Questions in the Competition

What kinds of questions are asked?

For every battle EXCEPT the Readers' Celebration Round, there are 3 types of possible questions: normal questions, bonus questions, and possibly super bonus questions. Traditionally, the first 9 questions are normal questions and the last question is a bonus question. (We introduced "super bonus" questions in 2021 and may continue to use these-- we just replace one of the normal questions with a super bonus question)

"Normal" Questions (most of the questions are in this format)

Normal questions begin with “In which Battle of the Books book…?” and the answer is the title and the author(s) of the book (and illustrator if applicable).

A few examples (abbreviating Battle of the Books with B.O.B.):

Question: In which B.O.B. book did a wolf claim to have sneezed?

Correct Answer: The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by A. Wolf by Scieska and Smith

Question: In which B.O.B. book did a guy grow tomatoes to impress a girl?

Correct Answer: Seedfolks by Fleischman

Question: In which B.O.B. book does a boy feel ordinary inside?

Correct Answer: Wonder by Palacio

Bonus Questions (free response)

The last question of every battle will be a free response question. All questions in the Readers Celebration Round will be free response as well. We call these "bonus" questions.

A few examples:

Question: In the book Running Out of Time by Haddix, from what disease are the people in Jessie’s town dying?

Correct Answer: Diptheria.

Question: In the book James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, what object ends up killing James' two aunts?

Correct Answer: The peach.

Super Bonus Questions

This type of question may or may not be a part of the competition. They are a little harder to write, but we have liked throwing them in if we can. The question is in the format "Name two B.O.B. books where..." and the answer is two of the titles off this year's list. Sometimes there are more than 2 possible answers that would be considered correct, but the team will only need to name 2 of the books. (Note: no authors/illustrators will need to be named for this type of question)

A few examples:

Super Bonus: Name two B.O.B. books where a child likes to create comics.

Correct Answer: Guts and Harbor Me

Super Bonus: Name two B.O.B. books where most words in the book are written in capital letters.

Correct Answer: Guts and The Cardboard Kingdom

These questions tend to be more difficult to write because the answer should only exist in 2 or 3 of the books. But they also inspire some great discussion.

Who writes the questions?

A group of volunteers, who also serve as judges for the competition (in case any answers are contested), put together questions for the battles. They come up with WAY more questions than what are used for the battles, then together sort through them to reword and pick the highest quality questions to be used.

Teams are highly encouraged to practice writing questions for their own practice battles. It's helpful to think like a question-writer!

How do I write quality questions?

Some people like to write questions as they read, and others find this to be cumbersome. You want to enjoy reading as you go!

Questions should focus on setting, characters, conflict, events, details, and solutions.

Some questions will be easier than others. Challenging questions are great, but questions that are too obscure will be not be used. Looking at questions that people have created for other Battle of the Books competitions can be very useful for ideas. There are examples online (even on Quizlet!).

See "Rules" for some additional details on all the places in a book for which questions can be written.