4th Grade Battle of the Books
Wednesday, March 27, 2024
7:00-8:30 PM, South Kingstown High School Auditorium
Students will read a minimum of 10 books from a list of 24 books in order to qualify.
The annual 4th Grade Battle of the Books is a fun literacy-based event. From Fall 2023 through most of March 2024, students read a minimum of 10 from a selection of 24 books. The Battle takes place on a Wednesday evening at the end of March at the SK High School Auditorium. Participating students are divided into teams, and in a series of rounds (usually 4 rounds of 4 teams) are quizzed on details from the books by their school librarians as well as their public librarians. The event is always very exciting! This is an optional activity, but students are encouraged not to miss what many say was a highlight of their 4th grade year.
See details on the event and the books below. And, print out your own bookmark with a list of the books below as well!
by Dan Santat
241 pages (graphic novel)
Grades 4-7 interest level, Grade 2.5 Reading Level.
Ever since her father was lost at sea, Sophia has been moping around Aqualand, the marine theme park her dad and uncle created. But Sophia's world is turned upside down when an "aquanaut" breaks into the park's research lab.
To her amazement, Sophia discovers that the aquanaut is not what it seems -- inside lives a band of four goofy sea creatures! And when they all realize that Aqualand has evolved into something much darker than Sophia's dad had envisioned, Sophia is determined to help the aquanaut crew free the park's captive marine life before it's too late.
by Applegate, Katherine
Crowbar: the Smartest Bird in the World
By Jean Craighead George
A funny and amazing story based on a real-life crow from renowned naturalist and Newbery Medal-winning author Jean Craighead George, with illustrations from long-time collaborator Wendell Minor. Twig George and T. Luke George have provided up-to-date research for this stunning picture book by their mother.
A young boy finds a baby crow abandoned, cold and hungry. He takes him home, hoping to nurse him back to health. His Grandpa disapproves—he thinks that crows are pests and thieves! The boy knows that the crow he names “Crowbar” is capable of learning more than how to eat, caw, and fly. But can he prove it?
As Crowbar grows, the boy teaches him how to speak and Crowbar teaches the boy just how clever crows can be. With his innate intelligence, Crowbar will show he is smarter than anyone could imagine.
This beautiful new picture book from the author of My Side of the Mountain, Julie of the Wolves, and many other beloved books will be welcomed by young naturalists.
The Day the River Caught Fire: How the Cuyahoga River Caught Fire and Ignited Earth Day
by Dan Wittenstein
Discover the true story of how a 1969 fire in one of the most polluted rivers in America sparked the national Earth Day movement in this nonfiction picture book by award-winning author Barry Wittenstein and beloved illustrator Jessie Hartland.
After the Industrial Revolution in the 1880s, the Cayuhoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, caught fire almost twenty times, earning Cleveland the nickname “The Mistake on the Lake.” Waste dumping had made fires so routine that local politicians and media didn’t pay them any mind, and other Cleveland residents laughed off their combustible river and even wrote songs about it.
But when the river ignited again in June 1969, the national media picked up on the story and added fuel to the fire of the recent environmental movement. A year later, in 1970, President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency—leading to the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts—and the first Earth Day was celebrated. It was a celebration, it was a protest, and it was the beginning of a movement to save our planet.
The Enchanted Life of Valantina Mejia
by Alexandra Alesandri
Reading Level: Ages 8-12
Encanto meets The Chronicles of Narnia by way of Colombian folklore in this middle grade fantasy adventure. To save their father’s life, a brother and sister must journey across a land full of mythical creatures and find the most powerful and dangerous of them all: the madremonte.
Twelve-year-old Valentina wants to focus on drawing the real world around her and hopefully get into art school in Bogotá one day, but Papi has spent his life studying Colombia’s legendary creatures and searching for proof of their existence. So when Papi hears that a patasola—a vampire woman with one leg—has been sighted in the Andes, Valentina and her younger brother Julián get dragged along on another magical creature hunt.
