Battle of the Books

Overview

For over twenty-five years, the Paulding County Carnegie Library (PCCL) has sponsored and coordinated a county-wide reading competition called Battle of the Books. Fifth and sixth grade teams made up of up to six students, read fifty books and are then quizzed during a competition first at the school level and then at the county level for the championship. Each school library receives up to twenty-five new books each year. Thanks to the generous donations from Lafarge Corp and area professionals, the cost of the books is covered as well as t-shirts and medals Schools participating have included: Antwerp Elementary, Divine Mercy Catholic School, Grover Hill Elementary, Oakwood Elementary, Payne Elementary, and Paulding Elementary. Home-schooled students have also formed winning teams.  

 

Objectives of the Battle of the Books

  1. Promote leisure reading
  2. Provide an opportunity for students to read books about a variety of subjects
  3. Prepare students with the skills to help them critique and appreciate good literature
  4. Develop reading comprehension and retention
  5. Enhance feeling of accomplishment through literary competition

 

Selection of books for the Battle of the Books

The staff of the PCCL system compiles a reading list each year for the Battle of the Books competition.  There are fifty titles on the list that vary from easy to more difficult within the 5th and 6th grade reading level. The books chosen to be included on the Battle of the Books list are not picked at random, but are selected through a very lengthy process. Staff members read the books and compile questions for the competition. The following criteria may be utilized when selecting titles:

  • Literary contribution for both fiction and non-fiction books
  • Popular authors
  • Favorable reviewed works from such publications as:  Horn Book, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews
  • Award-winning titles (Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Notable Books, Batchelder, etc.)
  • Recommendations from teachers, students, parents
  • Historically important titles

 

Where are the books for the competition housed?

All titles on the list are available at the main library in Paulding and all branches as well as the Bookmobile. All of the titles are also purchased for each school library through grant money made available by Lafarge Corporation.  A complete book list is given to each school for distribution.  The list is also available on the library website and at all branch locations, including the Bookmobile.    

How does the competition work?

Preliminary competitions are held at each school in the spring and conducted by staff members of the PCCL.  The team with the most points in the final round of the school advances to the county finals, usually held in April or May.   Those teams competing in the county finals receive t-shirts and a number of awards and prizes.     Each book on the Battle of the Books list has been read by a library staff member who compiled ten questions for that book. There are 50 books on the list, so there are a possible 500 questions that could be asked. The competition consists of a series of 20 randomly chosen questions asked alternately between two teams.   Each team has an opportunity to confer with team members. The captain then provides the answer within the 30-second allotted time period. Two points are given for each correct answer. A bonus point is given if the team is able to give the author’s last name.   The questions go back and forth until the 20 questions are asked. In the county finals, the teams compete in the semi-finals first. The team with the most points continues to advance on until there are two teams left. Those two teams battle in the finals to be the champions of Battle of the Books!     The winning school receives a trophy. But, better than the trophy are the “bragging rights” that go to the winner of the Battle of the Books! For more information regarding the Battle, contact Sara Molitor, head of youth services, at 419-399-2032.    Rules for Battle of the Books are subject to change or revision.

 

Paulding County Carnegie Library Youth Services

2017-2018 BATTLE OF THE BOOKS TITLES

 

  1. Appleblossom the Possum, by Holly Goldberg Sloan. 2015*

Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out!  

  1. Armstrong and Charlie, by Steven B. Frank. 2017

Charlie isn’t looking forward to sixth grade. If he starts sixth grade, chances are he’ll finish it. And when he does, he’ll grow older than the brother he recently lost. Armstrong isn’t looking forward to sixth grade, either. When his parents sign him up for Opportunity Busing to a white school in the Hollywood Hills, all he wants to know is “What time in the morning will my alarm clock have the opportunity to ring?” When these two land at the same desk, it’s the Rules Boy next to the Rebel, a boy who lost a brother elbow-to-elbow with a boy who longs for one. From September to June, arms will wrestle, fists will fly, and bottles will spin. There’ll be Ho Hos spiked with hot sauce, sleepovers, boy talk about girls, and a little guidance from the stars. Set in Los Angeles in the 1970s, Armstrong and Charlie is the hilarious, heartwarming tale of two boys from opposite worlds, Different, yet the same.  

