I got this email a while back from Yumiko Kaigawa of Ritsumeikan University in Japan, where the BiblioBattle concept was developed. (Refresher: My book, Birth Day, finished third in the 2011 BiblioBattle in Tokyo. More on that here.)
“Thank you for introducing BiblioBattle! I hope there will be an opportunity in the US to have and enjoy BiblioBattle, anyone, anywhere. It’s a good for a reading and cultural exchange.”
I think that would be a great idea! BiblioBattle is a straightforward book-vs-book contest, in which contestants have five minutes to talk up the merits of a book they particularly love. A three-minute audience discussion of each book follows, and at the end everyone votes for the “champ-bon,” or champion book. There’s a concise, one minute YouTube video that describes the process. As an example of how the presentations look in Japan, you can view Mina Mizuhara’s Birth Day presentation at the Tokyo finals here. (It helps if you can speak Japanese, but you’ll get the gist of it regardless.)
I think this could be a great way to drum up reading interest in our sometimes book-averse U.S. students. The Japanese BiblioBattle has the feel of a polite poetry slam, and it could be developed along those lines in the U.S.
So, any teachers out there? Does this kind of program already exist in the U.S.? Want to give it a try at your school? Please let me know what you think.