Battle of the Books Declares a Winner

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The Question Marks?, winners of the Battle of the Books are, from left, Dylan Ortiz, Bryce Kucz, Caleb Bushong, Ian Walraven, Justin Peter, and Alex Emery.

By Sue Moore

The fierce Battle of the Books, sponsored by Schoolcraft Library, was won by a team from Tobey Elementary called The Question Marks?—and yes, that question mark is a part of the name.

At the first 32-team round of competition, the team scored perfectly. In the second championship round it was nearly perfect to win outright at the February event.

Three other teams from Sunset Lake Elementary, Parchment North Elementary and Schoolcraft Elementary/MS team, which took second place overall, competed for the Grand Battle.

Coaches for the Question Marks? were moms Christie Walraven and Brenda Peter. This was the team’s second appearance in the Battle which built on their experience and resolve to win, according to Walraven. “The boys worked well together, beginning Nov. 1, 2014 and never let up,” she said.

Teams were required to read 12 books of different difficulty and interest. They had to understand what the author had to say, memorize some things in the book, then answer questions composed by Jenny Taylor, who took long-time librarian Bobbi Truesdell’s place as the questioner.

Taylor, a third grade teacher from Vicksburg’s Sunset Elementary, said, “My biggest challenge was seeing children have hurt feelings on Saturday when they went home.  What I want them all to remember is that they are all winners for doing this program. They read amazing books with challenging content and details.  They met with teams regularly and were accountable to their teammates and coaches.

“They never let up and worked hard to read their study guides and books.  Every child that day was a champion in my book.  What a cool program and I was honored to be a part of it.  I am in awe of the coaches too.  What hard work they put in and I’m proud of them too.”

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These dedicated coaches standing in back of the moderator Jenny Taylor, for the Question Marks? are Brenda Peter and Christie Walraven.

The Schoolcraft Library staff coordinated the event, which was celebrating its 20th year anniversary of serving young people in the Vicksburg, Parchment, and Schoolcraft schools. Faye VanRavenswaay, the new head librarian in Schoolcraft, said she was “grateful the library has Jenny on board with us for our 20th year. Jenny was just a delight to work with and we both felt that we made a great team—with Jenny writing questions and moderating, and me coordinating and organizing the event, we were able to pull it off utilizing our strengths. It kind of felt like we were a tag team on Battle day. I introduced each battle, Jenny asked the questions, and we conferred on challenges and other questions.

“Both days went smoothly despite the crazy Michigan weather. It takes many people to make this event happen each year and we are grateful to all of those volunteers, sponsors, and of course the teams themselves.”

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