  1. Audacity Jones to the Rescue, by Kirby Larson. 2016*

Audacity Jones is an eleven-year-old orphan who aches for adventure, a challenge to break up the monotony of her life at Miss Maisie’s School for Wayward Girls. Life as a wayward girl isn’t so bad; Audie has the best of friends, a clever cat companion, and plenty of books to read. Still, she longs for some excitement, like the characters in the novels she so loves encounter. So when the mysterious Commodore Crutchfield visits the school and whisks Audie off to Washington, DC, she knows she’s in for the journey of a lifetime. But soon, it becomes clear that the Commodore has unsavory plans for Audie — plans that involve the president of the United States and a sinister kidnapping plot. Before she knows it, Audie winds up in the White House kitchens, where she’s determined to stop the Commodore dead in his tracks. Can Audie save the day before it’s too late?  

  1. Beetle Boy, by M.G. Leonard. 2016*

Darkus Cuttle’s dad mysteriously goes missing from his job as Director of Science at the Natural History Museum. Vanished without a trace! From a locked room! So Darkus moves in with his eccentric Uncle Max and next door to Humphrey and Pickering, two lunatic cousins with an enormous beetle infestation. Darkus soon discovers that the beetles are anything but ordinary. They’re an amazing, intelligent, super species and they’re in danger of being exterminated. It’s up to Darkus and his friends to save the beetles. But they’re up against an even more terrifying villain — mad scientist of fashion, haute couture villainess Lucretia Cutter. Lucretia has an alarming interest in insects and dastardly plans for the bugs. She won’t let anyone or anything stop her, including Darkus’s dad, who she has locked up in her dungeons! The beetles and kids join forces to rescue Mr. Cuttle and thwart Lucretia.  

  1. The Big Dark, by Rodman Philbrick. 2016*

What would you do if every spark of electricity suddenly vanished, as if somebody had flipped a switch on the entire planet? Cars won’t start, the heat shuts off, there’s no water in your faucet, and your radio, TV, and flashlight go dark. Everyone in Charlie’s small town is baffled. But as time passes, lawlessness erupts and takes an ugly turn. When the market and pharmacy are torched by an anti-Semitic arsonist, Charlie realizes his mother will die without her medicine. So he dons skis and heads off alone, seeking the nearest hospital. After traveling 50 miles through brutal ice and snow, Charlie encounters a burned-out, looted city of terrified citizens. Will he be able to save his mom?  

  1. The Bolds, by Julian Clary. 2016*

The Bold family seems fairly normal: they live in a nice house, the parents have good jobs, and they all love to have fun. One slight difference: they’re hyenas. That’s right—they’re covered in fur, have tails tucked into their clothes, and really, really like to laugh. For years, the Bolds have kept their true identities under wraps. But now the neighbors are getting suspicious, and the Bolds are getting homesick. During a trip to the local wildlife park, they meet an old hyena who is going to be put down, and the Bolds have to act fast to save him—without revealing their secret!  

  1. Book Scavenger, by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. 2016*

For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game. Racing against time, Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold’s new game―before those who attacked Griswold come after them too.  

  1. Class Dismissed, by Allan Woodrow. 2015*

Class 507 is the worst class Ms. Bryce has ever taught. And she would know — she’s been teaching forever. They are so terrible that when a science experiment goes disastrously wrong (again), Ms. Bryce has had it and quits in the middle of the lesson. But through a mix-up, the school office never finds out. Which means…Class 507 is teacher-free! The class figures if they don’t tell anyone, it’ll be one big holiday. Kyle and his friends can play games all day. Samantha decides she’ll read magazines and give everyone (much needed) fashion advice. Adam can doodle everywhere without getting in trouble. Eric will be able to write stories with no one bothering him. And Maggie… well, as the smartest kid in the class she has an ambitious plan for this epic opportunity. But can Class 507 keep the principal, the rest of the students, and their parents from finding out… or will the greatest school year ever turn into the worst disaster in school history?  

