Battle of the Books


Battle of the Books challenges students grades four through six to become familiar with literature. Comprehension and retention are put to the test in a Jeopardy-style battle. Area schools create their own teams and gather at the library to compete in a five week battle on questions derived from twenty selected books. Battle books are chosen by Eisenhower librarians, Battle Coaches, and participating students.

If you are a student in grade four through six and would like to participate in Battle of the Books, please see your school’s Battle Coach to sign up. Need help contacting your coach? Call Kids World at 708-867-2298.

The 2023-2024 Battle Schedule

  • Practice Battle: Wednesday, January 24,  2024 at 4pm
  • Battle 1: Wednesday, January 31, 2024 at 4pm
  • Battle 2: Wednesday, February 7, 2024 at 4pm
  • Battle 3: Wednesday, February 14, 2024 at 4pm
  • Battle 4: Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024 at 4pm
  • Battle 5: Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024 at 4pm
  • Battle of the Books Award Ceremony: Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at 4pm

The above dates are scheduled to be held in-person at Eisenhower Public Library District. Your school coach may have additional times for team practices. Please see your coach for information on those.

Watch this page or the Kids World Blog for updated notices and posts regarding the Battle season.

Reading Requirements

Each member of the team must read the minimum number of books based on their grade level to participate in Battle. There are 20 books on the list, so team members are encouraged to read more than the minimum.

  • 4th Grade = six books minimum
  • 5th Grade = seven books minimum
  • 6th Grade = eight books minimum

2023-2024 Books


Returning Titles

Holes by Louis Sachar book cover

Holes by Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnat’s family has a history of bad luck, so he isn’t too surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a boys’ juvenile detention center, Camp Green Lake. There is no lake – it has been dry for over a hundred years – and it’s hardly a camp. As punishment, the boys must each dig a hole a day, five feet deep, five feet across, in the hard earth of the dried-up lake bed. The warden claims that this pointless labor builds character, but she is really using the boys to dig for loot buried by the Wild West outlaw Kissin’ Kate Barlow. The story of Kissin’ Kate, and of a curse put on Stanley’s great-great-grandfather by a one-legged gypsy, weaves a narrative puzzle that tangles and untangles, until it becomes clear that the hand of fate has been at work in the lives of the characters – and their forebears – for generations.

Book Cover for Button Pusher

Button Pusher by Tyler Page
Tyler’s brain is different. Unlike his friends, he has a hard time paying attention in class. He acts out in goofy, over-the-top ways. Sometimes, he even does dangerous things–like cut up a bus seat with a pocketknife or hang out of an attic window. To the adults in his life, Tyler seems like a troublemaker. But he knows that he’s not. Tyler is curious and creative. He’s the best artist in his grade, and when he can focus, he gets great grades. He doesn’t want to cause trouble, but sometimes he just feels like he can’t control himself. Graphic Novel.

book cover for Signs of Survival

Signs of Survival: A Memoir of the Holocaust by Renée Hartman
I was ten years old then, and my sister was eight. The responsibility was on me to warn everyone when the soldiers were coming because my sister and both my parents were deaf.

I was my family’s ears.

Meet Renee and Herta, two sisters who faced the unimaginable — together. This is their true story.

As Jews living in 1940s Czechoslovakia, Renee, Herta, and their parents were in immediate danger when the Holocaust came to their door. As the only hearing person in her family, Renee had to alert her parents and sister whenever the sound of Nazi boots approached their home so they could hide.

But soon their parents were tragically taken away, and the two sisters went on the run, desperate to find a safe place to hide. Eventually they, too, would be captured and taken to the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. Communicating in sign language and relying on each other for strength in the midst of illness, death, and starvation, Renee and Herta would have to fight to survive the darkest of times.

book cover for pawcasso

Pawcasso by Remy Lai
Every Saturday, Pawcasso trots into town with a basket, a shopping list, and cash in paw to buy groceries for his family. One day, he passes eleven-year-old Jo, peering out the window of her house, bored and lonely. Astonished by the sight of an adorable basket-toting dog on his own, Jo follows Pawcasso, and when she’s seen alongside him by a group of kids from her school, they mistake her for Pawcasso’s owner. Excited to make new friends, Jo reluctantly hides the truth and agrees to let “her” dog model for an art class the kids attend. What could go wrong? But what starts as a Chihuahua-sized lie quickly grows Great Dane-sized when animal control receives complaints about a dog roaming the streets off-leash. With Pawcasso’s freedom at stake, is Jo willing to spill the truth and risk her new friendships? Graphic Novel.

Kids Choice

The Dragonet Prophecy

The Dragonet Prophecy by Tui T. Sutherland
The seven dragon tribes have been at war for generations, locked in an endless battle over an ancient, lost treasure. A secret movement called the Talons of Peace is determined to bring an end to the fighting, with the help of a prophecy — a foretelling that calls for great sacrifice. Five dragonets are collected to fulfill the prophecy, raised in a hidden cave and enlisted, against their will, to end the terrible war. But not every dragonet wants a destiny. And when the select five escape their underground captors to look for their original homes, what has been unleashed on the dragon world may be far more than the revolutionary planners intended… (The original chapter book version)

Librarian and Coach’s Choices

Book cover for Amelia Six

The Amelia Six by Kristin L. Gray
Eleven-year-old Millie and five other girls, snowed in at Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison, Kansas, are on a scavenger hunt when the lights go out and Amelia’s aviator goggles go missing.

