This year Pangyo sixth grader Sydney participated in her first Battle Of The Books. Below, she explains the event and tells her story.
Battle Of The Books (BOTB) is an annual KIS Middle School tradition sponsored by the MS PTO and the Secondary Library. Teams of two people are created by the students. They register in the library by signing up and choosing a creative or funny team name. The competitors have all of December and most of January to read four books with the same theme. The theme changes every year.
In Round One, teams answer questions by writing their answer on a whiteboard. When thirty seconds is up, all teams show their answers to the judge. There are questions of increasing difficulty worth two to six points each. The winning team from each Battle Room in Round One will go on to compete against each other in Round Two. After Round Two, the three undefeated teams battle for victory in the PAC in front of the whole middle school! (PRESSURE COOKER!) There are prizes from the MS PTO and medals for all six finalists from the Secondary Library.
I was definitely scared going into Battle Of The Books for the first time as a sixth grader this year. I wanted to call in sick and not even try. I was afraid that if I lost in Round One, my partner would be mad at me and I would be teased. My mom encouraged me to try and she wouldn’t let me call in sick.
I’m glad that I decided to try and it turned out that I knew more about the books I read than I thought I would. I’m glad I entered the 2018 Battle Of The Books. It was new to me and scary, but fun all at the same time.
In Round One, my team, LLAMA (my partner was Davine, G6) won by ten points, but in Round Two, we lost by fifteen points. I still felt accomplished and happy because I knew my team went out with a fight.
The best part about BOTB was reading the books. The theme of the 2018 Battle Books was #WeReadDiverseBooks and all of the authors share diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. I read the graphic novel, NewsPrints by Ru Xu (she was born in Beijing) more than once. Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton is a novel in verse and it was good, but not my favorite. It is the story of an American girl named Mimi whose mother is from Japan and whose father is an African American. Mimi wants to take shop class so she can build a better science fair project, but her school won’t let girls take shop. Mimi overcomes a lot just to be accepted at her school and to change the school policy about who can take shop. There was also a non-fiction book in the Battle called Shackles From The Deep by Michael Cottman about a sunken slave ship. Michael Cottman’s ancestors were brought to America from Africa as slaves and in this book he follows the path of the slave ship all the way back to Africa to honor their lives and learn about their hardships. The last book was my favorite though. I enjoyed It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel so much that I am reading it again. It is a book written by an Iranian woman named Firoozeh Dumas. It’s a great story that is partly autobiographical, since many of the things that happened to “Cindy” in the book happened to Firoozeh Dumas in real life.
You can be anything you want to be with just a little effort.
If you are wondering about whether you should sign up for the next KIS MS Battle Of The Books, just do it! You will have a great time reading the same books as your friends, coming up with a weird team name, and showing what you know in the competition. I wonder what the theme will be for the 2019 KIS MS Battle of the Books?
Thank you Sydney for your account and encouraging other to participate next year! Photos from Kristi Green.