Background on Battle of the Books
The Merced Union High School District Battle of the Books (#MUHSDBoB) is a literary competition open to all high schools in central California. The competition is held on the last Friday in January. It grew out of a reading program for intensive English classes at Livingston High School which in turn was inspired by a workshop at the California School Library Association annual conference. The first district-wide competition was held at that school during the 2010-2011 school year. The hosting duties rotate alphabetically among the district's 6 comprehensive sites.
Books are selected each year by the MUHSD Teacher Librarians (TL). The TL of the hosting site does not select titles for that year. Each of the other 5 TLs selects 4 books: 2 current young adult novels, 1 classic novel or play, and 1 nonfiction book. There are no strict guidelines for selecting books but the TLs try to include diverse genres, and points of view in their selections. The list of titles is published on the libraries' webpages by April 1st of the previous year. See below for the 2020-21 list. Follow this link for the Master list of titles used. Note: not all titles are appropriate for all students. Readers should check the book descriptions in the school library catalog and/or consult with your site TL.
After selecting books the Teacher Librarians write questions for their selections. All questions are in the format, "In which book..." The answer to each question is one of the 20 titles on that year's reading list. A correct answer is worth 3 points. An additional point can be earned by giving the full name of the author of that book. Pronunciation counts.
Each school forms teams of 4-8 people. Teams may be composed of students or staff (mixed student/staff teams are not permitted). There is no limit on the number of teams a school may field. Teams divide up the reading list and try to assure that each of the 20 titles is read by at least 1 person. Prizes are given to the highest scoring student team, the highest scoring staff team, and the school with the highest average student team scores.
At the end of the competition the highest scoring staff team faces a student all-star team in a game of literary Jeopardy. Categories for the Jeopardy game are fairly random and are not announced ahead of time. The competition is for fun and bragging rights only.
For More Information
For more information contact one of the MUHSD Teacher Librarians:
- Atwater High- Travis Harding 209-325-1249
- Buhach Colony High- Julie Cook 209-325-1448
- El Capitan High- Tony Doyle 209-384-5549
- Golden Valley High- Tara Woodall 209-325-1849
- Livingston High- Janis Edwards 209-398-3248
- Merced High- Heidi Pedrozo 209-325-104