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BOB, Round 2 March 27, 2014

Posted by ccbooks in Nerd Line.
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Three matches that made me happy, one that made me shrug my shoulders a bit. That’s not a bad record, as far as the Battle of the Kid’s Books goes. ALSO, can we once again say how incredibly amazing these judges are? Katherine Marsh even came up with a new comparison cliche!

“With vivid, wrenching scenes of warfare and massacre, Yang makes readers face up to how savage we human beings can be.” –Tonya Bolden

Much as I love The Animal Book, I would have been really upset had Boxers & Saints not won this round. I think it’s the most impressive graphic novel I’ve read this year, of any genre or age level. The writing and visuals are both gorgeous and there are no easy answers, which is probably my favorite thing about it. If I had to pick a contender right now that I’m rooting for to win the whole battle, it would probably be Boxers & Saints. 

“Too often, omni POVs serve as protection against critical crucifixion while they ‘tell’ rather than ‘show’ or insert the author’s voice at the expense of Story.” –Rae Carson.

On the one hand, I’m glad that Carson didn’t pick Eleanor & Park because it has definitely been the most talked about title this year, similar to TFIOS last year. And I love it, I really do. One thing that has been really interesting is to hear what other adult fiction writers had to say about it over at the Morning News Tournament of Books. I was bemused to read several of them complaining that the lack of sex wasn’t believable, and I wonder how much they know about general parental and teacher objections to young adult material.  Far Far Away was intriguing but I didn’t run out to tell everyone I know that they had to read it RIGHT NOW. I’m interested to see what the next judge has to say about this reinvented fairy tale.

“Both books are about growing up. Both stories are rooted in dreams.” –Joseph Bruchac.

This was a lovely appraisal of both Hokey Pokey and P.S. Eleven. I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Bruchac several years ago and this thoughtfulness and consideration really come through in this decision. I love that he pointed out the literary references in P. S. Be Eleven, something that I hadn’t really thought about but that is definitely a big part of Delphine and her life. I’m glad that I finally read Hokey Pokey (now I just have to figure out who I can sell it to) and I’m glad that P.S. Be Eleven is getting more discussion here than it did on some of the Newbery blogs.

“But a slightly older reader can appreciate a more complex carbohydrate, which brings us to wheat.” –Katherine Marsh.

Katherine Marsh is possibly the author I was most excited to read as a judge (and not just because she responded to my comment on her introduction post). Her book The Night Tourist is one of my favorite explorations of Greek mythology in a middle grade novel and Jepp, who defied the stars gave me a new interest in astronomy and European history. Marsh just hit this one out of the park. I’m using ‘gut punch’ now on to describe novels that stick with me and I think it absolutely applies to The Thing About Luck. I’m looking forward to reading whatever Marsh writes next.

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