This blog was created so students from all over Tampa Bay and beyond can talk online about the books in the Sunshine State Young Readers Award and Florida Teens Read programs. You can also make connections between the fictional worlds created by the books' authors and the real world by responding to discussion questions posted each week by St. Petersburg Times Newspaper in Educaiton staff. This is an activity you can do with classmates or at home with your family and friends.

So, young bloggers are you ready to spread the word about your Book Battle favorites? Here is how you get started:

  1. Select your grade level below to view book list.
  2. Choose the title of the book you want to discuss. This will take you to the Book Battle Blog.
  3. Read the post then click on the word COMMENTS to share your views.
  4. Are you new to this blog? You can read and download instructions here

Welcome to Battle of the Books and
Florida Teens Read 2008-2009

Grades 3-5


The Blue Ghost
by Marion Dane Bauer

No Talking
by Andrew Clements

The Missing Manatee
by Cynthia DeFelice

The Sloppy Copy Slipup
by DyAnne DiSalvo

Phineas L. Macquire . . . Erupts!: The First Experiment
by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Stumptown Kid
by Carol Gorman and Ron J. Findley

The Thing about Georgie
by Lisa Graff

The Homework Machine
by Dan Gutman

Dexter the Tough
by Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Ghost's Grave
by Peg Kehret

by Cynthia Lord

Roxie and the Hooligans
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

by Sara Pennypacker

The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco
by Janice Repka

by Stephanie S. Tolan


Grade 6-8


Shakespeare’s Secret

by Elise Broach

Whisper in the Dark
by Joseph Bruchac

Red Kayak
by Priscilla Cummings

The Sacrifice
by Kathleen Benner Duble

Kimchi & Calamari
by Rose Kent

Black Duck
by Janet Taylor Lisle

by Cynthia Lord

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life
by Wendy Mass

Out of Patience
by Brian Meehl

The Kingdom Keepers
by Ridley Pearson

Hurt Go Happy
by Ginny Rorby

by Roland Smith

by Jerry Spinelli

Adam Canfield of the Slash
by Michael Winerip

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp
by Rick Yancey



Grades 9-12


Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher

A Long Way Gone
by Ishmael Beah

Avalon High
by Meg Cabot

The Nature of Jade
by Deb Caletti

City of Bones
by Cassandra Clare

by Chris Crutcher

The Christopher Killer
by Alane Ferguson

What Happened to Cass McBride?
by Gail Giles

By Alice Hoffman

A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hossani

by David Klass

Wicked Lovely
by Melissa Marr

Street Love
by Walter Dean Myers

Life As We Knew It
by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Boot Camp
by Todd Strasser


What's More Fun Than Reading a Good Book?

For many Florida students, the answer is going head to head with classmates in the annual Battle of the Books competition.

Students across Florida read books selected by school media specialists around the state. Then kids participate in quiz show-style contests about the books' most minute details, complete with buzzers and adrenaline-fueled responses.

In this age of digital natives - those who have never known a world without the Internet - Bonnie S. Kelley, supervisor of library media/technology for Pinellas County Schools, wanted to make sure her Battle of the Books program kept its appeal. Her idea: take the "battle" online.

"Our Battle of the Books program has grown each year and is immensely popular with the students and teachers," Kelley said.

"But I know you have to keep raising the bar to keep kids' interest, so bringing in an interactive online element seemed like a natural choice."

Kelley's idea for a blog where students could discuss books in the Sunshine State Young Readers Award and Florida Teens Read programs was a natural fit for the St. Petersburg Times Newspaper in Education program.

"The Times loves readers, period," said NIE manager Gretchen Letterman, "and the newspaper has embraced the digital shift in the industry with multimedia reporting, dozens of blogs and, in NIE, even podcasting curriculum developed
by a teacher on our staff."

The blog will include discussion questions tying the books' themes to stories in the news, allowing an opportunity for students to respond to more complex questions than those that traditionally appear in the book battle competition.

The Book Battle Blog is located at blogs.tampabay.com/bookbattle. There are separate discussion groups for elementary, middle and high school Sunshine State Young Readers and Florida Teens Read participants. A new book will debut for each grade level every two weeks. This kid-safe site is sponsored by the St. Petersburg Times Newspaper in Education (NIE) program and monitored by Pinellas County Schools Office of Library Media/Technology. Times NIE staff and volunteer library information specialists from around Pinellas County will review all comments before posting.

A joint project of the St. Petersburg Times Newspaper in Education Program and the Pinellas County Schools Office of Library Media /Technology.

Bonnie Kelly, Supervisor of Library/Media/Technology
Pinellas County Schools, St. Petersburg, FL

Frequently Asked Questions


What Is The Book Battle Blog?
This on-line book club is for Sunshine State Young Readers and Florida Teens Read participants to share their views on nominated books with other students from around Tampa Bay and the state.

This kid-safe, monitored site is sponsored by the St. Petersburg Times Newspaper in Education program and and co-hosted by the Pinellas County Schools Office of Library Media / Technology.


Permalink, TrackBack, del.icio.us, Digg, Facebook, Reddit . . . where do I learn what all these blogging terms mean?
Keep in mind that many of the terms you see on blogs are not applicable to what we are doing with the Book Battle Blog. But for those of you who want to be “in the know” click here to download our Blogger’s Vocabulary Guide.

How Do I Grade My Students For Blogging?
Classroom teachers can create rubrics to use for a variety of blog-related assignments. Elements you may want to include in your rubric include:

  • Appropriate responses to blog prompt questions
  • References to the novel, author or illustrator
  • Connection of story to current newspaper article and/or student’s life
  • Respectful references to other group members’ responses or encouraging remarks to others
  • Questions or predictions about the story
  • Discussion of literary structure (e.g., plot, characterization, etc.)

Contact PCSB staffer Corrine McManning at MCMANNINGC@pcsb.org or Times NIE Education Specialist Jill Wilson at jillwilson@sptimes.com.



Student Book Reviews
and Video Projects

Teachers, submit your students' best work related to the books on this site. Print documents should be sent as Microsoft WORD, PDF or JPEG files. Video projects can be sent as a You Tube embedded link or a QuickTime Movie file. Videos should be no longer than one minute. Send to jillwilson@sptimes.com.

How To Use the Book
Battle Blog guide

View a step by step guide

Sunshine State Young Readers
Award Program

Includes annotated book lists for
grades 3-5 and 6-8; teacher and
media specialist resources; school
program promotional ideas; and order
form for buttons, lanyards, bookmarks,
spine labels, "I voted" stickers, pencils,
and silver seals.

Florida Teens Read Program
A Florida Association for Media in Education
(FAME) initiative, this Web site includes
annotated book lists for grades 9-12;
media specialist resources; past winners
and information about the selection process.

Additional Resources for Elementary, Middle and High School