What is Battle of the Books?

Our Battle of the Books program began in 1980. It is a wonderful school-Library partnership. The schools put together the teams of enthusiastic readers. The Library picks the books (60 on the list, with 20 replaced each year). As you can imagine, it takes a lot of reading to put together the Battle list every year. The children's librarians get together and have Battle Book Discussions, where they discuss (and sometimes argue) about which books deserve a slot on the list.

Meanwhile, back at the schools, students get together with their coaches and work on reading and remembering books from the list. Each coach handles their team a little differently, and over the years all sorts of coaching styles have been successful.

Finally, in late October, it's time for the first Battle meet. The children's librarians have been working hard to come up with questions that are not too easy, but are not too hard, either. Here is an example of a Battle question:

First, he sharpens the pencils. Then he sharpens the chalk, and then some popsicle sticks, and then his finger. Name the book.

Answer: JOEY PIGZA SWALLOWED THE KEY by Jack Gantos

The school's team that earns the most points at the end of a few weeks of Battle meets is declared the champion.

All of the competitors, their families and their coaches are invited each year to the Battle Awards Ceremony. That's when the winning school gets their plaque. Then everyone gets to hear a speech by one of the authors of one of the Battle books on our list! Some recent authors have been Adam Gidwitz, Katherine Hannigan, Candace Fleming, Wendelin Van Draanen, and Dan Gutman. It is a great celebration, and one more important thing happens--students get their first look at the next year's Battle list so they can start reading all over again!*

(*taken from https://www.nileslibrary.org/battle-books)

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