Runnels | Independent School, Baton Rouge
Menu

News

Junior High English Classes Take on Battle of the Books Challenge

10/25/2019

Junior high students are about to take on a new reading challenge: The Battle of the Books! It's fun, intense, engaging, and competitive. Working in teams of 10, they'll take on 10 books -- each team member will read one book.
 
Each student will have until the first of the year to closely read his or her novel, attempting to master its content and becoming experts at understanding the plot, the characters, themes, settings, and other important literary elements.
 
Later in the school year, they'll put their knowledge to the test in a school championship and a regional meet against Episcopal, Central Middle School, and Denham Springs Junior High.
 
On Tuesday of this week, Sherry Wilks' 7th grade and Kylie Harbin's 8th grade English classes met for an extended session in the Jr./Sr. High Library to preview the books and get a start on deciding which to read. They circulated among five book stations viewing book trailers on their laptops, reading passages from the books, examining blurbs, and analyzing cover art. They wrote down their observations and responses and adjourned to ponder the choices.
 
On Friday during lunch hour, they all came together once more in the foyer of the Theatre. They broke into teams for the first time and selected their books.
 
"When we return from Christmas break," said Jr./Sr. High Librarian Wendy Herumin, "we'll have an in-house quiz bowl. The winners will compete in the regional competition in February. This is a new venture for us and we're excited about doing it."
 
2019-2020 Battle of the Books Title List
 
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru's doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don't believe her claim that the museum's Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again. But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it's up to Aru to save them. The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?
 
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
Twelve-year-old orphan Crow embarks on a journey to discover who her parents were and why they abandoned her on a small boat as an infant. In her search, she encounters an angry criminal, buried treasure, and discovers that family is not always related by blood.
*2019-2020 LYRCA List
 
Brave by Svetlana Chmakova
In his daydreams, Jensen is the biggest hero that ever was, saving the world and his friends on a daily basis. But his middle school reality is VERY different - math is hard, getting along with friends is hard, and even finding a partner for the class project is a big problem when you always get picked last. The pressure's on even more once the school newspaper's dynamic duo, Jenny and Akilah, draw Jensen into the whirlwind of school news, social experiment projects, and behind-the-scenes club drama. Jensen's always played the middle school game one level at a time, but suddenly, someone's cranked up the difficulty setting. Will those daring daydreams of his finally work in his favor, or will he have to find real solutions to his real-life problems?
*2019-2020 LYRCA List
 
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
Clayton feels most alive when he's with his grandfather, Cool Papa Byrd, and the band of Bluesmen -- he can't wait to join them, just as soon as he has a blues song of his own. But then the unthinkable happens. Cool Papa Byrd dies, and Clayton's mother forbids Clayton from playing the blues. Clayton knows that's no way to live. Armed with his grandfather's brown porkpie hat and his harmonica, he runs away from home in search of the Bluesmen, hoping he can join them on the road. But on the journey that takes him through the New York City subways and to Washington Square Park, Clayton learns some things that surprise him.
*2019-2020 LYRCA List
 
Greetings from Witness Protection by Jake Burt
Thirteen-year-old Nikki Demere is an orphan and a kleptomaniac, making her the perfect girl to portray the Trevors' daughter in witness protection, but she soon learns that the biggest threat to her new family's security comes from her own past.
*2019-2020 LYRCA List
 
In the Shadow of the Sun by Anne Sibley O'Brien
Twelve-year-old Mia is on a five-day tour of North Korea with her older brother, Simon, and their father, Mark, a food aide worker, but she is scared because her father keeps sneaking off at night and terrified that her brother's sullen, rebellious behavior (which has absolutely nothing to do with the Koreans) is going to get them in trouble. Things get much worse when she is pulled into a deadly political game that seeks to expose North Korean atrocities, and her father is arrested.
*2019-2020 LYRCA List
 
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti 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 Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms.
*2019-2020 LYRCA List
 
Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo Watson Hackl
All her life, Cricket's mama has told her stories about a secret room painted by a mysterious artist. Now Mama's run off, and Cricket thinks the room might be the answer to getting her to come back. If it exists. And if she can find it. Cricket's first clue is a coin from a grown-over ghost town in the woods. So with her daddy's old guidebook and a coat full of snacks stolen from the Cash 'n' Carry, Cricket runs away to find the room. Surviving in the woods isn't easy. While Cricket camps out in an old treehouse and looks for clues, she meets the last resident of the ghost town, encounters a poetry-loving dog (who just might hold a key to part of the puzzle), and discovers that sometimes you have to get a little lost . . . to really find your way.
 
Suspect Red by L.M. Elliott
It's 1953, and the United States has just executed an American couple convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. Everyone is on edge as the Cold War standoff between communism and democracy leads to the rise of Senator Joe McCarthy and his zealous hunt for people he calls subversives or communist sympathizers. Suspicion, loyalty oaths, blacklists, political profiling, hostility to foreigners, and the assumption of guilt by association divide the nation. Richard and his family believe deeply in American values and love of country, especially since Richard's father works for the FBI. Yet when a family from Czechoslovakia moves in down the street with a son Richard's age named Vlad, their bold ideas about art and politics bring everything into question.
 
The Red Bandana (Young Readers Edition) by Tom Rinaldi
This book, adapted for young readers, presents the story of 9/11 hero Welles Crowther, highlighting his faith, position as a volunteer in his local fire department, and how he sacrificed his life to save people trapped above the airplane embedded in the South Tower.
*2019-2020 LYRCA List