Battle of the Books

Learn more about the Battle of the Books program by clicking on the following links:



What is Battle of the Books?photo of Battle of the Books final competition

The Battle of the Books is an afterschool program for Oahu’s North Shore area elementary students that makes reading social. It’s similar to a child’s version of a game show where teams compete for prizes by answering the most questions correctly about books from pre-selected reading lists. It is organized by the Kahuku Public and School Library, implemented by parent volunteers and supported by participating school’s staff. This is the only multi-school, face to face, interactive reading competition in Hawaii for 1st to 6th grade elementary students organized by a public library.

2015-2016 Participating Schools: Kahuku, La’ie, Homeschool, and Hau’ula Elementary Schools
FInal Competition held at Turtle Bay Resorts on March 11, 2016.

2016-2017 Participating Schools: Sunset Beach, Kahuku, La’ie, Hau’ula Elementary Schools Final Competition held at Turtle Bay Resorts on April 1, 2017.

2017-2018 Participating Schools: Sunset Beach, Kahuku, La’ie, Hau’ula, Homeschool, and Ka’a’awa Elementary Schools
Final Competition to be held in Spring 2018


Who can participate?photo of battle of the books hauula vs homeschool

Students in the 1st through 6th grades living in the Ko’olauloa area can compete in this program, as long as they have parent or teacher coach(es) who can represent their team(s) at program meetings, lead team activities, and act as a liaison between the school administration, students, and the public library.


How does Battle of the Books work?

Public Librarian compiles the reading list, sets up public library display, recruits volunteers, participates in school outreach events, holds coaches meetings, and organizes the final district competition. Adult volunteer coach(es) coordinate with elementary school administrators to promote, recruit, and organize teams. Each coach is responsible for creating a schedule that best fits their school. Since there are 3 divisions (Division I – 1st and 2nd grades; Division II – 3rd and 4th grades; Division III – 5th and 6th grades) a minimum of 3 coaches per school is advised. School librarians may put together a display of the books featured on this year’s list (hyperlink needs to be updated). Multiple copies can also be found at the Kahuku Public and School Library, the Hawaii State Public Library System’s (HSPLS) 49 other branches and/or HSPLS’ digital book vendor OVERDRIVE.

Meeting Times: Students and coaches meet once a month for the first couple months of the program and then once a week leading up to the school and district competitions.


When did Battle of the Books start?photo of Battle of the Books ice breaker group

Battle of the Books has been around for decades on the mainland. In Hawaii, it started in 2015. This school year (20172018) we released the reading list in May 2017. It will last until spring 2018 when Kahuku Public and School Library will host its 3rd annual Battle of the Books District Competition, location TBD. Students from the participating schools will need to win at their school level competitions in February 2018 to qualify for district competition in March 2018.


Does it cost anything to participate?

This competition is completely free for students! School librarians, administrators, and parents may consider purchasing extra copies of the Battle of the Books titles to accommodate more teams, but the titles can also be requested for free using the Hawaii State Public Library System and/or found in the school library.


How were the books selected for the Battle of the Books?photo of Battle of the Books Kahuku Team meeting

The Kahuku Public and School Library modeled its program on America’s Battle of the Books; therefore some of the titles came from this national program. We customized the program to include Hawaiian/Pacific Islander books and to expand the program to 1st and 2nd graders, as well. The books were selected on the following criteria:

  • input from existing Battle of the Books supporters, such as parent coaches and teachers;
  • award-winning literature for children;
  • book about Hawaiian/Pacific Islander cultures; and a
  • balance of genres (Historical Fiction/Graphic Novel/Classic/Science Fiction).

Do students need to read all the Battle of the Books titles for their division?

No, students can read the titles that are suited for their reading level. Collectively, the team should have read all the books on their division list for the best chance at the school and district competition.


What if my child finishes reading all the books on the list before the school competitions in February?photo of Battle of the Books Laie schoolwide competiton

That’s a good problem! Students who read all the books can still enjoy attending the team meetings where a variety of extension activities will be organized by team coaches AND quiz their team members to make their team stronger competitors AND reread their books to make sure they have a solid foundation of their book’s settings, characters, plots, etc. until the school and district competitions.


How can I volunteer or get more information about the Battle of the Books?

Please contact Tamara King, Children’s Librarian – Kahuku Public and School Library at 293-8935 or by email at tamara.king@librarieshawaii.org. The two prior year competitions are available at the links below courtesy of ‘Olelo Executive Media Productions.