1710 West St Andrews

 Midland MI 48640

 (989) 837-3430


The Grace A. Dow Memorial Library is closed through April 13, 2020

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Our Mission: to inspire lifelong learning by connecting people and resources


Battle of the Books is a program designed to encourage and reward fourth and fifth grade readers.  Grace A. Dow Librarians choose fifteen books which encompass a variety of interests and introduce students to a wide range of literature.  During Battle season, students discuss the books with their teammates, team manager and other adults, so that reading becomes a shared activity.  While reaping the rewards of reading and team building, the students also discover that they are having a lot of FUN!


The Battle season kicks off on December 15th with the release of the booklist. This is the first day that Battle books will be available for checkout.


After the release, students interested in participating in Battle of the Books must form teams of four to six readers, have an adult team manager, and choose a name for their team.  Team managers should accompany their students to the Battle Briefing on January 11th.   By mid-January, teams must be registered with Youth Services.  Registration is limited to the first 56 teams. The battles begin in early February and conclude with the championship battle in March.  See “Battle of the Books Schedule” for more specific information.


All registered teams will be assigned to a specific location for the First Written Battle. At that time, each team member will receive a T-shirt for participating in the Battle of the Books.  No spectators will be admitted at Written Battles.  Teams will be notified of their scores within three days.  Teams that qualify will move on to the Second Written Battle which will follow the same format.  The top 8 teams from the Second Written Battle will participate in the Oral Battle Day at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library. See “Written Battle Guidelines” for more specific information.


On Oral Battle Day each team will participate in three battles at various locations throughout the library.  Four teams will be assigned morning sessions, and four teams will be assigned afternoon sessions.  The team with the highest ranking in the morning will battle the highest ranking afternoon team at the Championship Battle.  See “Oral Battle Day Guidelines” and “Championship Battle Guidelines” for more specific information.


The Championship Battle will take place the following weekend in the Library Auditorium with a reception following the Battle.  All registered teams are encouraged to attend and celebrate teamwork and reading!


2019-2020 Schedule

Battle of the Books


Battle Manager Meeting

Tuesday, December 10                              6:00 PM                              Community Room

An opportunity to discuss manager’s role and overview of the program.


Booklist and Battle Books Released

Sunday, December 15                                1:00 PM                              Youth Services Area

Battle books will be available upon opening of the library.


Battle Briefing

Saturday, January 11                                    11:00 AM                           Library Auditorium

A chance for your team members to observe how the Written and Oral Battles are conducted!


Team Registration Deadline

Sunday, January 19                                      5:00 PM                              Youth Services Desk

It is the responsibility of the Team Manager to turn in the Registration form in person by the deadline.



1st Written Battle         

Tuesday, February 11                                    4:30 PM                              Assigned Middle School Cafeterias

SNOW DATE:  Thursday, February 13                                                                                                                                                                                           


2nd Written Battle                  

Tuesday, February 18                                    4:30 PM                              Northeast Middle School Cafeteria

SNOW DATE:  Thursday, February 20


Oral Battle Day           

Saturday, February 29                                    AM or PM, as assigned      Library



Championship Battle  

Saturday, March 7                                           2:00 PM                              Library Auditorium



Battle Reception

Saturday, March 7                                           2:45 PM                              Library Mezzanine

 A celebration of and for ALL Battle Teams!  





Being a Battle of the Books team manager is a very important job.  The team manager helps the team work together by dividing up reading responsibilities, helping the team practice, and making Battle of the Books a fun, positive experience. 


We encourage you to attend the Battle Briefing in January with your team.  You will be able to see first-hand how Written and Oral Battles are conducted and have a chance to ask questions.


As the team manager, it is your responsibility to register your team at the Youth Services Desk.  Team Registration forms are included in the Team Manager Packet, which will be available for pickup at the Youth Services desk starting the day of the booklist release, Sunday, December 15.  The completed form must be returned in person to the Youth Services Desk by 5:00pm on Sunday, January 19, 2020. Some schools have additional forms to be filled out, so also check with your principal, media staff, or school Battle Coordinator about what is required at your school.


A person can act as team manager for more than one team if they so choose.


When choosing a team name, remember that school names cannot be a part of the team name and that your team name will be listed exactly as it appears on the form.  Your team should also select an alternate name, since team names are given to the first team to submit the registration form to the Youth Services Desk, and your first choice may have already been taken. 


It is a hard, but true, fact of Battle that approximately half of the registered teams will qualify for the Second Written Battle, and only eight teams will have the chance to participate in Oral Battle Day.  An important part of Battle of the Books is having fun as a team, and there are many ways to accomplish this regardless of how far your team goes in the battles. 


We also encourage you and your team to attend the Championship Battle and the reception afterward, which the library hosts to celebrate all of the teams. 


The library staff deeply appreciates the hard work and commitment of the team managers who make Battle of the Books possible.




The following hints have been suggested by previous team managers.

Please choose the ones you feel comfortable using.



  • Remember that reading should - first and foremost – be enjoyable, so keep your team’s interest up and the pressure off by planning fun activities related to the books.


  • Let your team members and their parents know what you expect of them in terms of reading and commitment.Have them acknowledge their agreement to these commitments by signing a permission slip.


  • Encourage each team member to read as many books as possible.Some managers divide the books, making each team member responsible for certain books.


  • Make a chart with the book titles across the top and your team members’ names down the side.As each member finishes a title, put a star in the appropriate spot.


  • Keep notes for all of the books with the main characters, the important events, the settings, etc. listed below each title.


  • As your team members read the books, have them write down questions and share them with other team members.


  • Let each member practice writing down the answers and giving out the answers orally.Divide your team and have mock battles.Give each member a chance to participate in these mock battles. Get your team into the habit of giving the author’s last name first and then the answer to the question.


  • Quiz the members periodically for authors’ last names.


  • Read some of the books yourself and discuss them with team members.


  • As a team, plan to attend the Championship Battle and the reception after the battle.


  • Emphasize the fact that every participant is a winner.It is important for your team members to learn to win and lose graciously.