By Sue Moore
A team of 4th graders from Sunset Elementary school walked away the winners at the Grand Battle of the Books, sponsored in late February by the Schoolcraft District Library. It’s a voluntary reading competition that requires remembering all sorts of arcane facts about each book they are assigned to read.
The Star Readers, a team of all boys, were leading the other three teams right from the beginning of the contest with an almost perfect score. They came up short on only two of 21 questions for the contest. Their total score of 99 points was 10 points better than the runner up team of Remembering Marvel from Schoolcraft.
A total of 29 teams with 179 children entered from Schoolcraft and Vicksburg elementary buildings. Students from 4th through 6th grade are eligible to form teams of five to seven kids, with six preferred. They appoint captains and have one or two coaches to help with suggestions on reading and remembering the details in the 12 required reading books.
In the competition, moderator Jenny Taylor asked detailed questions about the books from a predetermined reading list. Team members must provide the correct answer to the question and the book’s author to score points. They start reading in early November, then figure out the name of their team and the T-shirt designs they’ll wear for the contest.
The tension is palpable on the stage when the last four teams standing for the Grand Battle take the stage. There is a lot of energy coming from the team members every minute of the hour-long contest. Scores are flashed up on the big Schoolcraft Performing Arts Center screen for the large audience to watch during the Q&A session.
The winning Star Readers team was comprised of Matthew Peters, captain; Isaac Sandelin, captain; Oliver Hammond, Caiden Caswell, Quincy Schwartz and Ian Triemstra. Their two coaches were Brenda Peters and Connie Sandelin. The Book Einsteins from Vicksburg were third and the Roaring Readers from Schoolcraft came in fourth.
Faye VanRavenswaay the Schoolcraft library director is the coordinator for the Battle. She and Taylor a third grade teacher at Sunset School both serve as judges. The also work together to choose the books each year. Also, it was the 22nd year for Thom and Kris DeWolf volunteering at the scoring table.