While they’re in the Andes, a powerful earthquake hits. Valentina and Julián fall through the earth…and find an alternate Colombia where, to Valentina’s shock, all the legends are real.
To get home, Valentina and Julián must make a treacherous journey to reach this land’s ruler: the madremonte, mother and protector of the earth. She controls the only portal back to the human world—but she absolutely hates humans, and she’ll do anything to defend her land.
by Yang, Kelly
Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.
Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.
Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they've been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.
Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?
It will take all of Mia's courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?
Garlic and the Vampire
by Paulsen, Bree
From: Booklist (July 2021)
A worrywart and a klutz by nature, Garlic is one of a gardenful of fruits and vegetables brought to life by witch Agnes, proprietor of the local farmers market. When Potato spots chimney smoke coming from a nearby abandoned castle and it’s suggested that a vampire may have taken up residence there, the plants panic. Because garlic is a legendary vampire repellent, Garlic is convinced to make the trek to the castle, confront the vampire, and, if necessary, destroy it. Afraid but determined, she comes face-to-face with her foe, only to discover that this vampire may not be so bad after all. Gorgeous artwork featuring anthropomorphized plants and colors reminiscent of those used in Kate Greenaway stories make this a joy to read. The plot moves at a leisurely pace, and while the tension isn’t particularly tense, the characters are endearing, and the denouement comes together sweetly. Perfect for chapter-book readers and up, this will delight anyone wanting a light adventure heavy on friendship and self-actualization.
Guided Reading Level: N
Killer Underwear Invasion! How to Spot Fake News, Disinformation and Conspiracy Theories
By Elise Gravel
Reading Level: Grade 4/Lexile: GN500L
Gr 3 Up—Words matter, and Gravel provides a clever and humorous take on how kids need to look at the ways information and news can be miscommunicated, mismanaged, and mixed-up. The catchy title will get students talking and laughing. Gravel breaks down the truth of what is fake news, how it is given, and why people give it. Her quirky use of words and vibrant art make the information easy to understand for kids, with a cartoonish style that will draw in younger audiences. This topic is a serious one, and it can be emotional for many readers, but Gravel delivers a difficult message in a simplistic way, with humor to help readers understand. She addresses questions like, how do we know we're reading accurate information, and how do we understand what is real and not real? She equips readers with the knowledge to become media literate so they do not misunderstand information that comes from many different points of view. She gives the facts and sticks to them honestly, without bias. VERDICT A humorous, creative take on learning how the media can generate fake news and how to decipher the real from the unreal. This informational graphic work is a must read for students and educators.—Jacquetta Etheridge
The Lost Library
by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass
Grade Level 3-4
The New York Times bestselling authors of Bob, Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass, introduce readers to a little free library guarded by a cat and a boy who takes on the mystery it keeps.
When a mysterious little free library (guarded by a large orange cat) appears overnight in the small town of Martinville, eleven-year-old Evan plucks two weathered books from its shelves, never suspecting that his life is about to change.
Evan and his best friend Rafe quickly discover a link between one of the old books and a long-ago event that none of the grown-ups want to talk about. The two boys start asking questions whose answers will transform not only their own futures, but the town itself.
Told in turn by a ghost librarian named Al, an aging (but beautiful) cat named Mortimer, and Evan himself, The Lost Library is a timeless story from award-winning authors Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass. It’s about owning your truth, choosing the life you want, and the power of a good book (and, of course, the librarian who gave it to you).
Midnight at the Barclay Hotel
by: Bradley, Fleur
From the publisher:
When JJ Jacobson convinced his mom to accept a surprise invitation to an all-expenses-paid weekend getaway at the illustrious Barclay Hotel, he never imagined that he'd find himself in the midst of a murder mystery. He thought he was in for a run-of-the-mill weekend ghost hunting at the most haunted spot in town, but when he arrives at the Barclay Hotel and his mother is blamed for the hotel owner's death, he realizes his weekend is going to be anything but ordinary.
