February 14


Top 10 Reasons to Participate in March Book Madness by Tony Keefer

Happy Valentine’s Day Nerdy Nation!  When I was awarded the Valentine’s Day post here at Nerdy, I instantly began building a list of my all time favorite kissy books.  When I was awarded the Valentine’s Day post here at Nerdy I started thinking about love and books, books and love.  And since nothing says love for books like arguing over good books, I, along with some of my friends, am inviting you to participate in March Book Madness.  What is March Book Madness?  It is kind of like the massive college basketball tournament that happens every year.  Instead of Kentucky facing Duke in a game you may get The One and Only Ivan battling Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus matching up against I Want My Hat Back, or The Fault in Our Stars trying to crush Divergent.

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 11.25.32 AM

Over the past few years my class has thoroughly enjoyed every triumphant and heart-breaking moment of seeing our favorite books slotted into a tournament bracket.  Both the thrill of a book “winning a game” and moving to the next round and the agony of seeing a favorite story leave the tournament.  Last year our class added to our own madness by sharing with other classrooms. We saw which books other classrooms loved and we shared the results of our votes.


During a #titletalk a few months ago, one little tweet about the idea of March Book Madness lead to small group of Nerdy Book Clubbers (Franki Sibberson, Scott Jones, Erin Varley, Kristin Ziemke,  Katharine Hale, Katie Muhtaris, Katherine Sokolowski and myself) wondered “What if we could create a web-based March Book Madness that would connect classrooms from all around the country?”


The wondering led to creating a website to host a global March Book Madness. If you clicked the link in the last sentence, browsed the new site, have already registered for the map and you cannot wait to share this idea with the students you work with on Monday, then feel free to skip to the bottom of this post, write a comment and press one of those little buttons that shares this post via Twitter or Facebook.


If you need more incentive to join our book tournament, read on.


The Top 10 Reasons you should click on the link above and join our March Book Madness party.


1) March Book Madness creates a tremendous amount of buzz in classrooms about books.  I know that many Nerdy Book Club classrooms generate a palpable amount of book buzz already.  But a tournament setting creates a different kind of buzz.  Kids get very, very excited about seeing which book moves on to the second round.


2) March Book Madness introduces new books to your readers. Over the last few years many of the books that “win” and move to the next round become interesting to readers who haven’t spent time with them yet.  Last year all 50 of my students spent time with Mr. Tiger Goes Wild because it started gaining momentum as it started winning “games.”


3) March Book Madness is for all school-age readers. We have a picture book bracket, a middle grade novel bracket and a young adult novel bracket.  You, or your students, could choose which bracket you want to join or maybe even join more than one.


4) March Book Madness will connect you with other Nerdy Book Club Classes.  Through the website and the twitter hashtag #2015MBM you can share your love of books with other classrooms.  I can imagine lots of tweets sharing the greatness of certain titles along with the disbelief of a major upset.


5) March Book Madness can be as big or little of a deal as you want.  You could rally your whole school around this event or you could just make it something you share with you students to do at home.  Either way, you are getting your readers to think about books and join a bigger community of book lovers.


6) March Book Madness gets kids to talk about books beyond the classroom walls.  Over the last few years the amount of discussion about books at lunch, recess and in the halls has grown considerably when the event happens.  It is fascinating to see the kids continue the debate after the voting has ended for each match-up.


7) March Book Madness is a way for kids who are reluctant to share their love of reading to go public with that love.  We all have had those students who, for whatever reason, hesitate to profess their love for a book or reading in general.  There is something about the competitive aspect of March Book Madness that entices these readers to show their excitement or frustration.


8) March Book Madness is a chance for your class to connect with authors.  When books start moving through the bracket I am pretty sure there will be plenty of Nerdy Book Club authors adding to the hashtag thread.  When this happens, take the chance to congratulate them or connect with them.


9) March Book Madness is an opportunity for you to share your book nerdiness even more.  I have never held back when my favorite books have won or lost.  It still haunts me that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was eliminated in the first round of my class’s original tournament a few years ago.  March Book Madness has been one more chance for my students to see that I am passionate about the books I love.


10) March Book Madness is exceptionally fun.  During this drudgeriffic time of standardized testing, counting the days until spring break and stressing about why we are so far behind, March Book Madness is an easy way to bring a little bit of fun into our daily lives with our students.


Are you going to join in the fun?  The Road to Bookville starts soon.

Tony Keefer (@tonykeefer) lives, reads and teaches in Dublin, Ohio. You can also find him at http://tonykeefer.blogspot.com and http://tonykeefer.tumblr.com