The NCAA has basketball; I have books! March in my elementary library means Tournament of Books. We start with a bracket of eight pairs of competitors from different categories derived from American Library Association and Texas Library Association lists supplemented with some favorites of mine that I want to introduce to my school’s readers.
Our books can’t play basketball so we choose our winners by voting.
The first two weeks are spent getting to know the competitors. I read them in the library, teachers read them to their classes, students use free moments to read them by themselves and to each other. Our community of readers is buzzing about these books.
Friday in the library is always a crazy day. Sometimes to the point of “remind me why I do this” crazy. Tournament action today brought me those reminders.
I was reminded by this pair of first graders reading Cece Bell’s I Yam a Donkey with great expression and lots of giggles.
A fourth grade teacher reminded by jokingly complaining that I didn’t warn her about Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Laurie Mattick and admitting that she had just cried while reading it to her class.
I was also reminded by the reaction of K and 1st grade students to the suspenseful introduction of a “new pet” to the Button’s household in Chris Gall’s Dog vs. Cat. Then by their reaction to the contrast of the results of seeds of selfishness and kindness in Kadir Nelson’s gorgeous If You Plant a Seed.
The NCAA can keep its basketball. I’ve got books!