Battle of the Books 2014 - The Contenders

Several coworkers had a marvelous brainstorm last year in mid March - we decided to create our our March Madness for our students with books. It was well received, and certainly got our kids even more excited about books. My colleague had this brilliant brainstorm just as March Madness was about to begin, so we didn't have a lot of lead in time. We had about a week between idea and battles. We got 4 of our 10 elementary schools involved.

This year, we decided to start earlier. We wanted to give our students the chance to read some of the books they hadn't yet read, and to do some persuasive work with their favorites. So shortly before winter break we set up a google drive form for them to nominate books. This year, we got all 10 of our elementary schools involved, since we had more time to talk it up with the other teachers. It is just the gifted students in 4th and 5th grade, since trying to do full school involvement would be .... well... darn near impossible.

The rules were simple - nominate at least 5 books but no more than 10. Some of my students were hard pressed to JUST choose 10, and some had trouble coming up with 5 that they adored. My friend Erin gathered up the results and we selected the top 32 books. It's fun to see what the kids nominate. You can see a clear difference between schools, since each of us use different novels in our small groups. My school tends even more toward fantasy than the others, since my classroom library is a bit heavy on science fiction and fantasy.

The week before winter break, we released the list. Erin made the cool infographic below, which we posted in the classrooms and shared with students (and parents). We are encouraging each student to try to read at least 2 books from the list that they haven't already read.

I had read 22 of the books already, and read 2 more over winter break. My fifth graders eagerly (and rather greedily) snatched up almost every title I had in my classroom. The fourth graders took almost all of the rest. I can't wait to see what they managed to read over break!

(the full list is also typed out below, in case you have trouble with this graphic)

The Phantom TollboothJusterFantasy
WonderPalacioRealistic Fiction
Disney After Dark (Kingdom Keepers #1)PearsonMystery
Fever, 1793AndersonHistorical Fiction
The Heroes Guide to Saving Your KingdomHealyFantasy
FoundHaddixScience Fiction
HolesSacharRealistic Fiction
The One and Only IvanApplegateFantasy
The Mysterious Benedict SocietyStewartMystery
Maniac MageeSpinelliRealistic Fiction
The HobbitTolkienFantasy
Number the StarsLowryHistorical Fiction
One Dead Spy (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales)HaleNonfiction
The CandymakersMassRealistic Fiction
The City of EmberDuPrauDystopian
The Real BoyUrsuFantasy
The Name of This Book is SecretBoschMystery
Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireRowlingFantasy
A Mango-Shaped SpaceMassRealistic Fiction
Among the HiddenHaddixDystopian
ChompHiassenRealistic Fiction
The House of Hades (Heroes of OlympusRiordanFantasy
The Westing GameRaskinMystery
The Year of ShadowsLegrandFantasy
When You Reach MeSteadScience Fiction
Game ChangersLupicaRealistic Fiction
Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsRowlingFantasy
Wolf BrotherPaverHistorical Fiction
The Strange Case of the Origami YodaAnglebergerRealistic Fiction
The Girl From Felony BayThompsonMystery
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson)RiordanFantasy
The Riddle of Penncroft FarmJensenMystery

You still have time, if you want to get your own battle going! You can even just get 16 books - or authors - or favorite characters. It's so much fun, and highly motivating! 


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