Lisa Toner May 7 2021

The 2021 Battle of the Books Ends in Victory

Battle of the Books is an American Schools Reading Challenge which began in the 1930s in Chicago but slowly gained popularity and is now played, not only all over the US but also in international schools, world wide.

Shanghai has its own Battle which is normally played in person on a day in April. This year with COVID restrictions all the schools played locally across a week, and each submitted their scores to be counted.

There were six schools participated and 21 teams who took part in this year's event. The ES Battle is for 4th and 5th graders across Shanghai international schools but at Concordia our Elementary School finishes at 4th Grade. We prepared for the Battle during the first and second CCA seasons in September and January. In between CCAs the children continued with their reading and were encouraged to take notes on the books as they read so that they could revise the night before the Battle.

Teams read from 8 specially selected titles:


Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelley

A story about a deaf girl who decides to help Blue 55, a whale who sings at a different frequency from the rest of his pod. A beautiful book all about communication.


The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Coyote and her dad journey across America in a converted school bus following the death of her mother and two sisters in the Road Trip novel. They journey on until Cotoye hears that the woods near her old house are being torn down. She realises that she must return to rescue her memory box and both Coyote and her father must confront the truths that they have been running away from.


Hero Next Door edited by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Short Stories from outstanding international authors showing that heroes can be ordinary people who have the courage to do extraordinary things.


Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Choksho

An adventurous romp through Indian mythology. When Aru lets out The Sleeper from the Lamp of Destruction, she has to travel to the underworld in her spiderman pyjamas to rescue the universe along with her Pandava partner Mini.


Rocket to the Moon by Don Brown

A non-fiction graphic novel which charts the history of space flight from the earliest invention of gunpowder in China through the space race of the 1960s to the famous moon walks.


Stargazing by Jen Wang

This graphic novel tells a story of friendship between two girls, one of develops a brain tumor which threatens to derail their friendship. The characters are Chinese American, but the situations and experiences of wanting to have fun, friends and fit in are universal.


Storm Runner by C J Cervantes

A longer book with a more complex plot which weaves through the darkest, strangest, and funniest twists and turns of Maya myth. There are th scariest gods, the creepiest denizens of the underworld, and the most amazing and unlikely heroes, who have to save our world from being ripped apart.


Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

Ideal for fans of Harry Potter, this is the tale of Morrigan Crow who as a cursed child is doomed to die on her 11th birthday but who is rescued by the enigmatic Jupiter North and taken to Nevermoor where she finds herself entered for the Wonder Society trails. Morrigan will have to prove herself to the judges and Jupiter, evern if she has no idea what her 'knack' is! New Australian author, Jessica Townsend has written a great story here.

Students worked in teams which they named from the themes in the books.

Battle has three elements, the first is to redesign one of the front covers. These were the Concordia entries:


The second round was to decorate a cake in the theme of one of the books. Teams planned their designs then used project management skills to compile a list of all the ingredients needed. All the cakes were provided and were all the same size and shape. Our teams had great fun doing the decorating and I was so impressed by their co-operation and teamworking:


The cakes were judged locally, and the winners were The Moonlight Star Savers with their Song for a Whale cake.


The final round was the Kahoot quiz. This comprised 120 questions played online in a fast-paced quiz. Our teams played brilliantly and concentrated extremely well. It was a tense but exciting afternoon.


The Remarkable Coyotes: Anna Guo (Team Leader), Anna Oyarbide, Lily Yang, Albert Jin, Henry Liang, Aaron Li


The Heroes Without Capes: Amy Zhao, Chelsea Ouyang, Zarina Aumann, Josie Gan (Team Leader)


The Moonlight Star Savers: Guangyi Zhang (Team Leader) Eirene Liu, Ethan Stanfield, Angelina Wang


The Moon Runners: Zoe Mutschler (Team Leader) Stanley Shen, Bryan Li, Ethan Huang, Paddy Brooks, Angela Lee

The scores are now in and we can announce that THE REMARKABLE COYOTES came first and won the competition. Congratulations to all who read the books and who worked so hard!


Here are some of the reactions from the teams:

It helps me to exercise my brain and my memory” Anna G

It has improved my reading level and how much time it has made me read” Paddy B

I learned that books can always be surprising” Aaron L

I learned about teamwork and why that’s important” Josie G

Before if I have time to read, I don’t really read but when I come to do Battle of the Books, I would read every day” Stanley S

“Battle of the Books is super fun and don’t worry if you are nervous for the Battle, just have FUN” Amy Z

It helped me to read more books and to enjoy reading” Angelina W

Planning for the Battle of the Books 2022 is already underway. Current third graders will be eligible to sign up for the Battle in the Fall CCA. We can accept 4 teams of 6 students. Battle CCAs will be held on Monday (2 teams) and Tuesday (2 teams). If you are interested, please make sure that you sign up early as places will be limited.