4th Grade Battle of the Books
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
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 2022 through the end of March 2023, 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!
Becoming Muhammad Ali
by Patterson & Alexander
From the School Library Journal:
Before he was a household name, Cassius Clay was a kid with struggles like any other. Kwame Alexander and James Patterson join forces to vividly depict his life up to age seventeen in both prose and verse, including his childhood friends, struggles in school, the racism he faced, and his discovery of boxing. Readers will learn about Cassius' family and neighbors in Louisville, Kentucky, and how, after a thief stole his bike, Cassius began training as an amateur boxer at age twelve. Before long, he won his first Golden Gloves bout and began his transformation into the unrivaled Muhammad Ali.
Fully authorized by and written in cooperation with the Muhammad Ali estate, and vividly brought to life by Dawud Anyabwile's dynamic artwork, Becoming Muhammad Ali captures the budding charisma and youthful personality of one of the greatest sports heroes of all time.
Guided Reading Level: O
by Applegate, Katherine
In her first novel sinceThe One and Only Ivan, winner of the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.
Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.
Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?
Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.
(summary from the publisher)
Guided Reading Level: Q
Down to Earth
by Betty Culley
Ten-year-old Henry, homeschooled and fascinated by rocks, lives on the outskirts of a small town in Maine. He very much hopes that, like his father and one of his uncles, he will also have the ability to find water by dowsing, a gift said to reveal itself at his age. When a meteor blazes earthward one night, he’s the only one to see it slam into the field beside his home. The next morning, he finds the enormous, amazing meteorite but doesn’t expect the dramatic events that will follow. Wells in town begin to dry up, while water floods his family’s field and destroys their home. Is the meteorite drawing water toward itself? Who can put things right? Henry’s first-person narrative signals his scientific bent: the night after their home is inundated, he likens his father to “a nocturnal animal, awake when everyone else is asleep,” and his mother to “an animal going into hibernation, eating less and slowing down her movements to conserve energy.” From Henry, his best friend, and members of his extended family to a visiting geologist from a museum, the characters have layers of complexity that are gradually revealed as the story unfolds at its own steady pace. A captivating middle-grade novel.
Is Dowsing for Real?
Earwig & the Witch
By Diana Wynne Jones
School Library Journal (February 1, 2012):
Earwig is a most unusual girl. As a baby, she arrived at St. Morwald's Orphanage under mysterious circumstances. Since then, she has possessed a strange affinity for making the staff do exactly what she wants-from preparing her favorite meals to buying her new clothes. For this reason, Earwig goes out of her way to avoid being adopted. Then comes the fateful day Bella Yaga, accompanied by Mandrake, her sinister shape-shifting sidekick, arrives at St. Morwald's and takes Earwig to do her grunt work. Slave duty doesn't even come with magic lessons. But with the help of Thomas, a feline familiar, Earwig outsmarts the witch in a most ironic way. And before long, she has both Bella Yaga and Mandrake under her control. This appears to have been the first in a charming new series, cut short by the author's untimely passing in 2011. Earwig is a plucky, albeit bossy, heroine, and the story is packed with wit and humor. Zelinsky's illustrations enhance this imaginative tale.-Alissa J. LeMerise, Oxford Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.
Guided Reading Level: N/ Lexile 760
Trailer of the Studio Ghibli movie:
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
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
The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess
by Gauld, Tim
This the tale of a king and queen (he with white skin, she with brown) who long for a child. Their wishes come true with the help of a kind inventor and a good witch, and they end up with not one child but two: a wooden robot boy and his princess sister. There is a slight glitch as one might expect in a fairy tale-the princess turns into a log nightly and has to be woken each morning with a magical phrase. Despite this relatively minor detail, the siblings enjoy their lives until one day a dramatic turn of events sets them on an action-packed adventure, requiring them to each rescue the other on their perilous journey home. With pen drawings colored digitally, Eisner-winning Gauld's picture book debut is a story full of fairy-tale magic with timeless touches and modernity woven together seamlessly. The brilliant pacing of the story, accomplished in both illustrations and text, make this a truly delightful tale that will be enjoyed by a wide-ranging audience. With heroic beetles and delightful multiracial siblings, this is a magical offering. VERDICT Utterly charming and full of positivity, magic, and love, this is a must-have for every collection.-John Scott, Baltimore County P.S. © Copyright 2021. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc
Guided Reading Level: N
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
Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued
By Peter Sis
Sís tells the story of Nicholas Winton (1909-2015), a British citizen who helped send Czech children to England just before World War II officially broke out. In December 1938, Winton canceled a planned ski trip and joined a friend in Prague who was aiding refugees in the Sudetenland. Working from his hotel room, Winton created lists of children, took photographs, and created train schedules. He soon returned to London to work on securing visas and travel arrangements, find families to welcome the children, and handle the paperwork and bureaucracy. Vera, a young Jewish girl who was a citizen of Czechoslovakia, was one of the 669 children who were successfully brought to Great Britain through Winton's efforts. She lost all but one aunt in the war and its aftermath. Many years after World War II, Vera and some of the other children Winton helped save paid tribute to him on a television show called That's Life. Sís's illustrations combine the literal with the symbolic. Using everything from expansive spreads to miniature panels, he captures different elements from the lives of those involved. The text and the artwork demonstrate the power of one courageous individual who was determined to make a difference. VERDICT A great purchase for libraries where Sís's work is enjoyed.-Heidi Grange, Summit Elem. Sch., Smithfield, UT © Copyright 2021. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.
