Do you follow the SLJ Battle of the Books? It's the kidliterati version of March Madness, pitting fiction against nonfiction, dystopic sci-fi against humor, graphic novels against verse. It's win or go home as a few elite judges (Lauren Myracle, Matt Phelan, Maggie Stiefvater, and Jonathan Stroud, among others! Wow!) debate the merits of 16 of the most highly-decorated and fulsomely-praised children's and young adult books of this year.
One of the things that I like most about the BoB brackets (besides the fact that you can call them BoB) is that the books are seeded in alphabetical order. This leads to some amusingly disjunct head-to-head beat-downs: the gritty Okay for Now versus the magic-tinged Wonderstruck, for example. It might also be the only place you'll see the sincere, informative Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans go up against the heartfelt-but-in-a-very-different-way Inside Out and Back Again.
For the first time this year, I am in prime position to follow along, having read more nine and a half of the sixteen contenders. I discussed many of the books in this year's battle in my Newbery Preview post - but the Big N has historically not conferred any advantage during Battle of the Books, past Newbery winners having gone down in early rounds. Here's the list, and it's on Goodreads too.