FAQ

How many students on a team?

Each team will be composed of 4-6 students. Students must be in either 4th or 5th grade.

Do the team members need to be from the same school?

Teams can be composed of students from different schools, school districts, etc. (For example, a team could be composed of a mix of home school, public and private school students.)

Must the Team Coach be a teacher?

No. Team Coaches do not need to be teachers. Team Coaches usually are parent volunteers.

Is there a cost for students to register?

The Battle of the Books competition is free to participants. One set of books also is provided free to each team.

I don't live in Grand Traverse County, may I compete? 

This program is available to any fourth and fifth grader attending school or residing within the boundaries of  Grand Traverse County, Leelanau County, Benzie County, the Traverse City Area Public Schools school district, the Elk Rapids Public Schools district, or the Forest Area Community Schools school district.

What if my fourth or fifth grader can’t find a team, doesn’t have enough teammates, or needs a coach?

Please email Judy Arnold, Team Coordinator, at jmr_pra@hotmail.com for assistance with creating or finding teams. Our goal is to find a team for anyone who is interested in participating.

How do I know if my team is officially registered?

Once at least four members of a team register through Team Member Registration, your team is considered registered. Registered teams will be posted on the website, and the Head Coach will be notified via a confirmation email usually within 48 hours of completed registration. Reminder: the Head Coach also must register through the Volunteer Registration.

How do I decide between the Tournament and Faire Divisions?

The Tournament Division is a competition with kids answering questions about the battle books and being judged on their answers. Like all competitive events, the participants can experience the thrill of winning as well as the agony of defeat. With more books to read and the Mock Battles event, it requires a greater time commitment from the coach as well as the team members. The Faire Division involves fewer books. Team members will still get the opportunity to show their knowledge of those books but without the pressure of winning/losing battles. The Faire teams do not need to attend Mock Battles. Team coaches may want to consider the reading skills, grade levels (fourth/fifth), and the focus/energy of their readers in deciding on the right division.

What happens if the 48 Tournament spots fill up?

If you want to be in the Tournament Divison and the 48 spots are full, your team will be placed on a waiting list for the Tournament Division. If any Tournament teams change their minds about their division or participation in general, we will invite teams on the waiting list to join. Otherwise your team will roll over into the Faire Division which does not have a cap on the number of teams.

We have a confirmed team with four team members, can we add more? Is there a deadline for adding more team members?

Teams with at least four members registered can continue to add more members through the Team Member Registration until they reach the six-member maximum. Additional team members must be registered -- and all members of the team finalized -- on the day of the Book Handout & Team Meetup.

How many coaches may each team have?

Each team must have one designated Head Coach. Each team also may have one Assistant Coach. All coaches must complete the Volunteer Registration.

I don't want to coach, but can I still help my student's team?

Yes, you can help. However we require that anyone helping the team register through Volunteer Registration so we know who is working with the kids.

When should coaches and volunteers register?

Volunteers can register any time. We strongly encourage coaches to register as soon as possible -- and definitely before student registration opens -- so that we can complete your background check, match incoming Team Member registrations with your name, and email you to confirm your team's registration.

When and how do we submit our team name?

Within a few weeks of registration, the Battle of the Books Team Coordinator will contact each Head Coach to ask for your team name. Team names may not include a school or organization name ( a name such as the Central Grade Bookworms will not be approved) and must be under 35 characters in total. Returning teams may use the same names as a previous year as long as they meet these requirements.

Is each team member expected to read all 9 books or all 4 four books?

No, not every team member needs to read every book. However, having more teammates read the books can make Battle of the Books more fun and, if you are in the tournament divison, can make your team stronger.

When can teams start meeting? When should they start meeting?

The Head Coach can get together with team members once he/she has completed the Volunteer Registration and been notified that the required background check has cleared.

Most teams meet once or twice in December (after the Book Handout & Team Meetup) to get to know each other, swap books, discuss what they have read so far, and set up a practice schedule. December -- and especially winter break -- is a great time to read as many books as possible. January is a good time to start meeting weekly as a team.

How much time will it take each week to participate in the Battle of the Books?

Each student reads at a different pace, and each team plans its own schedule to prepare for the Tournament or Faire. Some teams may want to have an initial meeting, give a few weeks for students to read their chosen books, and then meet weekly as the Tournament & Faire Day gets closer. Other teams might meet every other week. It is up to each team to figure out what works for your team members.

How are the books chosen?

The titles for Battle of the Books are selected by a committee comprised of MLS-degreed librarians and other experts in children's books here in the Grand Traverse area.

Books must meet the following criteria to be considered for the booklist:

      • Most titles should be within 4.0-6.0 grade equivalent reading level (GLE) with different levels represented in the list.
        • Designated for the 9-12 year-old age group.
            • Written by respected children's authors and published by well-known publishers.
              • Must have received positive reviews concerning quality and content in professional library journals.
                • The titles as a whole should represent a range of styles, genres, diverse viewpoints, and themes to encourage kids' exploration of different types of stories and authors.

                What if a team member gets sick or has another reason he/she can’t attend the Tournament or Faire? Can we swap in someone else as an alternate? Can we swap a Faire team member into the Tournament?

                To compete in the Tournament, you must be a registered member of a Tournament team. To participate in the Faire, you must be on a Faire team. We understand that, unfortunately, kids get sick or may have other situations arise that prevent them from attending on Tournament & Faire Day. Per the rules, a tournament team can compete with as few as three members.

                Can teams that don't advance attend the Championship event?

                Yes! All teams should plan to attend the Championship & All-Team Finale. This finale is part of the overall program and includes many fun activities. It is an important time to show support to fellow readers who advanced, to find out if your team won a team award and other prizes, and to hear from an amazing author of one of the battle books. For sure, all Battle of the Books teams should be a part of the celebration in their honor!