Members of the Spongey Books from Parkwood Elementary raised their arms in celebration when the final points totals were posted and they realized they won this year’s district-wide Mark Twain Book Battle. They narrowly defeated two teams from Rose Acres that tied for second place and it took three tie-breaker questions to determine the final standings. Another team from Parkwood finished in fourth.
The Book Battle is an annual trivia-type competition hosted by Pattonville's school library technology specialists. During the event, teams of students compete on their knowledge of a predesignated list of books. For the elementary contest, participating students read from among the 12 books nominated by the Missouri Association of School Librarians for the Mark Twain Readers Award.
Parkwood’s library technology specialist Dawn Kasper-Bamberger and Rose Acres library technology specialist Nicole Mikel hosted the competition over Zoom from their libraries with in-person team members working with Villemade students. The questions and scoreboard were shown on a large screen at each school. All answers to each of the three questions in eight rounds was a specific author and title of books on the 2020-2021 Mark Twain Readers Award nominee list.
Kasper-Bamberger said the students have spent months reading and practicing answering questions.
“It gets them excited about the books and the kids always enjoy the event,” she said. “It’s a day for them to get together and discuss the books with other students from other schools and the love of reading is brought to life and it’s a game and it’s just a great time.”
Parkwood fifth grader Liam Conner was the Spongey Books team captain.
“I read five of the 12 books this year,” he said. “I’ve spent the past three days memorizing the book titles and authors so I was ready for today.”
Conner read the books at home and at school and said his favorite one was “The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle” by Leslie Connor.
“It was a really good story and I liked the characters a lot.”
When questions were asked about that book, he said he got them all right, but he relied on his teammates for answers he did not know.
“Well, most of the books that I didn’t read, they did,” Conner said. “We had to guess on some we didn’t know, but I had to trust them and they did a great job.”
The first through third place teams all got medals and every student received a “swag bag” filled with goodies including a copy of a 2022 Mark Twain Readers Award nominee. Parkwood’s team also won the right to display the Elementary Book Battle first place banner in their school library for a year.
“It was nice to have a little normalcy again,” Mikel said. “This is one thing we do every year, and we’ve had so many different tasks we’ve had to take on and monitor, but even though this looked different, it was nice to get to do something that’s an annual event.”
All fourth through sixth grade students in Missouri are encouraged to vote for their favorite books in the Mark Twain Readers Award program if they have read at least four of the nominated books.
Library technology specialists who read and wrote questions for this year's Elementary Book Battle were Nora Bakula from Bridgeway, Tammi Buckner from Drummond, Dawn Kasper-Bamberger from Parkwood; Allison Stout from Remington Traditional; Nicole Mikel from Rose Acres and Jen Bober from Willow Brook.
Full slideshow: https://pattonvillesd.smugmug.