CRMS readers turn page to championship Battle of the Books contest

by Sue Austreng
Staff Writer

Coon Rapids Middle School students are real page turners. In fact, 12 teams of voracious young readers spent the past four months devouring the pages of 23 books, digesting character development, plot twists, intricate settings and lively conversation.

Bounty Hunters teammates Christian Wright and Noah Wahl peruse the list of 23 Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award nominees they had each read as they consider their answer to a trivia question posed to them in the opening rounds of Coon Rapids Middle School’s March 2 Battle of the Books. Photo by Sue Austreng

Their page-turning endeavors were set to prep them for the school’s March 2 Battle of the Books, a preliminary round to the districtwide middle schools Battle of the Books event set to take place March 21 at Oak View Middle School.

Responding to curious questions of the trivial sort during the March 2 Battle – and many wearing pink clothing as they participated in a schoolwide declaration against bullying – each CRMS team sifted through their collective recollections to come up with the correct answer.

A wrong answer meant the erring team’s battle had come to an abrupt end.

And wrong answers might be easy to come by when you consider the questions.

Sample questions

Take these questions, for example:

Q: In this book, the school was evacuated because of a strong smell coming from a backpack.

A: “No Girls Allowed (Dogs Okay)”

Q: Finding something slimy in his pocket thrilled the main character of this book.

A: “Melonhead”

Q: A ferret named Ferocious escapes and is rescued by an unlikely hero in what book?

A: “Captain Nobody”

Winning teams

After eight rounds of questioning during their March 2 contest, CRMS’ top three teams advanced to the district Battle of the Books.

Winning teams were:

• Sparkly Ninja Turtles: Madisyn Haukland (grade seven), Sabrina Gonzalez (grade eight) and Leah Mau (grade seven). Last year the Turtles team (then known as the LO Jacobs) competed in the districtwide Battle of the Books and took home first prize.

• Bookie Monsters: Julia Beczkalo (grade six), Viktorie Menna (grade six) and Abby Bautch (grade six).

• Girls Gang (+1): Hannah Yang (grade six), Alexis Brooks (grade six) and Timothy Linegr (grade seven). When Hannah and Alexis’ third Girls Gang member was a no-show for the March 2 contest, they invited Timothy to join them. Turns out, these three make a winning crowd.

“This is our second year doing the Battle of the Books,” said CRMS reading teacher and Battle of the Books organizer Gretchen Wibben. “We’ve grown, too. Last year we had nine teams, this year we have 12 teams. It’s open to all of our students and they’re really excited. They really love reading, so we’ll see how we do.”

Before the CRMS contest began, Principal Tom Shaw addressed the assembled readers.

“Reading is the most important thing you can do… also the most enjoyable thing you can do your whole life,” Shaw said.

“Now, be smart cookies out there. We are the defending champions and we’re so glad you’re here. Have fun.”

Along with the top three CRMS Battle of the Books teams, each of Anoka-Hennepin School District’s other five middle schools will be sending at least one team to the March 21 districtwide Battle of the Books.

The following Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award nominees are the assigned books District 11 Battle of the Books teams read as training for the preliminary rounds as well as the championship round in Anoka-Hennepin School District’s middle school Battle of the Books, set to take place at Oak View Middle School March 21.

“100 Days and 99 Nights” by Alan Madison

“Getting Air” by Dan Gutman

“Melonhead” by Katy Kelly

“Captain Nobody” by Dean Pitchford

“Listen!” by Stephanie S. Tolan

“No Girls Allowed (Dogs Okay)” by Trudi Trueit

“Dragon in the Sock Drawer” by Kate Klimo

“Magic Half” by Annie Barrows

“Please Write in This Book” by Mary Amato

“Football Genius” by Tim Green

“Dyamonde Daniel” by Nikki Grimes

“The Puzzling World of Winston Breen” by Eric Berlin

“Anything But Typical” by Nora R. Baskin

“Brooklyn Nine” by Alan Gratz

“The Juvie Three” by Gordon Korman

“Stolen Children” by Peg Kehret

“Elephant Run” by Roland Smith

“Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow” by Jessica Day George

“The Maze Runner” by James Dashner

“Wednesday Wars” by Gary D. Schmidt

“Matched” by Ally Condie

“Riding Freedom” by Pam Munoz Ryan

“And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie

Sue Austreng is at [email protected]