  1. A Clatter of Jar, Lisa Graff. 2016*

In this magical companion to the National Book Award nominee A Tangle of Knots, it’s summertime and everyone is heading off to camp. For Talented kids, the place to be is Camp Atropos, where they can sing songs by the campfire, practice for the Talent show, and take some nice long dips in the lake. But what the kids don’t know is that they’ve been gathered for a reason—one that the camp’s director wants to keep hidden at all costs. Meanwhile, a Talent jar that has been dropped to the bottom of the lake has sprung a leak, and strange things have begun to happen. Dozens of seemingly empty jars have been washing up on the shoreline, Talents have been swapped, and memories have been ripped from one camper’s head and placed into another. And no one knows why.  

  1. The Drum of Destiny, Chris Stevenson. 2016

The year is 1775 and twelve-year-old Gabriel Cooper is an orphaned patriot stuck living in a house of loyalists. But when the boy discovers a discarded drum in the East River, he sees it as a call to leave his home in New York and join in the fight for freedom in Boston. With rich, historic details, Gabriel’s adventure will captivate readers as they join the boy on the difficult journey to his destiny.  

  1. Eliza Bing is (Not) a Big Fat Quitter, by Carmella Van Vleet. 2014

In this uplifting debut novel about determination and the rewards of hard work, a preteen girl struggling with ADHD must stick with a summer taekwondo class to prove that she’s dedicated enough to pursue her true passion of cake decorating. Eliza has had many hobbies in her eleven years, and most of them haven’t lasted very long. After she and her friend Tony create a baking business for a class project, Eliza is certain that cake decorating is her destiny. Her parents insist that the summer “Cakes with Caroline” class is too expensive, given Eliza’s history of quickly losing interest in things. Desperate to show them that she can be diligent, she volunteers to take her brother’s unwanted spot in a taekwondo class. At first, Eliza has absolutely no interest in martial arts, and taekwondo is a huge challenge for her since she has ADHD. Eliza is tempted to drop out right away, especially when mean girl Madison shows up in class. But a true martial artist never quits. Can Eliza rise to the challenge?  

  1. Eye of The Storm: NASA , Drones and the Race to Crack the Hurricane Code, by Amy Cherrix. 2017

Ten million Americans live in hurricane danger zones, but how do we know if or when to evacuate? We must predict both when a storm will strike and how strong it will be. A daring NASA earth science mission may have finally found a way to crack this hurricane code. Dr. Scott Braun is the principal investigator for the Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel mission (HS3), which flies repurposed military drone over hurricanes so that scientists can gather data. But the stakes are high and time is running out.  

  1. Firefly Hollow, by Alison McGhee. 2015*

Firefly doesn’t merely want to fly; she wants to touch the moon. Cricket doesn’t merely want to sing about baseball, he wants to catch. When these two little creatures with big dreams wander out of Firefly Hollow, refusing to listen to their elders, they find themselves face-to-face with the one creature they were always told to stay away from…a giant. But Peter is a Miniature Giant. They’ve always been told that a Miniature Giant is nothing but a Future Giant, but this one just isn’t quite as big or as scary as the other Giants. Peter has a dream of his own, as well as memories to escape. He is overwhelmed with sadness, and a summer with his new unlikely friends Firefly and Cricket might be just what he needs. Can these friends’ dreams help them overcome the past?  

  1. The First Last Day, by Dorian Cirrone. 2016*

The magic of summer comes to life in this enchanting middle grade debut about an eleven-year-old girl who must save the future by restarting time after she realizes that her wish to relive the last day of summer may not have been such a great thing after all. What if you could get a do-over—a chance to relive a day in your life over and over again until you got it right? Would you? After finding a mysterious set of paints in her backpack, eleven-year-old Haleigh Adams paints a picture of her last day at the New Jersey shore. When she wakes up the next morning, Haleigh finds that her wish for an endless summer with her new friend Kevin has come true. At first, she’s thrilled, but Haliegh soon learns that staying in one place—and time—comes with a price. And when Haleigh realizes her parents have been keeping a secret, she is faced with a choice: do nothing and miss out on the good things that come with growing up or find the secret of the time loop she’s trapped in and face the inevitable realities of moving on.  

