Battle of the Books

photo of the Towson Battle of the Books winnersIn the spring of 2024, 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
  2. Middle school, sixth through eighth grade
  3. High school, ninth through 12th grade

Elementary and Middle School Competitions

Elementary and Middle School Battle of the Books are fun reading competitions where students read from a list of 10 books (see titles below) and answer trivia questions. Schools must form teams of five along with an adult coach representative, preferably a teacher or media specialist. Each Baltimore County Public Library will facilitate a battle for local schools to compete against each other. To enroll, confirm with your nearest branch by Monday, October 16.

Elementary School Battle of the Books All Titles and Formats

Middle School Battle of the Books All Titles and Formats

High School Competitions

photo of the winning battle of the books team western tech

Photo Credit: Ruth Gould

High School Battle of the Books encourages individual students, with school support, to submit a work of expressive art (written work, image, audio or video) based on one of the 10 Black-Eyed Susan titles for high schoolers. Each project submission includes an artist statement in order to share that student’s creative process and their personal interpretation or reflection of the chosen book. All public and private schools are able to participate with the guidance of a teacher, media specialist or homeschool leader.

Join the Battle of the Books channel on our Teen Discord server to chat about this year's books and share your project progress.

High School Battle of the Books All Titles and Formats

Watch our Book Buzz videos about each book title and learn tips for submitting your project.


Final Project Guidelines

Projects are due Wednesday, January 31. Examples of a final project include (but are not limited to):

  • A written work: A short story, essay, poem, blog, script
  • An image: A painting, drawing, photograph, graphic
  • Audio: A song, book talk, podcast
  • Video: A dance, theatrical scene, performance piece, monologue  (The participating student should be the only person in the video due to permissions)

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.

About the Battles

The High School Battle has two tiers beginning February 2024

  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 (PDF) 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 T-shirt. Winners are announced on or before March 1.

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