Read Across America

Dr. Seuss was born on March 2, 1904, and we will be celebrating his birthday (this Thursday) by participating in Read Across America!

If you want to see what others are doing to celebrate, you can take a look at the National Education Association’s website ….


So go get your favorite Dr. Seuss book, put on your “Cat in the Hat” hat, and find a great spot to read!



2017 Reading Resolution

Happy 2017!

Happy New Year!


Lots of people make resolutions at the beginning of a year, so I thought it might be fun to offer some suggestions for 2017 Reading resolutions.


  1. Read a book from a genre you have never read before. You could try:
    • Fiction
    • Comedy
    • Non-fiction
    • Realistic fiction
    • Romance novel
    • Satire
    • Tragedy
    • Fantasy
  2. Read at least one book every month.
  3. Read a book from an author from North Carolina.
    Here is a link with some of the authors from NC:
  4. Read or re-read a classic
    • A few for you to consider:


What do you think?

Do you have an idea for a Reading Resolution? Post a comment to share your idea!

Happy Reading!



Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling

Hey guys. I’m sure most of you, if not all of you have some knowledge of Harry Potter, whether you’ve seen the movies or read the books or have heard about him through friends or family. I myself am a devout fan of Harry Potter and I have read all the books and seen all of the movies (my family and I even took a trip to Harry Potter World, which I would recommend if you’re a fan).


If you do happen to be a fan of Harry Potter, you are in luck! All of my years on Battle of the Books I really wanted the committee that chooses the books to pick a Harry Potter book. So I think its really cool that you guys get to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling!

Fun Fact: In England the title is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

If you don’t know a lot about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone then you are in luck because I am about to summarize it for you, so here we go:

Harry Potter is an orphaned boy who lives with his aunt, uncle and cousin. They are absolutely horrible to him. His bedroom is in a closet under their staircase! Well, one day something happens that would change Harry’s life forever, he receives a letter in the mail from a mysterious school of witchcraft and wizardry. He gets taken to the school by a halfblooded giant and he gets to learn all sorts of new things that he had no idea existed. Magic is everywhere and everyone in the wizarding world uses it. Harry Potter is a wizard, not to mention that everyone knows exactly who he is and what his history is — before he even figures it out.

He gets to Hogwarts and meets all kinds of people and strange things. Harry’s family leaves a legacy that he knows nothing about, but in time he does learn. He learns about a very important and terrifying wizard named Voldemort (aka the Dark Lord). There is a rumor going around that one of the teachers at Hogwarts is helping the Dark Lord and Harry knows he needs to get to the bottom of it. He has to go through all these tasks and obstacles in order to discover the person he was looking for, and when I say tasks and obstacles I mean giant three-headed dogs and vines that strangle you and a life-sized game of chess. Of course he gets through everything and saves the day because he is Harry Potter.

 I really did enjoy this book when I first read it and I hope you will too. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves reading about far off places and things that are out of this world. You get to go on your own little adventure with Harry and watch him bring the light back into the wizarding world. Who knows, maybe you’ll want to read the rest of the series when you are finished!


State Battle

I wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS to the 9 teams that competed at the State Battle of the Books competition today! You guys are impressive 🙂

The teams that made it to the state finals were:

  • Belmont Middle School – Gaston County
  • Central Middle School – Surry County
  • Collettsville Middle School – Caldwell County
  • Durham Academy – Independent
  • Gray’s Creek Middle School – Cumberland County
  • Hope Middle School – Pitt County
  • MCS Noble Middle School – New Hanover County
  • Rogers Herr Middle School – Durham Public Schools
  • Waynesville Middle School – Haywood County

There were 36 rounds of competition! It was awesome to see how much everyone knew about the books.

Final results at the end of the day were:

  1. Gray’s Creek Middle School
  2. Central Middle School
  3. MCS Noble Middle School

Congratulations again to everyone!


Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Hey guys, for the next couple of weeks I’m going to be bringing you summaries of the books you guys will be reading for next year’s Battle of the Books.

wonderSo the first book I will be talking to you about is Wonder by R.J. Palacio. The main character, August Pullman (Auggie), is an ordinary ten-year-old boy. He does everything ordinary ten-year-old boys do. Except he isn’t ordinary. Or other people don’t see him as ordinary because of the way he looks.

He has had many facial surgeries and looks a little different than most people do. He’s been made fun of and called names his whole life. He is about to start fifth grade at his first public school and he isn’t too keen on going.

The book is split into different parts and each part is written by a different character. Each character talks about what kind of impact Auggie has had on their lives. When Auggie writes, he writes about what kind of impact other people have on his life.

The book takes you through all of Auggie’s year in fifth grade and the journey he goes on to find himself. It is a fantastic book and I know you will love it.


If your mom likes to read, she will love this book as well! But tell her to keep a Kleenex handy!