Now, with the help of his new friends, Penny and Emma, JJ has to track down a killer, clear his mother's name, and maybe even meet a ghost or two along the way.
Guided Reading Level: N
Who Were the Navajo Code Talkers?
by Buckley, James Jr.
Includes bibliographical references (page 108).;Who were the Navajo Code Talkers? -- The Navajo -- Marine boot camp -- The secret language of war -- Creating the Navajo code -- The code in action -- Code-talker life -- Iwo Jima -- Going home -- Delayed honors. "By the time the United States joined the Second World War in 1941, the fight against Nazi and Axis powers had already been under way for two years. In order to win the war and protect its soldiers, the US Marines recruited twenty-nine Navajo men to create a secret code that could be used to send military messages quickly and safely across battlefields. . . This book explains how these brave and intelligent men developed their . . . code, recounts some of their riskiest missions, and discusses how the country treated them before, during, and after the war"--Provided by publisher.
Guided Reading Level: U/ Lexile Level 960
The Lion of Mars
By: Holm, Jennifer
From the Publisher:
Blast off with New York Times bestselling and Newbery Honor-winning Jennifer L. Holm's out-of-this-world new novel about a kid raised on Mars who learns that he can't be held back by the fears of the grown-ups around him.
Bell has spent his whole life--all eleven years of it--on Mars. But he's still just a regular kid--he loves cats and any kind of cake, and is curious about the secrets the adults in the US colony are keeping. Like, why don't they have contact with anyone on the other Mars colonies? Why are they so isolated? When a virus breaks out and the grown-ups all fall ill, Bell and the other children are the only ones who can help. It's up to Bell--a regular kid in a very different world--to uncover the truth and save his family...and possibly unite an entire planet.
Mars may be a world far, far away, but in the hands of Jennifer L. Holm, beloved and bestselling author of The Fourteenth Goldfish, it can't help but feel like home.
Guided Reading Level: N
Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion
by Shannon Stocker
From School Library Journal:
Gr 36 The life of deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie dances and swirls across the page in this vibrantly illustrated picture book biography that is perfect for elementary school readers learning about music and fascinating women. Glennie's story begins in Scotland, where she can play music by ear by the age of 10. Soon thereafter, she loses her hearing, and it seems as if she will lose access to music, too. A compassionate teacher, Ron Forbes, understands that Glennie feels the music with every part of her being, and she becomes an essential musician in any percussion section. This is more than a story of overcoming discrimination due to disabilityStocker captures something about the artist's need to be herself, regardless of abilities. Glennie is making music to this day. Lush brushstrokes, delicate character portraits, and warm colors make this a beautiful title to explore, and the ample text and sweet author's note ensures that Glennie's story will have an impact on readers. VERDICT An excellent addition to biography sections, especially for musical readers looking to feel the music and not just hear it.Aryssa Damron
Listen to the Language of the Trees
by Tera Kelley
Reading Level: Grade 2
This captivating book explores the real connection and communication that runs underground between trees in the forest. The well-researched details about trees' own social network will help readers see that the natural world's survival depends on staying connected and helping others―just like us!
Parents, teachers, and gift givers will find:
The fascinating mycorrhizal fungi network runs underground through the roots of trees in the forest allowing for connection and communication. Readers will discover that trees have their own social network to help each other survive and thrive.
The Museum of Lost and Found
By Leila Sales
A warm, relatable middle-grade story about a friendship falling apart and the abandoned museum that becomes a shrine to lost connections
Vanessa isn't sure which happened first: finding the abandoned museum or losing her best friend Bailey. She doesn't know what to do with herself now that Bailey has left her behind—but when she stumbles upon an empty, forgotten museum, her purpose becomes clear. Vanessa starts filling the museum with her own artifacts and memories, hoping that perhaps, if she can find the right way to tell the story of her broken friendship, she can figure out how to make it whole again.
