That is the question I have been asked several times by students I have run into over the past several weeks (or their parents).
Well, as a member of the NCSLMA (pronounced N C Slamma and standing for North Carolina School Library Media Association) High School Battle of the Books State Committee, I can tell you what the committee has discussed for this inaugural year
- We will use the elementary and middle school rules (mostly) with tweaks to fit the unique schedules and needs of high school students. Those rules can be read here: Middle school manual
- When will we meet? During SMART lunch, but the day (or days if we need to split into two days to fit member's obligations to other clubs/tutorials/etc.) is up to you. Just not Thursday B lunch because NHS meets in the library on that day, 3rd week of every month. And Knockout Poetry has Monday A lunch unless they change that.
- The competition will be done before spring break. This will allow anyone taking AP classes to have plenty of time to start studying. The committee determined this for when a regional competition begins in 2019.
- Who will we compete against? It is not mandatory for any school to participate. If you have friends at other JoCo schools who want to participate, they need to gather other friends and bug the mess...ahem...politely beg their media coordinator/librarian to start the team while explaining the librarian doesn't need to do a lot of work, etc. to do this. Princeton and Clayton High are on-board. Encourage friends at Cleveland, SSS, NJHS, SJHS, and WJHS to get teams going! The librarian is required to join NCSLMA so he/she has to be on board as an advisor. Other teachers (reading or book club advisor?) can be a part of this too!)
- We will be writing practice questions and sharing them with other schools...they will share their questions with us, so it balances out and helps us prepare for competition. All questions start with "In which book...." and the answer is the title, so it's not like having to write essay questions! Do we want them on index cards are a google form for submission? You will decide! (Let your friends at other schools know this...another way it's not much work for the advisor!)
- Who is in charge? You will elect someone. Or two someones. Maybe a team of someones. Once again, team captains or student coaches, etc. will be a group decision.
- How does a competition work? Six people at a time (or less, but six questions per school) compete against another school in a game show type format. The questions all start: "In which book..." and the answer is the title with a bonus point for the author's name. However, 12 students max can compete. More students than that can be in BOB. There is a time limit. The team can confer to determine the answer, but only the student asked the question may answer. If time is called or the title is incorrect, the other team has the opportunity, with less time, to answer for partial points (and no bonus for author name). You compete against all schools in the competition in rounds. Points from all rounds are added together to determine the winner. There is also a challenge process if you feel an answer called incorrect was correct.
- How will the CHHS BOB (Pirate BOBs?) determine who competes? That's up to the students. I am the advisor. In elementary and middle schools, the coach/advisor takes charge. But it is my opinion that decisions like that will come from YOU, the students. To compete, you have to do more than sign up and be in the yearbook photo.W ith only one decision coming from me: there will be NO tests to determine who is on the team.
- Let's get real here. BOB is fun. You all take enough tests in high school without there being one for this so attendance, participation, the number of books read, who can stand on their head the longest, who provides chocolate chip cookies for the team, or whatever else you come up with can be used as a criteria, but tests will not be part of it. (In case you don't get my sense of humor, the cookies are a joke. Bribery should be not be allowed. I do love CC cookies, but I'm not choosing who competes.)
- Another item up for discussion is the team shirt: we should find out info from the county about this, but there will probably be a cost involved. Because it's the first year, I'm not sure if there will be a county or school design. (The county winner usually designs something for all schools but we don't have a winner yet!) I'll get back to you on that. Hopefully it won't be too much, but we will discuss it when we have more details.
If you find you absolutely hate or can't get into a book, put it down! You rarely remember details from a book you cannot stand the thought of reading so better not waste your time. Move on to the next book! In case you have lost your list, can't get on my website, etc., the books are:
*The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
*Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad
In September 1941, Adolf Hitler’s Wehrmacht surrounded Leningrad in what was to become one of the longest and most destructive sieges in Western history—almost three years of bombardment and starvation that culminated in the harsh winter of 1943–1944. More than a million citizens perished. Survivors recall corpses littering the frozen streets, their relatives having neither the means nor the strength to bury them. Residents burned books, furniture, and floorboards to keep warm; they ate family pets and—eventually—one another to stay alive. Trapped between the Nazi invading force and the Soviet government itself was composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who would write a symphony that roused, rallied, eulogized, and commemorated his fellow citizens—the Leningrad Symphony, which came to occupy a surprising place of prominence in the eventual Allied victory.
*Six of Crows
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price--and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction―if they don't kill each other first
Ready Player One
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines--puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win--and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.
Matt de la Pena
When the Big One hit, Shy was at sea in style. The Paradise Cruise luxury liner he worked on was a hulking specimen of the best money could buy. And now it's at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, along with almost all of its passengers. Shy wasn't the only one to survive, though. Addie, the rich blond daughter of a mysterious businessman, was on the dinghy he pulled himself into. But as soon as they found the rest of the survivors, she disappeared. The only thing that filled the strange void of losing her was finding Carmen, his hot coworker, and discovering a way to get back home. But Shy's luck hasn't turned. Not yet. Back on the dinghy, Addie told him a secret. It's a secret that people would kill for--have killed for--and she has the piece that could turn everything on its ear. The problem? Shy has no idea where Addie is. Back home in California seems logical, but there are more ways to die back home then Shy could ever have guessed. And thanks to what Shy now knows, he's a moving target.
Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery. Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.
The Invention of Wings
Sue Monk Kidd
Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women. Everything is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
*We Were Liars
A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth.
*The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence? Wes Moore, the author of this fascinating book, sets out to answer this profound question. In alternating narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world.
*I’ll Give You the Sun
At first, Jude and her twin brother are NoahandJude; inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.
“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thought crimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching...
Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life--and she's really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it's what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath's sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can't let go. She doesn't want to. Now that they're going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn't want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She's got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
*The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance.
An Ember in the Ashes
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free. Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear. It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do. But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy. There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.