Dionna (aka Emma’s mom)

Read Across America – Wednesday, March 2

RAAlogoHi guys, I know this Wednesday, March 2, is National Read Across America Day and I was thinking you might want to know why. I know everyone has heard about the famous Dr. Seuss, but did you know that his birthday is why we celebrate Read Across America? I know I have always loved reading books by Dr. Seuss and you probably have too! Read Across America Day was created to get people excited about reading and to teach kids all the joys and adventures that come with reading. In 1997 The National Education Association decided that they wanted more kids, teenagers, and even adults to read a considerable amount more. They put together a team of NEA members and decided to host an event on Dr. Seuss’ birthday.



Dr. Seuss’ real name is Theodor Seuss Geisel and he began writing for magazines in 1927. He wrote and illustrated very funny cartoons that everyone seemed to
love. In 1954, he decided to write and publish his own stories after finding that children did not like to read because their books were boring. He wrote and illustrated 44 books, won three Academy Awards and was also the winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Dr. Seuss died in 1991, but everyone still feels the impression he made in society.


oobleckMaybe you already have a favorite book by Dr. Seuss. My favorite is Bartholomew and the Oobleck. It’s about a kid who has to save his kingdom from gross green slime called oobleck. If you don’t have a favorite, go out and look for some of his books because I know you will enjoy them. Feel free to leave a comment about your favorite Dr. Seuss book!


You will probably do a lot of things involving reading on Wednesday, but don’t stop there! Tell all your friends and family about all the cool things you have read about lately and try to convince them to get into reading as well.


catinthehat      hoponpop      hortonhears      ohtheplaces     onefishtwofish      foxandsox

Time to Compete!

Hey everyone, I hope you all have had a good week and an even better weekend. I know a lot of you are getting ready to have your Battle of the Books competition and I wanted to share a few things with you that I think might help if you’re a little bit nervous. You can use the tips I am giving you for whatever makes you a little bit scared.


  • Get Enough Sleep the Night Beforesleep

Your brain needs time to rest and recuperate in order to be at its best. Try to go to bed on time or a little early the night before a competition so you will be able to remember all that you need to. Sleeping enough will make you feel refreshed and ready to do your best.


  • Eat A Big Breakfast

breakfastIf you are hungry you won’t be focused enough to be on your A-game and your whole team is counting on you to help them win. Try eating some bacon and eggs and toast before your competition instead of a bowl of Fruit Loops. You will feel full and ready to take down your competition.


  • Do Your Bestbest

I know you hear this all the time from your teachers and parents, but make sure you do your best in everything you do. The score does not matter if you did your best. You will lessen your worry if you walk away knowing you did all that you could do. Even if things don’t work out like you want them to, it is totally okay! There is always next time and you will get better.


  • Don’t Be Intimidated By the Competition

scaryThose other kids might look mean or scary or like they might know more than you do, but don’t let that fool you! Chances are that those kids are just as worried as you are. Everyone gets nervous about things that are important to them. I know when I have big swim meets I always try to talk to the girls I am swimming against to remind myself that they are human too, and a lot of times they tell me they are just as nervous about swimming a race as I am.


  • Don’t Get Discouraged If You Don’t Windiscouraged

I know everyone wants to win all the time, but unfortunately that cannot always be the case. If you won all the time, you would never learn anything new or do anything differently. You would be stuck in a rut and that wouldn’t be any fun. If you know how to use your loss to your advantage, you can come back next time and get that win because you will know exactly what not to do. You can only go up.


  • Don’t Make The Other Teams Feel Bad If You Beat Them

goodsportI know it is really hard not to be overjoyed and think your team can never be conquered when you have a win, but don’t try to make the kids you beat feel bad for losing. Of course you deserve to celebrate your win, and make sure you do so, but don’t brag and gloat. Try showing good sportsmanship by telling them they did a good job! Chances are they really tried their best and it would make them feel better if the winning team acknowledged their valiant efforts. Who knows, you might just make someone’s day.


  • Congratulate Your Teammatescongrats

Make sure you tell your team how fantastic they were! Thank them for doing their best, even if you don’t win. Your teammates have to share the win or loss no matter what, so you might as well keep spirits high.


I hope you all do well in your competitions that are coming up and I hope these tips help you out a little bit! I wish you all the best of luck and feel free to comment on any of these tips in the comment section!


A little history …

Hi everyone! I hope you all have enjoyed your weekend. I know that there are a lot of you using this website and maybe you’re curious about how it all started…

Battle of the Books LOGO from


When I was in elementary school I was on the Battle of the Books team at my school, just like some of you are. I had a good team and all of us loved reading and knew the books on the eBOB list like the back of our hand. My mom, the creator of MyBOBTeam, had the idea to create a program where we could practice on our own. She wrote the software and a couple other moms who had kids on the team helped her enter the practice questions we had.