As Vanessa's museum grows, it seems like the place might have the answers to other questions, too. Like why a mysterious work of art was left behind. Or how to deal with a military dad who's trying to parent from thousands of miles away. Or why Vanessa's bad habit is getting harder and harder to quit. Or even, maybe, how to set the past to rest and find a way to move forward.
Moving and charming, The Museum of Lost and Found is about how we grow apart from some people as we grow up—and how sometimes we can find new pieces of ourselves in the aftermath.
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read
by Hubbard, Rita Lorraine
From the publisher:
Imagine learning to read at the age of 116! Discover the true story of Mary Walker, the nation's oldest student who did just that, in this picture book from a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator and a rising star author.
In 1848, Mary Walker was born into slavery. At age 15, she was freed, and by age 20, she was married and had her first child. By age 68, she had worked numerous jobs, including cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and selling sandwiches to raise money for her church. At 114, she was the last remaining member of her family. And at 116, she learned to read. From Rita Lorraine Hubbard and rising star Oge More comes the inspirational story of Mary Walker, a woman whose long life spanned from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, and who--with perseverance and dedication--proved that you're never too old to learn.
Out of My Mind
by: Draper, Sharon
Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she's determined to let everyone know it…somehow.
In this breakthrough story—reminiscent of —from multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winner Sharon Draper, readers will come to know a brilliant mind and a brave spirit who will change forever how they look at anyone with a disability.
The Skull: A Tyrolian Folktale
by Jon Klassen
Reading Level: Age 6-10
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* In his appended author's note, Klassen shares how he stumbled upon and reimagined the Tyrolean folktale that occupies this early chapter book's pages. He casts off the original's "Beauty and the Beast" glamour in favor of a gritty sort of moxie that results in a more rewarding friendship story. One night, young Otilla runs away from home and becomes lost in the snowy woods. Eventually, she comes upon a seemingly abandoned mansion, but when she knocks on its door, it is politely answered by a skull. Otilla takes this strangeness in stride as the skull gives her a tour of his home and invites her to stay the night, on the condition that she helps him escape the headless skeleton that tries to capture him each night. She agrees and boy does she deliver. Klassen's recognizable graphite-and-ink illustrations capture the haunting, somehow charming atmosphere of the stark Austrian setting, where shadows loom, bones come to life, and apricot sunshine cuts through the gloom. The book itself is divided into three sections, where the text is kept short but printed large and the artwork takes center stage. Is the story creepy? You bet, but it's also weirdly sweet and characterized by agency, kindness, and choice. It won't be for all readers, but for those who thrill at peering into shadows, it will shine bright.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With a Caldecott Medal, best-seller status, and a cult following to his name, Klassen's newest offering will be highly coveted.
Skunk and Badger (Book 1)
by: Timberlake, Amy
From the publisher:
Wallace and Gromit meets Winnie-the-Pooh in a fresh take on a classic odd-couple friendship, from Newbery Honor author Amy Timberlake with full-color and black-and-white illustrations throughout by Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen.
No one wants a skunk.
They are unwelcome on front stoops. They should not linger in Important Rock Rooms. Skunks should never, ever be allowed to move in. But Skunk is Badger’s new roommate, and there is nothing Badger can do about it.
When Skunk plows into Badger’s life, everything Badger knows is upended. Tails are flipped. The wrong animal is sprayed. And why-oh-why are there so many chickens?
Newbery Honor author Amy Timberlake spins the first tale in a series about two opposites who need to be friends.
New York Times bestselling author/illustrator and Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen completes the book with his signature lushly textured art. This beautifully bound edition contains both full-color plates and numerous black-and-white illustrations.
Skunk and Badger is a book you’ll want to read, reread, and read out loud . . . again and again.
Guided Reading Level: P
by: Hashimoto, Meika
Toby and his friend Lucas made a list of things to do the summer before they entered middle school, but now Lucas is gone, and Toby sets out to fulfill the promise he made to his friend, to finish the list by hiking the Appalachian Trail from Velvet Rocks to Mt. Katahdin, an undertaking that he is poorly prepared for, and which will become not only a struggle for survival, but a rescue mission for the starving and abused dog who he finds along the way.