  1. Fish Girl, by David Wiesner. 2017

A young mermaid, called Fish Girl, in a boardwalk aquarium has a chance encounter with an ordinary girl. Their growing friendship inspires Fish Girl’s longing for freedom, independence, and a life beyond the aquarium tank. Sparkling with humor and brilliantly visualized, Fish Girl’s story will resonate with every young person facing the challenges and rewards of growing up.  

  1. The Girl who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill. 2016

An epic fantasy about a young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, who must unlock the powerful magic buried deep inside her.  

  1. The Goldfish Boy, by Lisa Thompson. 2017

Matthew Corbin suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He hasn’t been to school in weeks. His hands are cracked and bleeding from cleaning. He refuses to leave his bedroom. To pass the time, he observes his neighbors from his bedroom window, making mundane notes about their habits as they bustle about the cul-de-sac. When a toddler staying next door goes missing, it becomes apparent that Matthew was the last person to see him alive. Suddenly, Matthew finds himself at the center of a high-stakes mystery, and every one of his neighbors is a suspect.  

  1. The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend, by Sharon Robinson. 2016*

Steven Satlow is an eight-year-old boy living in Brooklyn, New York, which means he only cares about one thing-the Dodgers. Steve and his father spend hours reading the sports pages and listening to games on the radio. Aside from an occasional run-in with his teacher, life is pretty simple for Steve. But then Steve hears a rumor that an African American family is moving to his all-Jewish neighborhood. It’s 1948 and some of his neighbors are against it. His hero, Jackie Robinson, broke the color barrier in baseball the year before. Then it happens–Steve’s new neighbor is none other than Jackie Robinson! Steve is beyond excited about living two doors down from the Robinson family. He can’t wait to meet Jackie. This is going to be the best baseball season yet! How many kids ever get to become friends with their hero?  

  1. I Survived the American Revolution 1776, by Lauren Tarshis. 2017

British soldiers were everywhere. There was no escape. Nathaniel Fox never imagined he’d find himself in the middle of a blood-soaked battlefield, fighting for his life. He was only eleven years old! He’d barely paid attention to the troubles between America and England. How could he, while being worked to the bone by his cruel uncle, Uriah Storch? But when his uncle’s rage forces him to flee the only home he knows, Nate is suddenly propelled toward a thrilling and dangerous journey into the heart of the Revolutionary War. He finds himself in New York City on the brink of what will be the biggest battle yet.  

  1. Isabel Feeney Star Reporter, by Beth Fantaskey. 2016*

It is 1920s Chicago—the guns-and-gangster era of Al Capone—and it’s unusual for a girl to be selling the Tribune on the street corner. But ten-year-old Isabel Feeney is unusual . . . unusually obsessed with being a news reporter. She can’t believe her luck when she stumbles not only into a real-live murder scene, but also into her hero, the famous journalist Maude Collier. The story of how the smart, curious, loyal Isabel fights to defend the honor of her accused friend and latches on to the murder case like a dog on a pant leg makes for a winning, thoroughly entertaining middle grade mystery.  

  1. Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush, by Peter Lourie. 2017

Swept up in the Gold Rush of 1897, young Jack London headed north to strike it rich in the Klondike and discovered something more precious than gold–the seeds of the stories that would flower into his classic novels The Call of the Wild and White Fang, and timeless short stories such as “To Build a Fire.”  

  1. Jack and the Geniuses: At the Bottom of the World, by Bill Nye. 2017

In this new series opener, readers meet Jack and his foster siblings, Ava and Matt, who are orphans. But they’re not your typical kind of orphans–they’re geniuses. Well, Ava and Matt are which sometimes makes life difficult for twelve-year-old Jack. Ava speaks multiple languages and builds robots for fun, and Matt is into astronomy and a whiz at math. As for Jack, it’s hard to stand out when he’s surrounded by geniuses all the time. When the kids try to spy on Dr. Hank Witherspoon, one of the world’s leading scientists, they end up working for him in his incredible laboratory. Soon, Hank and the kids travel to Antarctica for a prestigious science competition, but they find that all is not as it seems: A fellow scientist has gone missing, and so has any trace of her research. Could someone be trying to use her findings to win the contest? It’s up to Jack, Ava, and Matt to find the missing scientist and discover who’s behind it all–before it’s too late.  

