Oak View team wins Battle of the Books

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

The seventh annual Anoka-Hennepin Battle of the Books was held at Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids Feb. 22.

The Calico Pink Pandas of Oak View Middle School answer a question during the seventh annual Battle of the Books. Photo by Olivia Alveshere
The Calico Pink Pandas of Oak View Middle School answer a question during the seventh annual Battle of the Books. Photo by Olivia Alveshere

Voracious readers in grades six through eight teamed up to answer questions about 25 young adult novels selected by Anoka-Hennepin teachers. Preliminary battles were held at each of the six district middle schools, and top teams advanced to a districtwide competition.

“It’s a big deal to get to the district battle just like it is to get to the playoffs,” said Julie Scullen, teaching and learning specialist for reading in the district and Battle of the Books coordinator.

Nineteen teams of students were invited to participate in the district battle, and those were whittled down to one after many rounds of questions.

Kyra Hinkel, Anya Schepp and Addi Roozenboom, the Calico Pink Pandas of Oak View Middle School, were named champions after going back and forth for more than 10 rounds with Matthew Johnson, Da’Miah Jones and Allison Mueller, the No Namers from Jackson Middle School.

“It was a tense and hard-fought battle,” Scullen said.

Oak View Middle School has brought home the Battle of the Books trophy four of the past seven years.

“I’m really excited that there are so many students here excited to read books,” said Patrick Duffy, director of secondary schools. “Great characters and great stories in books can help give us meaning.”

Seventh-grader Emily Jacobson of Oak View Middle School’s Pancake Appreciation Club team said Battle of the Books has had her turning more pages.

“It just really helped me get into reading more,” she said.

Emily’s twin brother Owen Jacobson would recommend “The Great Greene Heist” by Varian Johnson to other readers.

“If anyone wants to read the book themselves, it’s a pretty good book,” he said.

The hundreds of students participating across all Anoka-Hennepin middle schools named “The Tapper Twins Go to War (With Each Other)” by Geoff Rodkey as their favorite comedy and “The Adoration of Jenna Fox” by Mary Pearson their favorite drama, Scullen reported.

The book students were most surprised to have enjoyed was a four-way tie between “A Night Divided” by Jennifer Nielsen, “Flygirl” by Sherri Smith, the young adult version of “I am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai, and “Nickel Bay Nick” by Dean Pitchford.

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Nineteen teams from all six Anoka-Hennepin Middle Schools participate in the district Battle of the Books Feb. 22. Photo by Olivia Alveshere The Jackson Middle School No Namers came in second in the district Battle of the Books. Photo by Olivia Alveshere The Northdale Bookatiers of Northdale Middle School successfully answer a question about one of the 25 novels they were asked to read. Photo by Olivia Alveshere Each member of the Coon Rapids Middle School team The Divergent read all 25 young adult novels in preparation for the battle. Photo by Olivia Alveshere The Page Turning Monsters from Roosevelt Middle School wear matching T-shirts to the Battle of the Books. Photo by Olivia Alveshere Anoka Middle School for the Arts’ The Three Booketeers wait with bated breath to see if their answer is correct. Photo by Olivia Alveshere Anya Scheep, Kyra Hinkel and Addi Roozenboom of Oak View Middle School triumph in the seventh annual Battle of the Books. Photo submitted
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The Northdale Bookatiers of Northdale Middle School successfully answer a question about one of the 25 novels they were asked to read. Photo by Olivia Alveshere