In this corner, weighing in at 592 pages, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves.‘ In the other corner, at 224 pages, we have Ways to Live Forever. In the judge’s chair, we have Roger Sutton, reading, reading, reading, getting ready to deliver the Opinion in Round 1 of School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books!

SLJ is launching the First Annual Battle of the Books. In a nutshell, much like March Madness and The Tournament of Books, sixteen books go into the battle; at each round, it’s book vs. book, with a judge making a decision; the winners move on to the next round. At the end of the day, it’s Lois Lowry deciding who wins the Battle of the Books.

It’s all very modern; there is a blog and a twitter account. It’s also old-fashioned fun, as people get to argue with other book lovers about books. You can’ make your predictions‘ and have your own pools going at your library, with teens, or with staff.

It may be a bit silly; and it may be giving press to books that already have it;‘ but at the end of the day, it’s fun to have an avenue where we can be passionate about books. Here, it’s not just selecting YOUR winner; it’s trying to predict what the judges (most of them authors) will select. You can also speculate about why these books made the final 16 (hey, no Jellicoe Road?) Those who have followed the Tournament of Books know that half of the experience is commenting on the judges’ opinions.

So start reading! Fill out your predictions! May the best book win! And…let’s hope it’s a YA book!

About Liz Burns

Liz is the Youth Services Consultant for the New Jersey State Library's Library for the Blind and Handicapped. Liz is active in YALSA and in the YA Services Section of the New Jersey Library Association. She was a member of the 2009 Michael L. Printz Award Committee. Along with co-author Sophie Brookover, she wrote Pop Goes the Library: Using Pop Culture To Connect With Your Whole Community, published in 2008 by Information Today. Liz blogs at Pop Goes the Library ( and Tea Cozy ( She holds an MLIS from Rutgers University, SCILS, and a JD from Villanova Law School, Villanova University. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is her favorite television show. Ever. Her favorite book is... well, it's impossible to pick just one. Or two. Or ten.

One Thought on “Battle of the Books

  1. My bet’s on The Hunger Games!

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