March Book Madness is Back by Tony Keefer
Each red pin on the map above represents a school or library community that participated in March Book Madness last year. All 600+ of them. When Scott Jones and I started dreaming about the idea of connecting reading communities with a bracket-style knockout tournament, we figured it would be a success if 40-50 of our nerdy friends would join the fun. We never imagined we would have over 600 schools and libraries. I vividly remember thinking as I entered school after school into the map, “Yeesh, there has to be an easier way to drop pins on a Google Map. But, WHOA, people are awesome, this will be amazing!”
And last year’s March Book Madness was amazing, maybe the most enjoyable time we had last year in our classroom. The students I get to be with everyday were energized and excited about the discussions surrounding which book would win. There were cheers of joy and rumpus like dancing when favorite books moved to the next round and there was some serious gnashing of teeth when a beloved book dropped out of the competition. However, no matter how big the disappointment might have been (What?! Wait?! Harry Potter LOST?!?!?), our community of readers knew that the excitement generated was more rewarding than a single book winning or losing a game.
So, what exactly is March Book Madness? If you participated last year feel free to skip the to the next paragraph. March Book Madness is a bracket-style (think NCAA basketball championship) tournament of books. Books that were selected by a group of Nerdy Book Club Super Readers are slotted into a bracket. There are ‘games’ between two books decided by participant voting on the website. The winner of the first round ‘games’ move into the second round and face new books. This process repeats itself until we have a ‘champion book’. Last year’s champions were The Day the Crayons Quit in the picture book bracket, The Lightning Thief in the middle grade novel bracket, and The Crossover in the young adult bracket. Scott and I think one of the great things about March Book Madness is you can do as much or as little as you want to participate. For more detailed information and tips for participating, click here. You can also read last year’s Nerdy Book Club post about March Book Madness.
This year, Scott and I made some changes to March Book Madness based on thoughtful feedback. Our tournament this year starts with a smaller number of books, there will be a vote before the games begin to seed the brackets and this year’s participant map is DIY. We also decided the theme of this year’s bracket will be Fantasy vs. Reality. The finals of each bracket will be a showdown between a fabulous fantasy/sci-fi book and a wonderful realistic/historical fiction or nonfiction book. Looking at the titles in the bracket I am salivating at prospective championship games like Wolfie the Bunny vs. The Last Stop on Market Street, Flora and Ulysses vs. Fish in a Tree and Every Day vs. All American Boys.
March Book Madness will again be using a hashtag on Twitter to share ideas and comment to the greater community. This year it is #2016MBM. It is amazing to me to see all the tweets already flying in preparation for this year’s event. There are some truly inspiring people in participating in March Book Madness.
If you participated last year, Scott and I hope you join us again. The voting begins on March 1, 2016. If you didn’t participate last year, please consider joining March Book Madness, we know you will love it.