  1. Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, by Jack Gantos. 2014

Joey Pigza’s got heart, he’s got a mom who loves him, and he’s got “dud meds,” which is what he calls the Ritalin pills that are supposed to even out his wild mood swings. Sometimes Joey makes bad choices. He learns the hard way that he shouldn’t stick his finger in the pencil sharpener, or swallow his house key, or run with scissors. Joey knows, if he keeps making bad choices, he could just fall between the cracks for good. But he is determined not to let that happen.  

  1. The Last Invisible Boy, by Evan Kuhlman. 2008*

Finn Garrett is disappearing. He used to have black hair and skin-colored skin, but each day his hair gets whiter and his skin gets more transparent. It’s been happening since the day his father died, and he can’t figure out how to stop it. Before he vanishes completely, Finn is writing everything down for us, his faithful readers. His words and pictures are the memoirs of The Last Invisible Boy. At turns funny and moving, Evan Kuhlman’s first novel for children, featuring drawings by cartoonist J.P. Coovert, is a magnificent and original tale of love and loss.  

  1. The Lotterys Plus One, by Emma Donoghue. 2017

Sumac Lottery is nine years old and the self-proclaimed “good girl” of her (VERY) large, (EXTREMELY) unruly family. And what a family the Lotterys are: four parents, children both adopted and biological, and a menagerie of pets, all living and learning together in a sprawling house called Camelottery. Then one day, the news breaks that one of their grandfathers is suffering from dementia and will be coming to live with them. And not just any grandfather; the long dormant “Grumps,” who fell out with his son so long ago that he hasn’t been part of any of their lives. Suddenly, everything changes. Sumac has to give up her room to make the newcomer feel at home. She tries to be nice, but prickly Grumps’s clearly disapproves of how the Lotterys live: whole grains, strange vegetables, rescue pets, a multicultural household… He’s worse than just tough to get along with — Grumps has got to go! But can Sumac help him find a home where he belongs?  

  1. Middle School: Escape to Australia, by James Patterson. 2017

Rafe isn’t exactly considered a winner in Hills Village Middle School to say the least, but everything’s about to change: he’s won a school-wide art competition, and the fabulous prize is getting to jet-set off to Australia for a whirlwind adventure! But Rafe soon finds that living in the Land Down Under is harder than he could’ve ever imagined–his host-siblings are anything but welcoming, the burning temperatures are torturous, and poisonous critters are ready to sting or eat him at every step. So with the help of some new misfit friends, Rafe sets out to show everyone what he does best: create utter mayhem!  

  1. Mission Mumbai: A Novel of Sacred Cows, Snakes,a nd Stolen Toilets, by Mahtab Narsimhan. 2016*

When aspiring photographer Dylan Moore is invited to join his best friend Rohit Lal on a family trip to India, he jumps at the chance to embark on an exciting journey just like their Lord of the Rings heroes, Frodo and Sam. But each boy comes to the trip with a problem: Rohit is desperate to convince his parents not to leave him behind in Mumbai to finish school, and Dylan is desperate to use his time in India to prove himself as a photographer and to avoid his parents’ constant fighting. Keeping their struggles to themselves threatens to tear the boys apart. But when disaster strikes, Dylan and Rohit realize they have to set aside their differences to navigate India safely, confront their family issues, and salvage their friendship.  

  1. Momotaro Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters, by Margaret Dilloway. 2017

Xander Miyamoto would rather do almost anything than listen to his sixth grade teacher, Mr. Stedman, drone on about weather disasters happening around the globe. When spring break begins at last, Xander plans to spend it playing computer games with his best friend, Peyton. Xander’s father briefly distracts him with a comic book about some samurai warrior that pops out of a peach pit. Xander tosses it aside, but Peyton finds it more interesting. Little does either boy know that the comic is a warning. They are about to be thrust into the biggest adventure of their lives-a journey wilder than any Xander has ever imagined, full of weird monsters even worse than Lovey. To win at this deadly serious game they will have to rely on their wits, courage, faith, and especially, each other. Maybe Xander should have listened to Mr. Stedman about the weather after all.  

