It’s already started. A few weeks ago, I surveyed the fifth graders and came up with a list of more than 64 books. Some of them had heard about the B3 (Mrs. B’s Book Bracket) from kids last year; rumor has it that one even asked specifically to be put in Mrs. B’s class because of it.
This time of year, everyone starts talking about brackets and the Sweet 16 and basketball, of course. Last year, I came across ideas for getting kids excited about reading by using bracketology, and I thought it could be fun in my volunteer book talks.
My son and I came up with more than 100 books and randomly paired them to create the first bracket. In the end, last year’s initial 64 was winnowed down to a final two of Peg Kehret’s Escaping the Giant Wave vs. Raina Telgemeier’s Smile. Peg Kehret won, buoyed by fan loyalty; her books are much loved by the third grade teachers in the school. Fifth graders have fond memories of listening to and reading her books, and she managed to hold off Timmy Failure, Amulet, Belly Up, Hoot, and The PS Brothers before beating Smile. When I messaged Ms. Kehret about her big win, she very kindly wrote a short note back thanking her Iowa readers. It made the win even more fun for the kids to actually hear back from such a gracious and kind victor.
This year, we started with a slightly different 64. We’ve already had the first vote, and it’s been winnowed to a TERRIFIC 32, which you can see below. Once we hit the SWELL/SWEET 16, I’ll give the kids an opportunity to advocate for their favorites, which brings a whole different level of fun. Books, fun. That’s what it’s all about, people.