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March 29, 2019

Picture Book Madness

The past few years I have done a Tournament of Books designed around March Madness. The Brown Bag Teacher has a free display printable.  This year I decided very last minute that I wanted to do a tournament with my students.. It took me about 2 hours to select the books and prepare a digital bracket for my students to view on our smart board.

If you have been following me you know that I am passionate about being representative to cultures and abilities in my classroom. With that in mind, I knew I wanted to bring that into my book selection. I also knew that I did not want to purchase any books for this and pulled from my own selection. There were two books that I wanted to use that I checked out from my public library. Support your local library!

The Process

Each day I read the contenders for the day. Now, you could have read these books throughout the school year and then simply voted, hardly any work! I wanted to take advantage of reading as many new books to my students as possible. 

After we read the books we voted for our winner of the day. The original process of reading all the books took 8 days and took us from our sweet 16 to our elite 8.

Once we had our Elite 8 we voted pretty quickly to get to the winner. I did not want to rush them in their selection so each morning during morning meeting we voted down to the final 4 - this took 4 days.

All together this took just over 2 weeks. In approximately 14 days but students read 16 new to them books. They analyzed the stories, had thought provoking conversations, connected books and interacted with authors and illustrators via Twitter. Was this tournament worth it? 100% and I will continue to do it every year.

The Contenders

Below are the book pairings that I created. All of my students voted for their favorite book of each pair. I told them that it would be hard because I loved all of the books I picked. It was awesome seeing their reactions and hearing their opinions.

We voted in a secret ballot. I gave each students a ticket and had them come and place the ticket on the book they wanted. Why? Peer pressure is still crazy and I want them to vote for the book they loved, not just because their friends loved it.

I was very selective with my books as I wanted to show representation of all characters, races, faiths, cultures, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and abilities. These are also hard topics that should or not should be talked about in school, but picture books are an easy way to just plant the seed of - we are all different and we should respect others.

 The Night Gardner was the first book we read. Honestly, it got applause from my kinders afterwards. I TRULY suggest you purchase or add this to your library check out list. It is a must read.

Gosh, How do you even begin to choose?! Peter Hamilton Reynolds - thank you for your talents. 

 For these two we had the same author competing against one another. (Which if you have never interacted with Samantha Berger, you must, she is a gem of a person!)

 These two books right here are just works of art. Rafael Lopez is truly incredible. As soon as I showed my students Maybe Something Beautiful a scholar made the connection to the gray city that was in The Curious Gardner - y'all! I didn't even plan that, but it worked so well.
 Pairing these two was hard, I wanted to continue with the theme of representation so I used Mela and the Elephant. I was nervous because I thought it wouldn't stand a chance against a funny book. But I stuck with it.

Again, a happy accident, King for a Day celebrate the spring kite festival and we read it on the first day of spring! Charley Met Emma is brand new and a must add to your library for the purpose of teaching our children it is okay to be different.

The Winner

I'd love to know what books you have used in your tournament. Below you can see how my students voted for all of the books. And the winner is....

Winner will be announced after voting.

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