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June 1, 2016

Choose Your Bracket!

A few weeks ago, the world was abuzz with talk of the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament. In the past 48 hours, the volume has been turned up yet again! People have filled out their March Madness brackets and made their predictions about which team will win each round and who will ultimately win the tournament.

Because of the work I do at Scholastic, I’ve experienced more book talk than sporting smack talk. Libraries, classrooms, bloggers, and even publishers have been creating their own tournaments for Literary March Madness! By pitting books and their authors against each other, readers are able to be passionate advocates for the works they love best—and it’s spreading a love of reading and books in an amazing way. Here are a few of my favorite battles.


Since 2009, School Library Journal has hosted an annual Battle of the Books, which draws on the expertise of some of the biggest names in children’s books to decide each round. Three children’s book experts curate the list beginning in the fall. They pass their final contenders to the staff at SLJ, who create the brackets and recruit the judges. This year, the books include award winners, graphic novels, nonfiction, fantasy novels, and even novels in verse! The judges feature bestselling authors, including Holly Black, Clare Vanderpool, and Nathan Hale.

You can follow this year’s tournament, judge explanations, and brackets here. You can also get updates via Twitter by following @SLJsBoB!


The New York Public Library’s bracket is a little more complicated, but just as much fun! They’ve selected four divisions—Challenged, Name Play, Screen Time, and Other-Worldly—and are pitting authors against each other for each matchup. Within each division, there are sub-categories—such as Media Shy, YA, Multiple Names, and Brits—with books for children and adults represented. They’re letting their fans vote on each round by commenting on its picture. You can follow along on the NYPL Instagram page here.


Of course at Scholastic Reading Club, we wanted to be part of the fun too! We opted to create a bracket game made up of our favorite books from the Caldecott, Newbery, Pura Belpré, Coretta Scott King, and Printz awards lists. After compiling the list, we realized most of the books were falling into four categories: animal stories, fantasy and imagination, humor and funny tales, and realistic fiction. Those became our divisions! Every day, we’ve been sharing one head-to-head matchup on our Facebook page. Whichever book garners the most votes moves on to the next round. Our fans have voted the field down to the Sweet 16, and by March 31, we’ll crown the winner of KidLit March Madness!


To find more examples, search #BookMarchMadness or #LiteraryMarchMadness on Twitter and Instagram. You’ll see some amazing examples from readers everywhere!




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March 18, 2015