Battle of the Books!

The Battle of the Books is a reading competition among the middle schools of Williamson County Schools.  To participate, students read the 8 books on the list below and take the qualifying test the 2nd week of December.  The 6 students with the highest scores on the qualifying test make up the Battle of the Books team, along with 1-2 alternates.  The competition this year is Tuesday, March 7th, at Woodland Middle School from 4:30-7:00 p.m.  For more details contact Mrs. Caudle at  Team members should periodically check the Battle of the Books Google Classroom for study questions, announcements, and any other relevant information.  The class code is roopfo.

WCS Middle School Battle of the Books 2016-2017 Titles

  • The Crossover; Alexander, Kwame. Grades 4-8.  Lexile 750

Told in free verse and raps, the book follows Josh as his relationship with JB is strained by a new girl at school, and the boys’ father’s health is in decline. The poems mix basketball action with vocabulary-themed poems, newspaper clippings, and Josh’s first-person accounts that swing from moments of triumph to pain.  Watch the trailer here.

  • The Inventor’s Secret; Cremer, Andrea. Grades 7 & up.

In this steampunk world, the British have won the Revolutionary War. Deep in the forest lives 16-year-old Charlotte and her older brother, Ash, who is the leader of a group of children of revolutionaries, who will move to the front at age 18. Coming in and out of their hiding place is handsome Jack, from high society, but who is a revolutionary at heart, and newcomer Grave, saved from the steel Rotpots by Charlotte, but with no memory of his past.

  • A Bird on Water Street; Dulemba, Elizabeth.  Grades 5 – 8.  Lexile 760

Taking place in the 1980s, 13-year-old Jack lives in the Coppertown, a desolate place ravaged by a century of mining. Jack has no desire to work in the mines that have already claimed the lives of 2 of relatives. When many of the local mine workers are laid off, the remaining miners organize a strike. As the shutdown continues into the spring, until the company eventually announces that it is closing the mine down for good.  A hopeless situation is made tolerable as the families come together to find other work opportunities and enjoy the strange sensation of seeing bugs and birds again.

  • Under the Egg; Fitzgerald, Laura Marx.  Grades 4 – 7.  Lexile 790

Theodora Tenpenny recounts what happened 3 months ago as she was collecting trash from the city streets and turning it into useful objects:  She found her grandfather, Jack, lying bloodied on a city street and heard his dying exhortation to “Look under the egg.” Theodora, who has spent her life living with her emotionally incapacitated mother and her crusty, artistic, capable grandfather, knows she must follow this clue in order to become the family’s next breadwinner. Fortunately, Theodora befriends Bodhi, a member of a family of Hollywood celebrities. whose skills in acting and in technology combined with Theodora’s art history knowledge, enable the girls to puzzle out the importance of Jack’s final words.  Watch the book trailer here.

  • Space Case; Gibbs, Stuart. Grades 4 – 7.  Lexile 750

The year is 2040. Dash, his sister, and their scientist parents are inaugural inhabitants of Moon Base Alpha (MBA), Earth’s extraterrestrial colony. Housing only a few dozen people and governed by a strict commander, MBA is not exactly fun for a 12-year-old boy. However, when one of MBA’s scientists dies suspiciously and a supply ship brings new residents (including a girl his age), life in space becomes much more intriguing.  Watch the trailer here.

  • The Port Chicago 50; Sheinkin, Steve  Grades 7 & up.   Lexile 950

In the summer of 1944, 50 African American sailors were tried and convicted of mutiny by the U.S. Navy for refusing to follow a direct order of loading dangerous rockets and munitions after an enormous explosion had killed more than 300 of their fellow sailors and other civilians working on the dock. At the heart of this story is the rampant racism that permeated the military at all levels, leaving minority sailors and soldiers to do the drudge work while their white counterparts served on the front lines.  You can watch the trailer here.

  • Beneath; Smith, Roland.  Grades 6 – 9.  Lexile 610
  • Pat and Coop were always close. Coop even let Pat help with his secret tunnel project under Washington, DC. But after an accidental gas explosion, Coop runs away. One year later, Pat receives a package with a recorder and a message that leads him on a mission to find and rescue his old friend. Avid lovers of adventure fiction will enjoy this quick read.
  • The Thickety; White, J.A.  Grades 5 – 8.  Lexile 730

When just a child, Kara was accused of witchcraft and forced to watch her mother executed for the same crime. Ever after, she and her family have lived in their isolated theocratic community as pariahs. Now 12, Kara tries to hold everything together for her sickly brother. It all starts to unravel when she’s summoned to the deep wood, called Thickety, where she finds a dangerous grimoire that awakens her magical abilities. But her magic comes with a price, and soon she’s not the only one trying to harness its addictive spells.  You can watch the trailer here.