Battle of the Books

In the spring of 2023, each branch will partner with local schools to host Battle of the Books. There are three different age groups to participate in: 

  1. Elementary school, fourth or fifth grade—View book titles.
  2. Middle school, sixth through eighth grade—View book titles.
  3. High school, ninth through 12th grade—View book titles.

Elementary and Middle School Competitions

All Baltimore County public, private and home schools are encouraged to join with an adult representing each team as a coach, preferably a teacher or media specialist. Teams will consist of five students who prepare throughout the school year. The number of teams a school can bring to the battle can vary depending on how many schools enroll. To enroll, confirm with your nearest branch by Friday, October 14.

Important Dates

  • Friday, October 14—Deadline to confirm enrollment with your local branch
  • Friday, January 20, 2023—Deadline to confirm number of students attending with your local branch
  • February 2023—Schools receive practice questions
  • March and April 2023—Branches host practice sessions with their schools
  • April and May 2023—Battle of the Books 2023 competitions take place

About the Battles

For the Elementary and Middle School Battle, each question has multiple choice options that students can pick from. There are three types of questions during the battle:

  • Content
  • In Which Book
  • True/False

Rules of Play

There are 20 questions and up to five tie-breaker questions per round. See “Best Practices for Battle Rounds” for the suggested number of rounds based on the number of teams competing. Each round will proceed as described below:

  1. Teams of no more than five students sit together at a table.
  2. Each team has four cards on their table labeled A, B, C and D.
  3. The moderator asks a multiple choice question about one of the books where the answer is A, B, C or D. The question is also projected for students to see.
  4. When the moderator says “go," students have 30 seconds to choose the correct answer card. Cards must be kept flat on the table until the moderator says, “cards up.”
  5. If students can pick their answer card before the 30 seconds are up, they should raise their hand to let the moderator know.
  6. When the moderator says “cards up,” all teams show their answer cards to the judges at the same time.
  7. The judges score each answer. Each correct answer is worth one point.


Registration opens on our events page approximately six weeks before the dates listed.

Virtual Author Visits

  • Tuesday, January 24 at 7 p.m.—Jewell Parker Rhodes, author of "Black Brother, Black Brother"
  • Wednesday, February 15 at 7 p.m.—Jennifer L. Holm, author of "The Lion of Mars"
  • Thursday, February 16 at 7 p.m.—Huda Fahmy, author of "Huda F Are You?"
  • Wednesday, March 1 at 7 p.m.—Rosena Fung, author of "Living with Viola"
  • Wednesday, April 26 at 7 p.m.—Laura Martin, author of "Glitch"

In-Person Author Visits

Rajani LaRocca, author of "Red, White, and Whole"

  • Friday, March 10 at 7 p.m.—Perry Hall Branch
  • Saturday, March 11 at 11 a.m.—Cockeysville Branch
  • Saturday, March 11 at 2 p.m.—Woodlawn Branch

Megan Wagner Lloyd, author of "Allergic" 

  • Saturday, April 29 at 11 a.m.—Towson Branch 
  • Saturday, April 29 at 2 p.m.—Essex Branch 

Virtual Book Discussions

  • Elementary—Wednesday, March 15 at 7 p.m.
  • Elementary—Tuesday, March 28 at 7 p.m.
  • Middle School—Thursday, March 30 at 7 p.m.

Virtual Kahoot!

  • Elementary—Tuesday, April 18 at 7 p.m.
  • Middle—Wednesday, April 19 at 7 p.m

High School Competitions

Beginning in September 2022, with school support, students read and discuss the 10 books, then select one book to create a work of expressive art based on their personal interpretation or reflection of the book. All final projects and artist statements must be submitted by Tuesday, February 28, 2023. Join the Battle of the Books channel on our Teen Discord server to chat about books and share your project progress.

Watch quick Book Buzz videos about each book to learn more about the book before reading it. Battle of the Books 2022

Final Project Guidelines

Examples of a final project include (but are not limited to):

Type of ProjectAcceptable ExamplesAcceptable Formats
(100MB maximum file size)
Written work
  • Blog
  • Short story
  • Essay
  • Poem
  • Script
  • .doc or .docx
  • .odt
  • .pdf
  • .txt
  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Photograph
  • Graphic
  • .jpeg
  • .jpg
  • .bmp
  • .gif
  • .png 
  • .svg
  • .ico
  • Song
  • Book talk
  • Podcast
  • .avi
  • .mp3
  • .aif
  • .ogg
  • .wav
  • .wma
(The participating student must be the only person in the video.)
  • Dance
  • Theatrical scene
  • Performance piece
  • Monologue
  • .flv
  • .m4v
  • .mp4
  • .mkv
  • .mov
  • .mpg
  • .wmv
  • Provide a link to video

Artist Statement Guidelines

Students are asked to submit an Artist Statement that answers the following questions:

  • What message from the book did you want to convey or what did you want to say about the book as a whole?
  • What techniques/materials did you use to create this piece? Why did you choose them? Describe your process.

Important Dates

  • Friday, October 14—Deadline for schools to confirm participation with local branch
  • October to January 2023—Students work with school to read and discuss books and begin creating final projects
  • February 2023—Submit final project via online submission portal
  • March 2023—Branch Battles and Final Battles
  • April 2023—Winners announced


  • Thursday November 10—Virtual Author Visit with Demetra Brodsky, Author of "Last Girls"
    • 2:30 p.m. for students and schools only
    • 6:30 p.m. for all
  • Tuesday, December 6—Author Visit with Tiffany D. Jackson, Author of White Smoke and Co-Author of "Blackout"
    • 2:30 p.m. at Patapsco High School, in-person and virtual, students and schools only
    • 6:30 p.m. at the Owings Mills Branch, all welcome
  • Wednesday, February 1, 2023 at 3:30 p.m.—Virtual Book Discussion
  • Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 3:30 p.m.—Kahoot! Trivia Game
  • March 2023—Battle of the Books 2023 competitions take place

About the Battles

The High School Battle has two tiers beginning March 2023.

  1. Branch Battle—Students' Final Projects are first judged by their local branch. One winner from each branch is selected. Each Branch Winner moves on to Tier 2.
  2. Final Battle—All Branch Winners are judged to select one, final, Battle of the Books High School Winner.


A scoring rubric is used for both the Branch Battle and the Final Battle. Students are judged on their:

  • Understanding of the material
  • Interpretation of the material
  • Craftmanship/skill of their final project
  • Creativity and originality


All students that participate and submit a project receive a Battle of the Books shirt.

  • Branch Winners—$50 Visa gift card
  • Final Battle Winners—$100 Visa gift card