When we would go to practice, we struggled a little bit because our practice questions were either not worded correctly, or they were about things that didn’t even happen in the books. So my mom and the other moms who helped her enter the questions got together and tried to figure out a way for all of us to get the practice we needed in order to do well at the competition.

The team moms decided that they could make up better questions than the ones we had, and that is exactly what they did. My mom developed an online program and the other moms read the books and wrote lots of questions. In the beginning, the website was small and it didn’t do much except give us book questions and it was only available to elementary schools. The website back then was called MyBOBCoach, some of you may remember it. In the competition at the end of the year, we did significantly better than we had been doing the past few years.


The next year, the moms decided they would try to make their home-made eBOB practice available for everyone, since we had done so well with it. They started with Rowan County and quickly spread to other counties nearby.  As the years have gone by, MyBOBCoach transitioned into MyBOBTeam and unfortunately, some of the original members are not involved in the website any longer.

MBTlogo_smMyBOBTeam has grown and developed a lot from what it was when I was in elementary school. Not only will the website ask you book questions, but you can play jeopardy, match title and author, figure out crossword puzzles, and even let you customize your own book test. The website now stretches across North Carolina, instead of just being in a small elementary school in Rowan County. I am very proud of what my mom has accomplished with this site and I hope you all enjoy using it!


Why should you read?

Hi everyone! I hope you all are enjoying the snow and maybe even doing some reading too! When it snows I always like to sit by a window with a warm blanket, some hot chocolate and a really good book. Not only is reading a great pastime during these winter months, but reading is actually good for you, too. There are more benefits to reading than just taking your mind on an adventure, and I would like to share some of them with you. I looked up ten long term benefits of reading on and this is what I found:

  1. Mental Stimulationmental

Your brain is one of the most important muscles in your body, and just like any other muscle, you should exercise it daily. Reading is good for this because it will actually prevent or slow down the process of memory loss. Who knew?


  1. stressStress Reduction

If you find yourself stressed with school or homework, reading is a really good and quick fix. Now, I don’t recommend skipping your homework just so you can read a good book, but if you find time for reading I would definitely take full advantage of it.


  1. Knowledgeknowledge

Reading helps you learn new things everyday. Even if you read a fiction novel, you are still learning. You may read something that changes your perspective on things in real life or you may come across a word you’ve never heard before, which leads us to the next point.


  1. Vocabulary Expansionvocab

You can read a variety of books that use words that are not something you hear in everyday conversations. Reading teaches you a lot of things and new words are one of them. If you find a cool word that you’ve never heard before while you’re reading, you might want to look up the definition and use it in a conversation, impressing all your friends with your vast vocabulary.


  1. Memory Improvementmemory

Reading actually helps you remember things! When you’re reading a book, you are making your brain remember small, seemingly meaningless details of plots and characteristics, without even thinking about it. I have a question – how many of you can actually remember almost all of a book you haven’t read in years? I know I can, and it’s all because your brain gets better and better at remembering things and making connections to things in everyday life when you read. This will help you remember what your teacher was talking about when it comes time for a test or quiz.


  1. thinkingStronger Analytical Thinking Skills

Have you ever read a book and you think, “Wow that was a really bad book,” or “That book was fantastic”? Well, when you read you are able to pick out certain aspects of a character or plot that really spark your interest or really make you never want to pick up a book again. If you continue reading, you learn more and more about the kind of things you like or dislike and doing this, you are able to ask yourself questions like, “Why do I like this?”  or “Why does this plot make me want to throw this book across the room?” Reading helps you form logical opinions and shape your mind into understanding things you may not have understood before.


  1. Improved Focus and Concentrationfocus

In this day in age, our attention is constantly being pulled in thousands of directions. You might be watching tv in the living room while your mom is trying to talk to you from the kitchen, but you can’t understand her because your dad is talking on the phone and your sister is in her room blaring that new song that has been on the radio for weeks. When you are totally engrossed in the-best-book-you’ve-ever-read-in-your-life, you are more likely to slow down and focus all your attention on that book. This will help you in the classroom while your teacher is teaching or while you’re taking a test because you have already taught your brain to focus on one thing.


  1. writingBetter Writing Skills

Books can be written in many different styles and each time you read, whether you do it on purpose or not, you take away a little bit of that author’s style. This helps you with your own writing because if you’ve read enough, you know what sounds good and what doesn’t.


  1. Tranquilitytranquil

Reading calms the mind and the soul, unless you decide to read something scary. Reading something peaceful and happy will allow your body to be peaceful and happy, too. Reading is a stress reducer and it will actually make you feel better on the inside.


