The Battle of the Books is a popular program at CPES where students read books, discuss those books, and then compete on teams to see who has the most knowledge about their chosen book. It's a long-held tradition at CPES and a bunch of fun! If you want to encourage your 4th, 5th, or 6th grader in their reading, this is a great way to do it!
If you want to read some excellent middle-grade books yourself, please consider joining the Battle planning team. This fall, parent help is needed with leading a weekly book club for a chosen book from the Battle list. The students will decide which Tuesday the book will be discussed and you'll come to the library that particular Tuesday at 8:00 a.m., to lead the discussion. Assistance is also needed in writing Battle questions from the comfort of your home ("In which book did a small green “zombie” wait in a closet for his friend to return?"). In the spring, more volunteers will be needed for Battle practices and the big event. If you'd like to volunteer, please email our school librarian, Mrs. Brinkhuis.
Below is the book list for 2019-2020 Battle of the Books! Pick one (or more!) that looks good to you, read it when your child does and have your own book discussions at home, too. And please consider lending your support to this awesome program! If you'd like to see the Battle of the Books list from 2018-2019, please click here.
2019-2020 Battle Books
Nothing but Trouble / Davies
Maggie's small town just can’t keep up with her big scientific ideas. Between her stuck-in-a-rut mom, her grumpy grandpop, and the lifetime supply of sludgy soda in the fridge, it's hard for Maggie to imagine a change.
But when Lena moves in with her creative spirit and outrageous perspective, middle school takes off with a bang. Someone starts pulling the kind of pranks that send their rule-loving new principal into an uproar--complete with purple puffs of smoke, parachuting mice, and a scavenger hunt that leads to secret passageways.
Harbor Me / Woodson
In sixth grade, Haley is part of a special class of six kids that include Holly, Esteban, Amari, Tiago, and Ashton. On the first Friday of the school year, Ms. Laverne tells them to grab their books and follow her. She leads them to what used to be the art room and gives them some simple directions. They are supposed to sit in a circle and talk. Through their conversations each child eventually unveils that joys and struggles of their lives and they grow to hold each other in a safe harbor. Woodson's spare, lyrical, and evocative prose carries the story seamlessly, weaving in themes of justice and family, friendship and courage.
Miscalculations of Lightning Girl / McAnulty
Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn't remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she's technically ready for college. She just has to pass 1 more test--middle school!
Lucy's grandma insists- Go to middle school for 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. And read 1 book (that's not a math textbook!). Lucy's not sure what a girl who does calculus homework for fun can possibly learn in 7th grade. She has everything she needs at home, where nobody can make fun of her rigid routines or her superpowered brain. The equation of Lucy's life has already been solved. Unless there's been a miscalculation?
Saving Winslow / Creech
Louie doesn't have the best luck when it comes to nurturing small creatures. So when his father brings home a sickly newborn mini donkey, he's determined to save him. He names him Winslow. Taking care of him helps Louie feel closer to his brother, Gus, who is far, far away in the army.
Everyone worries that Winslow won't survive, especially Louie's quirky new friend, Nora, who has experienced loss of her own. But as Louie's bond with Winslow grows, surprising and life-altering events prove that this fragile donkey is stronger than anyone could have imagined.
The World Below / King
Mr. Baker's eighth grade class thought they were in for a normal field trip to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. But when an earthquake hits, their field trip takes a terrifying turn. The students are plunged into an underground lake...and their teacher goes missing.
They have no choice but to try and make their way back above ground, even though no one can agree on the best course of action. The darkness brings out everyone's true self. Supplies dwindle and tensions mount.
Arlo Finch / August
When Arlo Finch moves to Pine Mountain, Colorado, he has no idea what's in store for him in this tiny town full of mystery and magic. When he joins the Rangers, Pine Mountain's version of the Boy Scouts, it leads him into adventures he never thought possible. Wilderness and magical powers collide throughout the beautiful, dense forest surrounding his new home, and as Arlo begins to learn the way of the Rangers, he also discovers courage, strength, and a destiny he never knew he possessed.
Charlie & Frog / Kane
Charlie Tickler knows that his parents care for endangered animals and sometimes forget about him. This summer they take a trip to South Africa (moles need their help!) and leave him with his tv-obsessed grandparents in Castle-on-the-Hudson, an isolated town with a large deaf community. Yet, Charlie's lonely summer transforms into one of excitement and belonging after Aggie, an old lady he meets at the library, goes missing. His investigation leads him to Frog a spirited deaf girl who dreams of becoming a detective and the two team up to crack the mystery of Aggie's disappearance.
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus / Bowling
Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she'll have to answer the question over and over again.
Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined.
New Kid / Croft
Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds--and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?
Storm Runner / JC Cervantes
Zane Obispo has a pretty sweet life: a mom who loves him; his fun, wrestling-loving Uncle Hondo; eccentric, caring neighbors; a loyal dog; and his very own backyard volcano. The downside is he'll be starting a new school, where he knows kids will make fun of his limp and his cane. When Zane and his dog Rosie discover a secret entrance to the volcano, Zane has no idea they've just put an ancient prophecy into motion, one that features him as a main player. Zane learns that there is more truth to the myths in his Mayan book than he ever imagined and that his father—whom he has never know—is also a major part of the prophecy.
Sweep / Auxier
It's been five years since the Sweep disappeared. Orphaned and alone, Nan Sparrow had no other choice but to work for a ruthless chimney sweep named Wilkie Crudd. She spends her days sweeping out chimneys. The job is dangerous and thankless, but with her wits and will, Nan has managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again.
When Nan gets stuck in a chimney fire, she fears the end has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself unharmed in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature--a golem--made from soot and ash.