My March Madness of books started out in late February, and each Thursday as I’ve stopped in to volunteer with Mrs. B’s class, they’ve voted on a new bracket. This Thursday was the last, with a big winner to be chosen and announced.
The final two were Escaping the Giant Wave by Peg Kehret and Smile by Raina Telgemeier. A lot of the kids have been reading or listening to Peg Kehret’s books since third grade, so her book blew through a series of tough competitors, including Timmy Failure, Amulet, Belly Up, Hoot, and The PS Brothers. Smile, a graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier, had an equally tough journey to the end, taking down Athlete vs. Mathlete, Divergent, Tom Sawyer, and Calvin and Hobbes. Along the way, Harry Potter, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I, Funny, Big Nate, N.E.R.D.S., The Lightning Thief and many others also lost.
When it came down to counting the final votes, it was Escaping the Giant Wave by just a few. The kids also answered a short survey. (They often have really good ideas, and I might want to use a few for next year’s bracket.) Some thought the books should be grouped more by genre or by putting classics in one bracket and new books in another. Others liked the randomness of our original 64. Several mentioned that they liked the excitement of finding out the new winners and voting each week. One noted that I could up the excitement factor if I worked on my presentation skills. Ha! Another though we should vote on a losing bracket, too, which might be fun to add. Only one kid admitted to despising the whole thing, and I actually loved his resistance to admitting that any of this was fun, since he included a drawing of a toilet and still answered the question about his favorite book of the year at the bottom.
The list for next year is already started.