Library system gears up for book battle

November 18, 2012

Washington County Free Library is sponsoring its 26th Battle of the Books competition.

The program was begun by librarians Donna Parks and Jeff Ridgeway in 1986 to bring children and books together and to reward children who like to read. 

The program has evolved over the years, but its goal remains the same — to pair great kids with great books. 

Ridgeway, from the library’s Children’s Department, and his staff have selected a set of 20 books for children to read, be creative about and engage in friendly competition. 


The library issues a set of 20 books to registered teams of children in grades four to six. 

The same set is used for all teams. 

All teams must have an adult team manager who is responsible for arranging transportation to and from the rounds, turning in team projects in February and returning the set of books at the conclusion of the program. 

Team managers must either be Washington County residents or have a Washington County Free Library card. 

Teams have from the time of registration in November until the first Saturday in March to read the books and to complete two projects about the books. 

The teams then take part in a written round held at Eastern Elementary School. 

The round consists of 40 questions about the books. The scores from the projects plus the written round score are totaled, and the top eight scoring teams advance to a final round. 

Every child who takes part will receive a free paperback book and a certificate of participation provided by the library. Teams that advance to the final round will receive trophies or a gift certificate from a local business. 

Over the past 25 years, parents and children who have participated in the program have told the library staff about the books that they read and have loved. Books chosen for the competition include Newbery-winning and honor books, popular fiction, children’s classics and books that exhibit a unique perspective on the world. 

Teams can register at any library in the Washington County Library system throughout the month of November.  

Creative projects are due in February and the battles take place in March.

For more information, call Ridgeway at 301-791-5169 or send an email to

Battle of the Books list

“Al Capone Does My Shirts” by Jennifer Choldenko
“Because of Winn Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo
“By the Great Horn Spoon” by Sid Fleischman
“The Indian in the Cupboard” by Lynn Reid Banks
“Lily’s Crossing” by Patricia Reilly Giff
“The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Beverly Cleary
“The Ogre of Oglefort” by Eva Ibbotson
“One Crazy Summer” by Rita Williams-Garcia
“Out of My Mind” by Sharon Draper
“The Penderwicks” by Jeanne Birdsall
“Peppermints in the Parlor” by Barbara Brooks Wallace
“Rascal” by Sterling North
“Shakespeare’s Secret” by Elise Broach
“Running Out of Time” by Margaret Peterson Haddix
“Tuck Everlasting” by Natalie Babbit
“Victory” by Susan Cooper
“The View from Saturday” by E.L. Konigsburg
“Whittington” by Alan Armstrong
“The Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum
“Yolonda’s Genius” by Carol Fenner

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