  1. The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs, by Cylin Busby. 2016*

Captain Natick does not want to take a kitten on board his ship when it sets sail in 1837, but his daughter convinces him that the scrawny yellow cat will bring good luck. Onto the ship the kitten goes, and so begins the adventurous, cliff-hanging, lucky life of Jacob Tibbs. At first, Jacob’s entire world is the ship’s hold, where the sailors heave their heavy loads and long-tailed rats scurry in the darkness. But before long, Jacob’s voyage takes him above deck and onward to adventure. Along the way, Jacob will encounter loss and despair; brave thunderous storms at sea, face down a mutiny, survive on a desert island, and above all, navigate the tricky waters of shipboard life and loyalties.  

  1. The Only Girl in School , by Natalie Standiford. 2016 *

When Claire’s best friend, Bess, moves away, she becomes the only girl left in her entire school. At first, she thinks she’ll be able to deal with this — after all, the girls’ bathroom is now completely hers, so she can turn it into her own private headquarters and draw on the walls. When it comes to soccer games or sailing races, she can face off against any boy. The problem is that her other best friend, Henry, has begun to ignore her. And Webby, a super-annoying bully, won’t leave her alone. And Yucky Gilbert, the boy who has a crush on her, also won’t leave her alone.  It’s never easy being the only one — and over the course of a wacky school year, Claire is going to have to make it through challenges big and small.  The boys may think they rule the school, but when it comes to thinking on your feet, Claire’s got them outnumbered.  

  1. Otherwise Known as Possum, by Maria d. Laso. 2017

Enrolled in school after her mother’s death, Possum resolves to preserve her mother’s homeschooling lessons by proving she already knows everything, an unsuccessful endeavor complicated by her teacher’s attraction to Possum’s father.  

  1. Pax, by Sara Pennypacker. 2016*

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild. At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox. Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own.

  1. Prisoner of Ice and Snow, by Ruth Lauren. 2017

When thirteen-year-old Valor is sent to jail, she couldn’t be happier. Demidova’s prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor’s twin sister, Sasha, is serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family, and Valor is going to help her escape . . . from the inside. Never mind that no one has escaped the prison in centuries. Valor has a master plan and resources most people could only dream about. But she didn’t count on having to outsmart both the guards and her fellow prisoners. If Valor’s plan is to succeed, she’ll need to make some unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.  

  1. The Rookie Bookie, by Jon L. Wertheim. 2014*

Using the tips, truths, and stats they explore in their New York Times bestseller Scorecasting, two dads pack super sports savvy and important math and financial concepts into a fun and heartwarming first novel for kids. New kid Mitch Sloan wants to fit in, but his nerdy love of statistics and making money isn’t winning him any friends in his sports-loving town–until he finds the perfect way to attain instant popularity. But running a football betting ring at school eventually turns sour, and Mitch loses the only real friend he’s made. He’ll have to win her back by using his brainpower for good and helping the school football team achieve victory–if they’ll listen to the advice of a former bookie!  

  1. Ruby Lee and Me, by Shannon Hitchcock. 2016*

Everything’s changing for Sarah Beth Willis. After Robin’s tragic accident, everyone seems different somehow. Days on the farm aren’t the same, and the simple fun of riding a bike or playing outside can be scary. And there’s talk in town about the new sixth-grade teacher at Shady Creek. Word is spreading quickly–Mrs. Smyre is like no other teacher anyone has ever seen around these parts. She’s the first African American teacher. It’s 1969, and while black folks and white folks are cordial, having a black teacher at an all-white school is a strange new happening. For Sarah Beth, there are so many unanswered questions. What is all this talk about Freedom Riders and school integration? Why can’t she and Ruby become best friends? And who says school isn’t for anybody who wants to learn–or teach? In a world filled with uncertainty, one very special teacher shows her young students and the adults in their lives that change invites unexpected possibilities.  