Book cover for Hilde on the Record: Memoir of a Kid Crime Reporter

Hilde on the Record: Memoir of a Kid Crime Reporter by Hilde Lysiak
Young crime reporter Hilde Lysiak shares, for the first time, how she started her own newspaper, the Orange Street News, and how she was able to not only survive the ups and downs of her youth but emerge from it all with a renewed sense of purpose and confidence

Book cover for the graphic novel Hoops

Hoops by Matt Tavares
A work of fiction inspired by a true story. It is 1975 in Indiana, and the Wilkins Regional High School girls’ basketball team is in their rookie season. Despite being undefeated, they practice at night in the elementary school and play to empty bleachers. Unlike the boys’ team, the Lady Bears have no buses to deliver them to away games and no uniforms, much less a laundry service. They make their own uniforms out of T-shirts and electrical tape. And with help from a committed female coach, they push through to improbable victory after improbable victory. Illustrated in full color, this story about the ongoing battle of women striving for equality in sports rings with honesty, bravery, and heart. Graphic Novel.

Book cover for Mr. Lemoncello's Very First Game

Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game by Chris Grabenstein
Go back to the start and meet thirteen-year-old, puzzle-obsessed Luigi Lemoncello! Luigi has a knack for games and puzzles. But sometimes it feels like the cards are stacked against him. Until a carnival arrives in town and Luigi gets the chance of a lifetime, the opportunity to work for the world famous Professor Marvelmous, a dazzling, banana-hat-wearing barker who puts the show in showman. When the carnival closes, Professor Marvelmous leaves behind a mysterious puzzle box along with a clue. A clue that will lead Luigi and his friends on a fantastical treasure hunt to a prize beyond anything they could imagine, if they can find it! Can Luigi crack the codes and unlock the box’s secrets?

Book cover for The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
Told that they will have to move out of their Harlem brownstone just after Christmas, the five Vanderbeeker children, ages four to twelve, decide to change their reclusive landlord’s mind.

Book cover for: The Windeby Puzzle

The Windeby Puzzle by Lois Lowry
Told in two voices, two outcasts in an Iron Age village befriend each other, as disabled, orphaned Varick helps Estrild train in pursuit of her dream of becoming the first female warrior. The friendship that ensues is carried out to a heartrending ending that provides one interpretation for the very real preserved Windeby bog body that was discovered in 1952.

Book cover for Best Wishes

Best Wishes by Sarah Mlynowski
After her best friend ditches her, fifth-grader Becca, feeling devastated and alone, yearns for people to like her, so when a magical bracelet grants her wish to have loads of friends, she soon discovers having a dream come true is not as simple as it seems.

Book cover for Hands

Hands by Torrey Maldonado
Twelve-year-old Trevor has an adult problem to deal with: how to protect himself, his sisters, and his mother from his abusive stepfather (currently in prison) and he thinks the way to do that is to take up boxing–although he would really rather draw.

Book cover for Ground

Grounded by Aisha Saeed, Huda Al-Marashi, Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, & S.K. Ali
Told in alternating points of view, at Hurston Airport, four unlikely kids’ lives are changed forever when their flight is grounded by weather following a Muslim convention.

Book cover for: The Highland Falcon Thief

The Highland Falcon Thief by M.G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman
Harrison Beck is reluctantly joining his travel-writer Uncle Nat for the last journey of the royal train, The Highland Falcon. But as the train makes its way to Scotland, a priceless brooch goes missing, and things suddenly get a lot more interesting. As suspicions and accusations run high among the passengers, Harrison begins to investigate and uncovers a few surprises along the way. Can he solve the mystery of the jewel thief and catch the culprit before they reach the end of the line?

book cover for High Score

High Score by Destiny Howell
Oceans 11 goes to the arcade in this wildly entertaining heist adventure. We do this my way. No one gets hurt. And if I call it off, it’s off. Got it? My name’s Darius James–but everyone calls me DJ. At my old school, I was the go-to guy for all kinds of tricky problems that needed creative solutions. But at my new school, Ella Fitzgerald Middle, I’m just trying to blend in. Well, I was, anyway, until my best friend, Conor, got himself transferred to the Fitz too. Now Conor owes 100,000 arcade tickets to the biggest bully around–and he only has two weeks to make it happen. Impossible? Not with my head in the game.

Book cover for: How to Heal a Gryphon

How to Heal a Gryphon by Meg Cannistra
With her thirteenth birthday just around the corner, Giada Bellantuono has to make a big decision: Will she join the family business and become a healer or follow her dreams? But even though she knows her calling is to heal vulnerable animals, using her powers to treat magical creatures is decidedly not allowed. When a group of witches kidnaps her beloved older brother, Rocco, and her parents are away, Giada is the only person left who can rescue him. Swept into the magical underground city of Malafi, Giada will need the help of her new companions to save her brother–or risk losing him forever.

Book cover for: The Hunted

The Deadlands: Hunted by Skye Melk-Wegner
An unlikely group of dinosaur misfits discover a deadly secret and must band together to save their herbivore kingdoms from doom at the hands of ruthless carnivores.

Book cover for: I can make this promise

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day
When twelve-year-old Edie finds letters and photographs in her attic that change everything she thought she knew about her Native American mother’s adoption, she realizes she has a lot to learn about her family’s history and her own identity

book cover for: The Unforgettable Logan Foster

The Unforgettable Logan Foster by Shawn Peters
Logan, an undersized twelve-year-old orphan with a photographic memory and no filter, discovers that his foster parents are superheroes in grave danger and only Logan’s highly logical mind can save them.