Guided Readin Level: R/S
The Very, Very Far North
by Dan Bar-El
Interest Level 3-6/Reading Level 5.9/Lexile: 840L
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* In the Very, Very Far North, there lives a variety of Arctic creatures: C.C., the brainy snowy owl; Handsome, the vain but well-mannered musk ox; Magic, the prank-playing arctic fox; Major Puff, the militant puffin; Twitch, the, well, twitchy hare; and the character around whom the ensuing adventures revolve, Duane the polar bear. Duane's forays in friendship and explorations of his snowy home wonderfully follow in the tradition of A. A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh stories. Readers will immediately feel at home in the bear's company as he visits C.C. in her shipwreck dwelling, contemplates snacks and naps, charmingly names his surroundings (e.g., the Fabulous Beach), and befriends all who cross his path. Each chapter contains its own adventure, which imparts a lesson or insight into how to interact with others, without being heavy-handed. For instance, Duane, who loves giving bear hugs, finds an alternative gesture of affection for C.C., who doesn't like to be touched. Similarly, empathetic Twitch isn't one to "throw carrots" (judge) when Major Puff exhibits some peculiar habits. Pousett's soft pencil illustrations work in absolute harmony with the text, accomplishing the seemingly impossible task of making this book even more endearing. Gentle humor, a personable narrative voice, and some elevated vocabulary fortify the simple, character-driven adventures, which will win over young readers in a heartbeat.
by Ostertag, Molly Knox
Gr. 3-6- In thirteen-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn't shifted . . . and he's still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be. When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help -- as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.
- Publisher's Description
Guided Reading Level: S
When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie
by: Downing, Erin Soderberg
Mix together a used food truck, a road trip that doesn't exactly go as planned, and a lot of pie, and you have the recipe for this sweet middle grade series starter brimming with humor, heart, and a family you'll fall in love with. Perfect for readers who gobbled down The Penderwicks and The Vanderbeeks of 141st Street.
Sweet summer has taken a rotten turn . . .
After a tough year, Lucy, Freddy, and Herb Peach are ready for vacation. Lucy wants to read all of the books on the summer reading list. Freddy wants to work on his art projects (when he isn't stuck in summer school). Herb wants to swim every day.
Then their dad makes a big announcement: one of the inventions their mom came up with before she passed away has sold, and now they're millionaires!
But Dad has bigger plans than blowing the cash on fun stuff or investing it. He's bought a used food truck. The Peaches are going to spend the summer traveling the country selling pies. It will be the Great Peach Experiment--a summer of bonding while living out one of Mom's dreams. Summer plans, sunk. And there's one more issue Dad's neglected: none of them knows how to bake. . . .
A perfect blend of humor, heart, and family antics, When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie is a delectable treat to be gobbled down or savored slowly. (Slice of pie on the side, optional, but highly recommended.)
Guided Reading Level: Q
This will give you an idea of what the Battle of the Books is like!
Battle of the Books Fact Sheet
The Battle of the Books is a fun, literacy-based event for fourth graders that is co-sponsored by the School Library Media Specialists of the South Kingstown Public elementary schools and the Youth Services Librarians of the South Kingstown Public Library.
Who may participate?
The competition is comprised of several rounds in which a librarian asks a question to each team in turn. Team members confer with each other before answering.
Where and When is the event?
The families of the participants must provide transportation to and from the event and parents/guardians should plan to stay and enjoy this exciting evening.
How does a student qualify to participate in the 2024 SK Battle of the Books?
Who chose the books on the SK Battle of the Books list?
How may a student keep track of his/her progress in reading the books on the list?
Homeschoolers or SK residents attending schools outside of South Kingstown may report on their progress at the Peace Dale Library (the main SK Public Library).
Where can the students find the books on the list?