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Scripps National Spelling Bee releases 2018-2019 Great Words, Great Works book list

Posted at 10:12 AM, Jun 26, 2018

The Scripps National Spelling Bee has released its 2018-2019 Great Words, Great Works book list for students to spend time reading, spelling and comprehending, starting this summer.

The list is now available on the Bee’s website,

The Great Words, Great Works list includes 49 titles for students spanning first through eighth grades and all genres from contemporary fiction to classics to nonfiction. The books are carefully selected by the Bee’s editorial team for their engaging and age-appropriate content as well as their rich vocabulary. The books on the list are the source of the Scripps National Spelling Bee’s annual School Spelling Bee Study List – 450 words to help students prepare for a school-level spelling bee.

“Our Great Words, Great Works list strengthens the connection between reading and spelling,” said Paige Kimble, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. “Studying spelling words in the context of a great story gives them incredible staying power. The list can serve as the go-to source for parents who are looking for books that will inspire and benefit their children throughout the year and for teachers who want books that challenge their students and prepare them to be great spellers.”

Here is a sampling of the 2018-2019 Great Words, Great Works list:

  • “Benny Doesn’t Like to Be Hugged” by Zetta Elliott (first grade) is a gentle story of a child’s experience with autism that encourages children to appreciate and accept differences.
  • “Give Bees a Chance” by Bethany Barton (second grade) helps children understand how extra special and important bees are to the world.
  • “Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of an American Feud” by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain and Larry Day (third grade) draws readers into the friendship and rivalry that grew between two Founding Fathers.
  • “CatStronauts: Mission Moon” by Drew Brockington (fourth grade) tells the story of space cats on a mission to set up a solar power plant on the moon. This is the first time the Great Words, Great Works list includes a graphic novel.
  • “The Magic Misfits” by Neil Patrick Harris (fifth grade) shares the adventures of a young street magician who gets the help of friends to stop the thieving ways of villainous illusionists.
  • “The Player King” by Avi (sixth grade) is a historical fiction novel about the boy who falsely claimed to be Prince Edward, the heir to the throne of England, in 1487.
  • “My Brigadista Year” by Katherine Paterson (seventh grade) follows a young Cuban teenager in the 1960s as she volunteers for Fidel Castro’s national literacy campaign to teach others how to read.
  • “Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard (eighth grade) is about palace intrigue, class hierarchy and deception as a woman of humble beginnings is thrust into the elite class.

Click here for the complete 2018-2019 Great Words, Great Works list.

“Nothing makes me feel more inspired than being surrounded by the books that I love because nothing has shaped me more as a person than the words that I’ve read,” said Shelley Johannes, author of “Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker,” a third-grade selection on this year’s list. “I have always been a huge fan of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. I have so much respect and admiration for anybody who goes after a goal with enthusiasm and obsession, and I think that the Bee is so good at that. I will be rooting for all the spellers as they go along on their journey.”

“It is such an honor that the Bee has selected my book as a first-grade fiction recommendation,” said Zetta Elliott, author of “Benny Doesn’t Like to be Hugged.” “I’m excited that so many kids are going to be using books to help improve their vocabulary and their spelling skills.”

While the book list is available to the public, schools that enroll in the Scripps National Spelling Bee program get exclusive access to additional materials including comprehension guides for select titles; activities directly from the authors; and the School Spelling Bee Study List to help students begin their spelling journey to the national finals.

For more information on enrollment or to sign up, go to