  1. Short, by Holly Goldberg Sloan. 2017

Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she’ll realize how big she is inside, where it counts. She hasn’t ever thought of herself as a performer, but when the wonderful director of Oz casts her as a Munchkin, she begins to see herself in a new way. As Julia becomes friendly with the poised and wise Olive–one of the adults with dwarfism who’ve joined the production’s motley crew of Munchkins–and with her deeply artistic neighbor, Mrs. Chang, Julia’s own sense of self as an artist grows. Soon, she doesn’t want to fade into the background–and it’s a good thing, because her director has more big plans for Julia!  

  1. Skating With the Statue of Liberty, by Susan Lynn Meyer. 2017

After escaping the Germans in Nazi-occupied France, Gustave and his family have made it to America at last. But life is not easy in New York. Gustave’s clothes are all wrong, he can barely speak English, and he is worried about his best friend, Marcel, who is in danger back in France. Then there is September Rose, the most interesting girl in school, who doesn’t seem to want to be friends with him. Gustave is starting to notice that not everyone in America is treated equally, and his new country isn’t everything he’d expected. But he isn’t giving up.  

  1. Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness, by Donna Janell Bowman. 2016

William “Doc” Key had a special way with animals. Growing up enslaved in Tennessee, Doc was sent to plantations around the state to care for sick and wounded animals. When the Civil War ended and Doc was freed, he began to dream of breeding a winning racehorse. But those dreams were dashed when his colt was born weak and sickly. Although many people would have euthanized the colt, Doc nursed him back to health and named him Jim. Noticing a level of curiosity and eagerness in the horse, Doc began teaching Beautiful Jim Key first to recognize letters, then to read, write, add, subtract, and more. Doc soon took his talented horse on the road, spreading a message of patience and kindness, over cruelty, to all animals.  

  1. The Time Museum, by Matthew Loux. 2017

The internship program at the Time Museum is a little unusual. For one thing, kids as young as twelve get to apply for these prestigious summer jobs. And as for the applicant pool . . . well, these kids come from all over history. When Delia finds herself working at the Time Museum, the last thing she expects is to be sent on time-traveling adventures with an unlikely gang of kids from across the eons. From a cave-boy to a girl from the distant future, Delia’s team represents nearly all of human history! They’re going to need all their skills for the challenge they’ve got in store . . . defending the Time Museum itself!  

  1. Tornado Terror: True Tornado Survival Stories and Amazing Acts from History and Today, by Lauren Tarshis. 2017

The Tri-State Tornado of 1925 was the deadliest tornado strike in American history, tearing through three states and killing 700 people. Almost a century later, the Joplin Tornado was a mile-wide monster that nearly destroyed the heart of a vibrant city. The author of the New York Times best-selling I Survived series now brings you the vivid and true stories of two young people who survived these terrifying twisters, along with fascinating facts about tornadoes and profiles of the well-respected scientists and storm chasers who study them.  

  1. Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt. 2007

Doomed to–or blessed with–eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.  

  1. The Turn of the Tide, by Rosanne Parry. 2016*

On a beautiful day in June, the ground broke open. In Japan, you’re always prepared for an earthquake. That’s why Kai knows just what to do when the first rumbles shake the earth. But he does the exact opposite of what you’re supposed to do: He runs. And then the tsunami hits. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, Kai’s cousin Jet sets sail off the coast of Astoria, Oregon. She knows she should have checked the tide—she always checks the tide. Except this time she didn’t. When the biggest mistakes of their lives bring them together, Jet and Kai spend the summer regretting that one moment when they made the wrong decision. But there’s something about friendship that heals all wounds, and together, Jet and Kai find the one thing they never thought they’d have again—hope.  

  1. A Week Without Tuesday, by Angelica Banks. 2016*

Something is broken in the land of story. Real and imaginary worlds are colliding―putting with the help of Vivienne everything and everyone in grave peril. Tuesday and Baxterr, at the request of the Librarian, and Small venture to find the Gardener―the one person who can stop this catastrophe. On their way, they’ll meet friends and foes, and discover strengths they didn’t know they had. Will they be able to save the land of story?  

