Elementary School Battle of the Books Parent Information
Thank you for your interest in the elementary school Battle of the Books! Please take a few moments to look at the 2023-2024 book list and complete the questions at the end of the form. These books are selected by the NC School Library Media Association and are used by all participating elementary schools across the state. The document linked below includes multiple reviews, if available, for each title:


We respect parental choice in the selection of reading materials for their students.  If you prefer for your student to opt out of reading a specific title, please indicate that using the optional comment box under each book image.

*Please Note: Selection/competition participation of team members may vary from school to school.  The NCSLMA organization limits competition teams to no more than 12 members with only 6 members competing in each round.  Families who choose to “opt out” of specific titles may jeopardize their standing with the competitive team.

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Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Thirteen-year-old Amari, a poor Black girl from the projects, gets an invitation from her missing brother to join the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs and join in the fight against an evil magician.
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Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin

Twelve-year-old Della Kelly of Maryville, North Carolina, tries to come to terms with her mother's mental illness while her father struggles to save the farm from a record-breaking drought.
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Root Magic by Eden Royce

It’s 1963, and things are changing for Jezebel Turner. Her beloved grandmother has just passed away. The local police deputy won’t stop harassing her family. With school integration arriving in South Carolina, Jez and her twin brother, Jay, are about to begin the school year with a bunch of new kids. But the biggest change comes when Jez and Jay turn eleven— and their uncle, Doc, tells them he’s going to train them in rootwork.

Jez and Jay have always been fascinated by the African American folk magic that has been the legacy of their family for generations—especially the curious potions and powders Doc and Gran would make for the people on their island. But Jez soon finds out that her family’s true power goes far beyond small charms and elixirs…and not a moment too soon. Because when evil both natural and supernatural comes to show itself in town, it’s going to take every bit of the magic she has inside her to see her through.

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Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

Twelve-year-old Kyle gets to stay overnight in the new town library, designed by his hero (the famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello), with other students but finds that come morning he must work with friends to solve puzzles in order to escape.
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The Elephant in the Room by Holly Goldberg Sloan

It's been almost a year since Sila's mother traveled halfway around the world to Turkey, hoping to secure the immigration paperwork that would allow her to return to her family in the United States.

The long separation is almost impossible for Sila to withstand. But things change when Sila accompanies her father (who is a mechanic) outside their Oregon town to fix a truck. There, behind an enormous stone wall, she meets a grandfatherly man who only months before won the state lottery. Their new alliance leads to the rescue of a circus elephant named Veda, and then to a friendship with an unusual boy named Mateo, proving that comfort and hope come in the most unlikely of places.

A moving story of family separation and the importance of the connection between animals and humans, this novel has the enormous heart and uplifting humor that readers have come to expect from the beloved author of Counting by 7s.
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Linked by Gordon Korman

When swastikas begin appearing all over town, Link, Michael, and Dana, the only Jewish girl in town, must face crimes both past and present to find the truth.
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Walls Within Walls by Maureen Sherry

When the Smithfork family moves to a lavish Manhattan apartment building, they discover mysterious clues hidden behind the walls of their new home that take Brid, CJ and Patrick on a journey in search of the Post family fortune. 50,000 first printing.
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The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas

In this magical middle-grade debut novel from Adrianna Cuevas, The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez, a Cuban American boy must use his secret ability to communicate with animals to save the inhabitants of his town when they are threatened by a tule vieja, a witch that transforms into animals.

All Nestor Lopez wants is to live in one place for more than a few months and have dinner with his dad.

When he and his mother move to a new town to live with his grandmother after his dad’s latest deployment, Nestor plans to lay low. He definitely doesn’t want to anyone find out his deepest secret: that he can talk to animals.

But when the animals in his new town start disappearing, Nestor's grandmother becomes the prime suspect after she is spotted in the woods where they were last seen. As Nestor investigates the source of the disappearances, he learns that they are being seized by a tule vieja—a witch who can absorb an animal’s powers by biting it during a solar eclipse. And the next eclipse is just around the corner…

Now it’s up to Nestor’s extraordinary ability and his new friends to catch the tule vieja—and save a place he might just call home.
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Wish by Barbara O'Connor

Charlie Reese is sent to live with a family she barely knows, but with the help of a skinny stray dog who captures her heart and a neighbor boy named Howard, she learns what the real meaning of family may be.

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Pax by Sara Pennypacker

"After being forced to give up his pet fox Pax, a young boy named Peter decides to leave home and get his best friend back"--
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The Hero Two Doors Down by Sharon Robinson

A tale based on a true story follows the experiences of a young Jewish boy in Brooklyn who befriends new neighbor and baseball icon Jackie Robinson before a well-intentioned mistake helps bridge disparate religious and cultural gaps.
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Wildfire by Rodman Philbrick

Thirteen-year-old Sam Castine is at summer camp while his mother is in rehab, but when the camp is evacuated ahead of a fast moving wildfire, he makes the mistake of going back for his phone, and finds himself left behind, disoriented, and running for his life, together with a girl, Delphy, from a different camp--finding an old jeep keeps them going, but in the wilds of Maine, there are only logging roads and the deadly crown fire is everywhere.
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The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

Surviving a lightning strike that has given her genius-level math skills, 12-year-old Lucy is offered entry into college but reluctantly takes her grandmother's advice to attend one year of middle school, make a friend, join a club and read a non-math book. A first middle-grade novel by the author of the Dino Files chapter books. Simultaneous eBook.

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Not If I Can Help It by Carolyn Mackler

Willa lives on the upper West Side of Manhattan with her divorced father and her younger brother and attends fifth grade with her best friend Ruby, and she likes things to be a certain way, because it makes life manageable even with her Sensory Processing Disorder; she certainly does not like surprises, and her father has just thrown her a big one: he has been dating Ruby's mother, and suddenly Willa's life seems to be spiraling out of her control--and part of the trouble is that she cannot even explain why she thinks this is a horrible idea, when everyone else thinks that it is wonderful.
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The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el

An inquisitive polar bear named Duane befriends an array of animals as he discovers where he belongs in this charming classic-in-the making.

In the Very, Very Far North, past the Cold, Cold Ocean and just below the hill that looks like a baby whale, you’ll find Duane and his friends.

Duane is a sweet and curious young bear who makes friends with everyone he meets—whether they’re bossy, like Major Puff the puffin, or a bit vain, like Handsome the musk ox, or very, very shy, like Boo the caribou. For these arctic friends, every day is a new adventure!
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