Book Bracketology

School Library Journal, I heart you!!  You have combined my March Madness obsession with my passion for books to create Battle of the Books.


Now, even though you’ve pitted Kadir Nelson against E. Lockhart, which is akin to Marquette playing Georgetown – where oh where would my allegiance lie?! I must say that I’m intrigued.

For those who think I’ve finally lost my mind and am rambling, in short here’s all you need to know about the BoB:

School Library Journal’s Battle of the (Kids’) Books is a competition between 16 of the very best books for young people published in 2008, judged by some of the biggest names in children’s books.

Now, go catch up here, on scheduling, then return with predictions in hand.

I haven’t read all of the books in the all-out brawl for literary supremacy, but ya’ know my lack of knowledge about all the teams in the NCAA tourney never stopped me from filling out brackets. So why should a little thing like not having read the book stop me now?

So here it goes. My *predictions for the first round. My selection in bold:

Octavian Nothing Vol II v. Ways to Live Forever

Sally Nichols’ book about the last days of a boy fighting leukemia sounds heart-wrenching. And it’s exactly why I can’t vote for it. I was tearing up just reading the cover copy! I’m a history geek, so I’d rather lose myself in the ills of war than a kid dying.

The Graveyard Book v. The Trouble Begins at 8

I’m a sucker for a ghost story! ‘Nuff said.

Chains v. Washington at Valley Forge

Geez, I’m becoming a regular predictable Polly here, pulling for the obvious front-runner. But, as history goes, the story of a teen slave – reminding me of Sharon Draper’s Copper Sun, feels more interesting than talking about the original George Dubaya.

Here Lies Arthur v. Tender Morsels

This was actually a tough one, for me. But I went with Arthur because I am a total medieval groupie. Totally fascinated by the King Arthur legend and such.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau v. We Are The Ship

I’m totally protesting this bracket. #1 These two books are so different! #2 E. Lockhart’s MC feels like a mini-me if I’d been more ballsy at that age. #3Try as I might to avoid bringing up the fact that Kadir Nelson is the only author of color in the BoB arena (sorry, I had to mention it!), it’s hard for me to ignore. So I can’t boot him out first round. I just can’t.

The Hunger Games v. The Porcupine Year

::sigh:: I almost went with The Porcupine Year because of the diversity. But The Hunger Games reminds me too much of the Stephen King short story (name’s escaping me!!) where the winner of the race isn’t really much of a winner. You know how me and King do!

Graceling v. The Underneath

Hmm…not really into the animals as main character bit, so…

The Lincolns v. Nation

Wow…I like history, but this battle is a bit too full of historical accounts for me. I like a lot of fiction in my history -not literally but…well, anyway had to go with Nation here. The story of building society from scratch intrigues me.

I completed my brackets, on paper, and have the final winner as

*Selections are not based on literary merit at all. It goes without saying these books all have their strong suits. If you think my selections are loosey-goose here, you should see some of the reasons behind my March Madness picks!

Paula Chase Hyman is the author of the Del Rio Bay series. Her latest release, Flipping The Script (Dafina, 2009) is the fifth and final book in the series. She’s likely to fare much better at these brackets than she ever has at the NCAA tourney.

8 thoughts on “Book Bracketology

  1. Don’t apologize! We ought to make a point of pointing out the ways writers of color continuously get excluded from major kidlit events…the latest CCBC stats are out, and black authors are still less than 3% of the total…so go, Kadir!

  2. I agree Zetta. But it gets tiring waving the banner. Lucky for me I have folks, like you, willing to wave it when my arm grows tired.

  3. Love the idea. Wish there was more diversity. But hey, The Brown Bookshelf could always organize something similar for next year, with booksellers or maybe readers as judges?

  4. The Nelson/Lockhart pairing bothered me too. It’s so different. Maybe against The Lincolns and Nation against Frankie?

    What best books would you have put up by authors of color?

  5. Hey, don’t forget Louise Erdrich when you’re counting authors of color.

    The Hunger Games is also sort of my pick to win it all, but only on impulse–when I go through the brackets, Nation ends up the winner. I can’t wait to see what happens!

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