Continuing our theme from last week, here is another booklist of titles featuring competitions. This time, the focus is on contests involving school spelling bees, science fairs, and other homework-related topics. Next time you’re involved in some kind of contest or competition at school, read one of these books for fun or for tips!
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Barry, Dave. Science Fair
At the Hubble School annual science fair, Toby is sick of the same kids winning every year. They cheat, and buy their prize-winning projects! When he learns about a plot to take over the government, via the cheaters’ virus-carrying computer projects, he knows he MUST win. With the help of his friends, Toby takes on bumbling terrorists, an assistant principal, a laser-eyed stuffed owl, and two eBay buyers named Darth and the Wookiee. What transpires is a hilarious adventure filled with mystery, suspense, and levitating frogs.
Gilson, Jamie. Thirteen Ways to Sink a Sub
Hobie Hanson knows that the sounds coming from across the hall can mean only one thing: 4A has a substitute teacher. And she’s sinking fast. Hobie’s certain 4B will never be so lucky; their teacher is as healthy as a horse. The very next day, though, Mr. Star is out. Class 4B is prepared. No stranger could possibly withstand the volley from their vast arsenal of sub sinkers. Except, perhaps, Miss Ivanovitch. It soon becomes clear that it might not be the sub who sinks — this time, it might just be the students.
Grunwell, Jeanne Marie. Mind Games
Six seventh graders find themselves working together on a science-fair project on ESP when they all sign up for an elective called “The Mad Science Club.” To test a scientific hypothesis, they but a State Lottery ticket…and win! As told through the individual voices of a diverse cast of characters, Mind Games crackles with personality. Discoveries from the paranormal to the personal abound in this insightful exploration of friendship, science, ESP—and the lottery.
Kelly, Katy. Melonhead
Adam Melon–otherwise knows as Melonhead–is a self-proclaimed inventor. When his class enters an inventing fair, he and his friend Sam are dream up plans. Can they keep on track, or will they be distracted by other big ideas. But if they can stay on track, all their work will all pay off if they win first place—they’ll be headed to even bigger and better things!
Klise, Kate. Regarding the Bees
The class is beeyond stressed. The kids are preparing for a spelling bee and a horrible standardized test called the BEE (Basic Education Evaluation). To make matters worse, their teacher is filling in as principal. Luckily, he has enlisted the help of a substitute teacher who teaches the class via correspondence, sending assignments to the children while she’s off gathering more information about bees to share with them. It’s a good thing they have Honey, a bee that spells (yes, really!), as their class pet–and the fabulous Florence Waters on their side. Sweet!
Konigsburg, E. L. The View from Saturday
What prompts Mrs. Olinski to choose Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian for the team over the usual overachievers and honor students in her class? What do they know about her, themselves, and each other that puts them so precisely on the same wavelength and gives them such complementary knowledge and experience? Each has a tale to tell, in the course of which all four witness acts of kindness and respect that teach them to find those feelings in themselves and others.
Murphy, Pat. The Wild Girls
It’s 1972. Joan is sure that she is going to be miserable when her family moves. Then she meets a most unusual girl. Sarah prefers to be called “Fox,” and lives with her author dad in a rundown house in the middle of the woods. The two girls start writing their own stories together, and when one wins first place in a student contest, they find themselves recruited for a summer writing class that gives them new insights into themselves and others.
Naylor, Phyllis. Beetles, Lightly Toasted
Andy Moller will do anything to win the school essay contest for fifty dollars and the chance to be in the local newspaper. But how can Andy be inventive and imaginative in an essay contest on conservation? Bugs and beetles, that’s how! Before long Andy’s preparing toasted beetles in brownies, mealworm-filled egg salad sandwiches, and batter-fried earthworms for his friends and family. Will he win the contest and lose his friends and family?
O’Connor, Barbara. Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia
All her life, Bird has wanted two things–to be noticed in her small town and to go Disney World. As it turns out, Bird just might have a chance to realize at least one of her goals because of a state spelling bee. When new friend Harlem agrees to be her partner in the spelling bee, Bird is elated. If they study hard enough, the two might just win everything Bird’s always wanted.
Pearson, Ridley. Steel Trapp: The Challenge
Steel is both blessed and cursed with a remarkable photographic memory. Bound for a science competition, he becomes embroiled in an international plot of kidnapping and bribery during the train trip. Federal agents track Steel and his new-found science geek accomplice, Kaileigh Augustine, as they attempt to put together the pieces of a complex puzzle and prevent the unimaginable, before it’s too late.
Smith, Greg. Ninjas, Piranhas and Galileo
Honoria, Shohei, and Elias, who have been best friends since early elementary school, face conflict over a science project competition gone awry. Each of these characters must navigate through personal minefields made up of family and emotional time bombs in order to survive. Can they unite together against “That Which Is Life” at their exclusive private school?
Weissman, Elissa. The Trouble with Mark Hopper
Mark Hopper is the smartest student in the sixth grade, and he knows it. When another Mark Hopper moves to town (the same age, similar looks), Mark Hopper makes trouble for Mark Hopper. When a teacher forces them to be study partners, they realize that they can benefit from one another’s strengths—and maybe win the Mastermind Challenge together. Trouble is, one Mark wants to win so badly that he’s willing to steal from the other Mark.
Winerip, Michael. Adam Canfield, Watch Your Back!
A much-welcomed snow day turns into an embarrasing nightmare for school reporter Adam Canfield. After being mugged for his snow-shoveling money, Adam becomes the inspiration for an article by the school paper–The Slash– focusing on bullying. Embarrassed, he tries to redirect his fellow reporters with new stories. Adam and the staff of the newspaper take on some very powerful adults to uncover deeply hidden truths in a realistic yet humorous crusade.
Winston, Sherri. President of the Whole Fifth Grade
When Brianna’s hero speaks at her school and credits her success to being president of her own 5th grade class, Brianna is determined to follow in her footsteps. She just knows that becoming president of her class is the first step towards having her own cupcake-baking empire! Then Jasmine Moon announces she is also running for president, and Brianna learns that she may have more competition than she expected. Will she be able to stick to her plan to win the election fairly? Or will she jump at the opportunity to steal votes by revealing an embarrassing secret?
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Enjoy! Next week we’ll visit other kinds of contests, from babysitting wars to stinky sneakers. If you missed it, be sure to check out our Food Contest Booklist from last week!