  1. Free Entertainment

funHave you ever heard that reading is like watching tv in your head? I would totally agree with that statement because if a book is written well enough, you are able to picture the characters and the setting in your mind. Think of a library as Netflix, just for books. You get to go on this really cool adventure with these really cool characters, just like watching a tv show.
So I hope this new-found information has sparked your interest to read this week, because I know I will be reading! Reading is so good for you! Pick up a good book this week and keep in mind all the benefits of reading it.


Best Children’s Books of 2015

If you’re anything like me, you have read tons of books over the course of the past few years. Some were good, some were bad and some were the best books you have ever read in your entire life! Books allow us to travel to new places and see new things without having to leave the comfort of our own home. I read some amazing books last year and I am sure you did too, and if you are like me, you want to start the New Year strong with a really good read. Since we are not too far into 2016, I wanted to give you all a list of books that were noted as the “Best Children’s Books of 2015” by The Washington Post.

So here goes:

If you are anywhere from 8 years old to 13 years old and looking for a fiction novel, you might like one of these.

TheMarvelsThe Marvels by Brian Selznick

“Two seemingly unrelated stories–one in words, the other in pictures–come together. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle’s puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries.”


Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-GarciaGoneCrazy

“Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are off to Alabama to visit their grandmother, Big Ma, and her mother, Ma Charles. Across the way lives Ma Charles’s half sister, Miss Trotter. The two half sisters haven’t spoken in years. As Delphine hears about her family history, she uncovers the surprising truth that’s been keeping the sisters apart. But when tragedy strikes, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible.”


echoEcho by Pam Munoz Ryan

“Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.”


Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca SteadGoodbyeStranger

“Bridge is an accident survivor who’s wondering why she’s still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody’s games—or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade?

This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend?

On Valentine’s Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?”


ReturnToAugieHobbleReturn to Augie Hobble by Lane Smith

“Augie Hobble lives in a fairy tale—or at least Fairy Tale Place, the down-on-its-luck amusement park managed by his father. Yet his life is turning into a nightmare: he’s failed creative arts and has to take summer school, the girl he has a crush on won’t acknowledge him, and Hogg Wills and the school bullies won’t leave him alone. Worse, a succession of mysterious, possibly paranormal, events have him convinced that he’s turning into a werewolf. At least Augie has his notebook and his best friend Britt to confide in—until the unthinkable happens and Augie’s life is turned upside down, and those mysterious, possibly paranormal, events take on a different meaning.”


If you are looking for some good non-fiction reads, you might enjoy one of these.

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret Historymostdangerous of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin

“On June 13, 1971, the front page of the New York Times announced the existence of a 7,000-page collection of documents containing a secret history of the Vietnam War. Known as The Pentagon Papers, these documents had been commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Chronicling every action the government had taken in the Vietnam War, they revealed a pattern of deception spanning over twenty years and four presidencies, and forever changed the relationship between American citizens and the politicians claiming to represent their interests.”


funnybonesFunny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh

“Funny Bones tells the story of how the amusing calaveras—skeletons performing various everyday or festive activities—came to be. They are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not the politicians. He continued to draw cartoons throughout much of his life, but he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival.”


Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America by Susan Campbell Bartoletti   terribletyphoid

“What happens when a person’s reputation has been forever damaged?

With archival photographs and text among other primary sources, this riveting biography of Mary Mallon by the Sibert medalist and Newbery Honor winner Susan Bartoletti looks beyond the tabloid scandal of Mary’s controversial life.

How she was treated by medical and legal officials reveals a lesser-known story of human and constitutional rights, entangled with the science of pathology and enduring questions about who Mary Mallon really was.

How did her name become synonymous with deadly disease? And who is really responsible for the lasting legacy of Typhoid Mary?”


boyschallengedhitlerThe Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose


“At the outset of World War II, Denmark did not resist German occupation. Deeply ashamed of his nation’s leaders, fifteen-year-old Knud Pedersen resolved with his brother and a handful of schoolmates to take action against the Nazis if the adults would not. Naming their secret club after the fiery British leader, the young patriots in the Churchill Club committed countless acts of sabotage, infuriating the Germans, who eventually had the boys tracked down and arrested. But their efforts were not in vain: the boys’ exploits and eventual imprisonment helped spark a full-blown Danish resistance.”



When I was in elementary and middle school I had great librarians who helped me pick out some of the best books I have ever read, and I am sure your librarian is just the same. I like to think of librarians as the people you can go and buy plane tickets from because they are the ones who “put you on a plane to any universe or society you want to go to.” You decide you want to travel back in time to 1984? They’ve got just the book for you. You want to read an adventure book all about dragons and knights and saving the world from giants and trolls? I am 100% positive that they can find you exactly what you’re looking for. Books are our ways of seeing and thinking about things in a new light. We get to be a part of a whole new world and experience things we would never have gotten to without reading. So, what new and exciting adventure will you be going on today?