loss, though, as judge Naomi Shihab Nye referred to her as “the intrepid Tanya Lee Stone,” thus softening […]

2017 Judge: Javaka Steptoe

Javaka Steptoe is an artist, designer, and illustrator.  He has illustrated 11 award-winning books, including CSK Award winner In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall and CSK honor book Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow.  His most recent picture book, Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, received 5 starred reviews and reflects Javaka’s belief […]

2017 Judge: Eliot Schrefer

Eliot Schrefer is a longtime fan of the Battle of the Books. He’s written many novels for young readers, including two installments of the New York Times-bestselling Spirit Animals series and the “Great Ape Quartet” of young adult books, two of which have been finalists for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature. His […]

2017 Judge: Ellen Oh

Ellen Oh is a very busy person. She has 3 kids that demand to be fed on a daily basis and 2 dogs that demand to be walked. When she has free time, she works for a nonprofit company called We Need Diverse Books where she gets to hang with some of the most awesome […]

2017 Judge: Brendan Kiely

Brendan Kiely is The New York Times bestselling author of All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds), The Last True Love Story, and The Gospel of Winter. Someone once told him that if he became a writer he could read for a living. He can’t. He has deadlines. They loom. He loves to write, but reading […]

2017 Judge: Cynthia Kadohata

Cynthia Kadohata is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning book Kira-Kira, the National Book Award winner The Thing About Luck, the Jane Addams Peace Award and Pen USA Award winner Weedflower, Cracker!, Outside Beauty, A Million Shades of Gray, and several critically acclaimed adult novels, including The Floating World. She lives with her son and […]

2017 Judge: Varian Johnson

Varian Johnson is the author of six novels, including the Jackson Greene middle-grade caper series. The first novel in the series, The Great Greene Heist, was named an ALA Notable Children’s Book Selection and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year among other accolades. In addition to middle grade, Varian writes novels and short stories […]

2017 Judge: Sara Farizan

Sara Farizan is the author of the Lambda award winning If You Could Be Mine and the non-award winning but super fun Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel. She lives in Massachusetts, misses Prince and George Michael, and thanks you for reading her work.You can follow her on twitter @SaraFarizan even though tweeting […]

2017 Judge: Lulu Delacre

Lulu Delacre was born in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico. She studied art at L’Ecole Supérieure d’Arts Graphiques in Paris, France, and released her first title, Arroz con Leche (Scholastic) in 1989. Since then, she has written and illustrated many titles for children and young adults, striving to create quality literature incorporating her own life experiences […]

2017 Judge: James Dashner

James Dashner is the author of many books, including the Maze Runner series, and the Mortality Doctrine series, some of them read by people. When he dies, he wants to be buried in between Stephen King and Charles Dickens. Books are his everything, and judging a battle over books has been the ultimate goal of […]

Fantasy BoB Commences & Pairing Reveal

From Roxanne: In the past few years, some of our (Monica’s and my) students participated as Kid Commentators and shared with all BoB followers their exhilaration when the Judges agreed with them and their bitter disappointment when they found a particular decision out of sync with their love for one title over the other.  These young […]

Personal Favorites We Had To Leave Out

   We start discussing possible contenders in July, but begin reading much earlier. In fact we’ve already got some ideas for next year’s battle. In the fall, things rev up and our gdoc fills up with individual nominees and each of our comments on them. As three passionate individuals we feel strongly about our favorites […]

YMA/BOB Crossover!

(This is penned by Battle Commander third, Jonathan Hunt.) Nine of our sixteen BOB finalists made off one some kind of recognition at Monday’s ALA Youth Media Awards Announcements, including I’m pleased to note the Newbery Medal (which we often manage to omit entirely–not this year!) Here’s a rundown of how BOB books fared– ANNA […]

The 2017 Contenders

   Here they are! Let us know what you think in the comments.     ANNA AND THE SWALLOW MAN by Gavriel Savit FREEDOM IN CONGO SQUARE by Carole Boston Weatherford and R. Gregory Christie FREEDOM OVER ME by Ashley Bryan GHOST by Jason Reynolds THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill THE […]