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