The Story of Sir Nicholas Winton:
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 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly—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.
Property of the Rebel Librarian
by: Varnes, Allison
To say 12-year-old June is passionate about books would be an understatement. Luckily, she has a great school librarian, Ms. Bradshaw, to feed her voracious appetite. But when her strict parents decide her latest check-out, The Makings of a Witch, is inappropriate, they start an all-out war against the freedom to read. Ms. Bradshaw is suspended, the majority of the books are removed from the school library, and students may only read from a list of approved titles. Fortunately for the students at Oakwood Middle, June is an activist in training. She starts an underground library filled with books from fellow students and the town's Little Free Library. Before she knows it, June is the most popular girl in school and reading is the coolest thing to do. This debut novel tackles the issue of censorship in a humorous and engaging way. June is a worthy and winsome heroine who is sure to charm. Every book title mentioned in the story is included in a list at the end. VERDICT This funny and fast read could be used to fuel discussions about book banning, censorship in general, and activism.-Tiffany Davis, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, NY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.
Guided Reading Level: N/ 560 Lexile Level
Saving American Beach
by King, Heidi Tyline
Guided Reading Level: Q
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
Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team
by: Hood, Susan and Sornhiran, Pathana
From the publisher:
A RICBA CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD 2021 NOMINEE!
A NATIONAL SCIENCE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION AND CHILDREN'S BOOK COUNCIL BEST STEM BOOK OF 2019!
A CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY BEST BOOK OF 2019!
A 2020 NOTABLE SOCIAL STUDIES TRADE BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE!
Don’t miss the breathtaking true story of the international rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand! This nonfiction picture book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 4 to 6. It’s a fun way to learn to read and as a supplement for activity books for children.
One afternoon, eleven-year-old Titan, his friends from the Wild Boars soccer team, and their coach rode their bikes to explore local caves. They crawled through the narrow tunnels in the dark to reach the center of the cave. When they turned to go home, heavy rains had flooded the tunnel. They were trapped!
With rising waters and monsoon season upon them, time and oxygen were running out. The world watched with bated breath as rescuers from around the globe joined forces to try to free the boys. After eighteen harrowing days, in an unprecedented effort of international teamwork, they were finally saved.
Award-winning author Susan Hood and journalist Pathana Sornhiran based this picture book on Sornhiran’s first-hand reporting of the event, and Dow Phumiruk’s beautiful illustrations bring the story to life. The book also includes a timeline and back matter with additional resources.
Guided Reading Level: J
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
by Wang, Andrea
Simple text and beautiful illustrations pack a strong emotional punch in this picture book. Based on the author's own memories of being the child of Chinese immigrants in Ohio, the story follows a young girl who is in the car with her family. They spot watercress growing in a ditch and stop to collect it for their dinner later. The girl refuses to eat it, embarrassed of how they got their food, as well as their used furniture and clothes, believing that "Free is bad." Her parents don't understand her humiliation as she doesn't understand their excitement over the meal. Words are used sparingly; the illustrations complete all that is left unsaid. The most poignant spread is when the girl's mother tells them about their uncle and how there was never enough to eat. On one page, her little brother holds up his empty bowl; on the next, his seat is empty. Readers of various ages will want to discuss the layers of miscommunication between cultures and between generations, and how to be more mindful of others' experiences. But the work is far more than a lesson. A tightly woven piece of story and watercolor art is exemplified in one spread, where the the cornfields of Ohio become the famine-stricken land of China. VERDICT A powerful story sure to awaken empathy and curiosity: Who else left behind a homeland, and at what cost?-Elissa Cooper, Helen Plum Memorial Lib., Lombard, IL © Copyright 2021. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.
Guided Reading Level: N
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
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
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
Applegate's latest fantasy is a simple but beautiful story about humans' relationship with the natural world. Orphaned Willodeen has never quite fit in with her peers. She loves all animals, but especially the widely despised screecher: a smelly creature with tusks, a snout, tails, and quills. She is happy keeping to herself until the screechers begin to disappear, mainly due to the bounty the town of Perchance has placed on them. The rest of the town is focused on the disappearance of the hummingbears, winged bears responsible for the tourist draw to Perchance. After witnessing the killing of an old screecher, Willowdeen's new friend Connor carves her one that is magically brought to life through her tears. Determined to save this last screecher, Willodeen finds the connection between the screechers and hummingbears and stands up for them at a town meeting. Red-haired Willowdeen is cued as white. Connor has brown skin. VERDICT A sweet fantasy about standing up for what you believe in. Hand to all young environmentalists.-Katharine Gatcomb, Nashua P.L., NH © Copyright 2021. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.
Guided Reading Level P/ Lexile Level 610
The Wolves Are Back
by: George, Jean Craighead
In 1995, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone Park—first time they had been part of the park’s ecosystem for many years. Although George follows one wolf’s growth from pup to adult, the emphasis here is not as much on the wolves and their habits, but on how their presence has changed the ecosystem and returned its natural balance. In just one example, the wolves drove the elk herds to seek refuge higher in the hills, causing the valley grasses to grow taller, allowing for the return of the Vesper sparrow, which uses the grasses for food and nests. George writes about each of the changes caused by the wolves’ return in simple, rhythmic, informative prose. Adding to the book’s appeal are Minor’s finely detailed illustrations, featuring spectacularly rendered animals in the foreground of the bold, western landscapes. Together the words and pictures make for a highly effective and enjoyable explanation of how the presence of one animal can profoundly affect an ecosystem.
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 2023 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?