If you’re here for camp in 2020 the website has been moved here:


We’re excited to work with you this year and see what you create!

Novel Inventions 

The purpose of Novel Inventions is to promote critical and creative thinking in a positive virtual environment that brings teams from several schools and classrooms together for friendly collaboration and competition.  

2019-2020  guidelines:  

  • Students will read 2 or more books of their choosing (or from the list of recommended books at the bottom of the page) and complete 1 or more challenges, making sure to incorporate important themes from the books throughout the challenge(s).
  • Participants (both teachers and students) should view postings of other teams and give positive and useful feedback. In order to encourage interaction of teams, only teams  who have provided feedback to others will be eligible for prizes.
  • Prizes will be awarded in each category for exceptional entries! 


Registration takes two simple steps.  First, register your team by completing the brief form at this link :   https://wcu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9ubOBxJ4Encce4B .

Second, if you have not registered on this website in previous years, use the registration tab above so that you can start posting. You can also register your students so they can have access to posting as well.  If you need assistance adding students, just let us know.  

The first team from five different disctricts will be awarded a set of books.


  • New – students can participate in brainstorming ideas for solving world problems through our new pop-up challenge feature. This feature.requires nothing more than posting an idea for a solution to a world problem. Please find under Pop-Up challenges.
  • Registrants will receive  emails with creativity tips to help promote critical and creative thinking and to practice problem-solving skills.
  • In addition, students are encouraged to post 90-second videos recommending books that other students might find enticing to read. Please find under Pop-Up challenges.  


The winners of the challenges for 2018-2019 have been announced and you can see them by clicking the link below.

See the Winners

The Challenges

Challenge 1

Shake Things Up with Picture Books

What would happen if your favorite characters fell into the pages of a picture book?

For this challenge, bring characters from a novel or chapter book into a picture book.  Play with the images in the picture book to discuss the themes and plot of the novel or chapter book.

Picture books are filled with exciting images, colors, and artwork.  The artists experiment with different techniques in order to create pictures for all ages to enjoy.  Retell the main plot of a novel or chapter book using the images and art of a picture book.  Try to use the same writing style as the picture book to depict the themes and plot of the novel or chapter book. 


Challenge 2 

Inventions to Improve Your Day

Are you a problem-solver?  Great inventions come from the desire to improve daily life.  For this challenge, have a character from a novel solve a problem in your classroom, at your school or in your community.

Authors use many techniques to bring their characters to life.  From reading a story, you can guess how a character might respond to a situation outside the book or how they might react to an everyday problem. For this challenge, pick a character from a novel to create an invention that solves a problem at  your school or community.  Make sure the character acts as though he or she might in their own novels and only use materials thater would be available in the character’s time or place.


Challenge 3

Understanding  Cultural Perspectives

Why is it difficult to understand other cultures or another person’s point of view about a critical topic?  For this challenge, bring together characters from two novels or chapter books that reflect two cultures that are different from your own to help raise awareness about a multicultural issue, to promote equity, or to celebrate diversity. 

Appreciating diversity is critical to a healthy society.  Small and large efforts can help people feel accepted and understood.  For this challenge, select novels that represent two different cultures. Bring characters from the novels together to address an issue.  Think about what the characters might do to raise awareness about a multicultural issue, to promote equity, solve a problem related to diversity, or to celebrate diversity. 

Choose one of the following two options to share your creation:

  1. Copy images from your favorite picture book and create a new story with the theme or plot from a novel or chapter book.
  2. Use the same artistic technique of the picture book to create new images telling the story from your novel or chapter book.
  3. Use an old picture book you have permission to alter and replace the text with a new story that reflects your novel or chapter book.

This challenge will be judged on the quality of the final product, the incorporation of themes and plot from the novel or chapter book, and the incorporation of the author’s writing style and/or artist’s techniques from the original books.


Choose one of these options to share your invention:

1  Post a picture or video of a prototype of your invention.  Dress as the character to tell about the solution.

  1. Write a fictional account where the character discusses and uses the invention to solve the problem.
  2. Create a picture book  where the character discusses the problem and uses the invention to solve the problem.

This challenge will be judged on the originality of the idea for the solution to the problem, the extent to which the character has the same traits and characteristics as they do in the novel, and the quality of the submission.  All videos must be no longer than 4 minutes in length.


Choose one of the following options :

  1. Have the characters create an ad campaign (commercial, billboards, or on-line advertisements) to encourage others to become aware of the issue and/or celebrate diversity.  Draw pictures of advertisements or videotape commercials.
  2. Have the characters create an event to help others understand the issue.  Create a 4-minute video or a Powerpoint or Slides presentation with images and descriptions of the event.
  3. Have your characters develop a compassion project that addresses oppression, discrimination, or misunderstanding of a group.  Create a video or visual presentation that depicts the project. 

This challenge will be judged on the extent to which the characters have the same traits and characteristics as they do in their novels, the quality of the submission, and the ingenuity of the ideas.  All videos must be no longer than 4 minutes in length. 


Have your class participate

Your students are invited to participate in this creative endeavor:
designing inventions and solving real-world problems with your favorite fictional characters.

2019-2020 Book Recommendations

 Students and/or their teachers can select their own novels to use or choose from the list below.

Elementary School


The One and Only Ivan (2013) by Katherine Applegate, HarperCollins

Pablo and Birdy (2017) by Alison McGhee, Antheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

Donovan’s Word Jar (2018) by Monalisa Degross, Trophy Chapter Books

The Name Jar (2003) by Yangsook Choi, Dragonfly Books

Calling the Water Drum (2016) by Redding, Lee and Low Books

Middle School


The Little Prince (2000) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Mariner Books

Amina’s Voice (2018) by Hena Khan, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

The Epic Fail (2018) by Arturo Zamora, Puffin Books

Refugee (2017) by Alan Gratz, Scholastic

Betty Before X (2018) by Ilyasah Shabazz, Square Fish



High School


The Sun is Also a Star (2016) by Nicola Yoon, Ember

The Hate You Give (2017) by Angie Thomas, Walker Books

The Namesake: A Novel (2004) by Jhumpa Lahiri, Mariner Books

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2009)  by Sherman Alexie, Little Brown & Company

The Radius of Us (2017) by Maria Marquardt, St. Martin’s Griffin

Additional Guidelines:

  • All products must be posted on the Novel Inventions website so that participating schools can upload and view each other’s work.
  • A brief (1 page) summary of the novel must accompany each entry. This summary should provide context for understanding the challenge submission in relation to the novel(s).
  • Each entry must be posted under the appropriate challenge.
  • Participating students and teachers are asked to give positive useful feedback in the form of brief comments for the entries and “like” the entries that best meet the spirit of each category.  A team of WCU faculty will also rank entries.
  • Recognition will be given for several categories for each theme at each school level. To qualify for prizes, teams must have given feedback in the form of brief comments to at least five other entries.
  • To register, fill out the form linked at the top of the page, under the registration button or the registration button just above the book recommendations.
  • Deadline to register is October 30.  There is no registration fee.
  • The deadline to submit entries is March 30, 2020
  • Students can work on these products independently or in teams.
  • For questions or clarification, please email Lisa Bloom at bloom@wcu.edu or Kristy Doss at kkdoss@wcu.edu.

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