Twenty schools participated in this year’s Battle of the Books, the venerable Kamloops-Thompson school district competition among elementary campuses.
After a second sudden death match, Summit elementary claimed victory over an evenly matched McGowan Park team in the Grades 6/7 division.
The Summit duo of Devin Cartwright and Erin Wall received the trophy to display in their school, after earning bragging rights.
The Grades 3/4 battle was won by Arthur Stevenson’s Abigail Tremblay, Ben Bradbury and Slaine Davidson.
Grade 5 winner was the Dallas team of Milla Russo, Keira Hazelwood and Mya Oloresisimo.
The program was founded in 1988 Faith Bailey and seeks to promote reading and to broaden students’ interest in book genres.
“The competition is a good way for children who may not be into school sports to find an outlet to compete in, to learn the love of reading,” Bailey said.
This year, Bailey’s idea was to use Zoom for live competitions at both zone and district level competitions.
“Sixty-four per cent of our schools share a librarian. A librarian has two schools. So, for the Zoom, how are they going to be at Arthur Stevenson and at their other school when it’s the same time?”
Bailey realized the competition could not happen with Zoom, so every teacher-librarian and, at times, teachers, had to run their own zone and district battles with the same questions, then send in their results.
The process definitely took longer to complete this year.
“Battle was totally different this year compared to past years,” Summit teacher-librarian David Lam said, having hosted zone competitions three times in the past.
“Not having the teams together felt very different. Doing it by ourselves, it wasn’t as fun as it was the past. Having seen all the teams excited, coming in with their banners representing each school, was so exciting. This year we couldn’t have that, obviously.”
This year’s Grades 3/4 and Grades 5 winners were decided without any need for sudden death playoff.
Not so for the Grades 6/7 teams.
A tie between McGowan Park and Summit went to a sudden death match, which ended in a tie — forcing yet another sudden death match.
Bailey was quick to come up another dozen questions about books read to put to regular rivals McGowan Park and Summit to decide the winner once and for all.
In the end, the Summit squad emerged victorious.
Student survey results are in from this year, showing which books each grade level enjoyed reading the most.
Fantasy genre a big hit with Grades 3/4
• Upside Down Magic, by Sarah Mlynowski, introduces a brave and resourceful, nine-year-old Nory Horace who likes peanut butter cookies. Also, she’s able to transform into many different animals.
• Wild Robot, by Peter Brown, also took hold of the primary imaginations. It’s about a shipwrecked robot that learns to survive by observing and befriending the animals native to her new island.
Modern-realistic fiction for grade 5 readers
• Mt. Terupt by Rob Buyea takes readers into a fifth-grade classroom in Connecticut, addressing themes of bullying, divorce, teen pregnancy, moral prejudice, special needs, death and guilt.
• Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper focuses on the experiences of Melody, who has cerebral palsy, giving readers first-hand insight into Melody’s experiences.
Modern-realistic fiction for Grades 6/7, too
• The Ant and the Eagle by Alex Lyttle tells the story of Calvin Sinclair, 11, whose brother dies from cancer. The author is a pediatrician, basing the novel on personal experiences.
• Fish In A Tree by Lynda Hunt is about sixth-grader, Ally Nickerson, who misbehaves in school to hide the fact she struggles with reading and writing. Since her dad is in the military, she has moved from school to school, which has helped her keep her secret.
Booking a battle for 2022
The search for next year’s books begins now. Twelve books will be chosen for reading in each of three levels of Battle of the Books, which then sees competitors asked questions about the tomes.
Schools compete in zone contests, with the winners advancing to the district finals. Students can find the books in their schools and local libraries. Chapters bookstore stocks the entire selection of books each year for purchase.