  1. What Was the Great Depression, by Janet Pascal. 2015

On October 29, 1929, life in the United States took a turn for the worst. The stock market – the system that controls money in America – plunged to a record low. But this event was only the beginning of many bad years to come. By the early 1930s, one out of three people was not working. People lost their jobs, their houses, or both and ended up in shantytowns called “Hoovervilles” named for the president at the time of the crash. By 1933, many banks had gone under. Though the U.S. has seen other times of struggle, the Great Depression remains one of the hardest and most widespread tragedies in American history.  

  1. When Jackie Saved Grand Central: The True Story of Jacqueline Kennedy’s Fight for an American Icon, by Natasha Wing. 2017

Before she was an iconic First Lady of the United States, Jackie Kennedy was a born-and-raised New Yorker. She loved everything about her city, from the natural beauty of the parks to the architectural history of the buildings. So when the owners of Grand Central wanted to build a skyscraper on top of the famous train station, Jackie knew they had to be stopped. She helped inspire thousands of people to come together and fight to protect the historic landmark. From letter-writing campaigns all the way to the Supreme Court, this little-known story celebrates winning in the face of immeasurable odds and how one person can make a big difference.  

  1. Who Was Babe Ruth?, by Joan Holub. 2012*

Babe Ruth came from a poor Baltimore family and, as a kid, he was a handful. It was at a reform school that Babe discovered his talent for baseball, and by the age of nineteen, he was on his way to becoming a sports legend. Babe was often out of shape and even more often out on the town, but he had a big heart and an even bigger swing! Kids will learn all about the Home Run King in this rag-to-riches sports biography.  

  1. Who Was Neil Armstrong?, by Roberta Edwards. 2008*

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon and, to an audience of over 450 million people, proclaimed his step a “…Giant leap for mankind.” This Eagle Scout built his own model planes as a little boy and then grew up to be a test pilot for experimental aircraft before becoming an astronaut.  

  1. Woof: A Browser and Birdie Novel, by Spencer Quinn. 2016*

There is trouble brewing in the Louisiana swamp — Bowser can smell it. Bowser is a very handsome and only slightly slobbery dog, and he can smell lots of things. Like bacon and rawhide chews and the sweat on humans when they’re lying.  Birdie Gaux, the girl Bowser lives with, also knows something is wrong. It’s not just that her Grammy’s stuffed prize marlin has been stolen. It’s the weird rumor that the marlin is linked to a missing treasure. It’s the truck that seems to be following Birdie and the bad feeling on the back of her neck.  When Birdie and Bowser start digging into the mystery, not even Bowser’s powerful sniffer can smell just how menacing the threat is.  

  1. You’re Bacon Me Crazy, by Suzanne Nelson. 2017

Tessa loves working at the trendy food truck her aunt runs in their native San Francisco. Serving yummy BLTs to her classmates after school, Tessa feels like she’s living the dream. Then the dream turns into a nightmare. Popular, arrogant Asher starts working at the truck! He can’t make a sandwich to save his life, and he’s frustratingly cute. But when the city’s big food-truck festival is canceled, the future of the truck is suddenly at stake. Can Tessa and Asher set aside their differences and work together to save the truck? And will Tessa finally admit to herself how she really feels… about Asher?  

  1. Vietnam War Heroes: 10 True Tales, by Allan Zullo. 2015*

Twenty-eight soldiers–all but five badly wounded or dead in the first few minutes of a devastating ambush–are fending off 200 North Vietnamese soldiers. US platoon leader Lieutenant Hal Fritz shouts to his comrades, “We will never give up!”  Dozens of severely wounded soldiers are trapped in a fog-shrouded outpost and under merciless attack by the enemy. No other medical helicopter pilot will dare attempt a rescue, except for Major Patrick Brady. These and other American heroes risked their lives serving their country in the Vietnam War.  

 

*Denotes title is a carryover from previous year. Twenty-five new titles have been added to this year’s battle.