Battle of the Books

Derrick Voss, A&E Writer

Book lovers in the Xavier community have the opportunity to put their comprehension skills to the test. For the past three years, Xavier readers have competed in Iowa’s Battle of the Books. The premise is Iowa High School students, under the direction of a coach, read a total of 28 books and discuss them as a team. Then the teams participate in a multiple choice comprehension test and an author name test. This first round of testing is completed at their school. The top ten teams then travel to Marshalltown to compete in the grand battle to be crowned champion. There are 61 teams competing in the 2019 Battle of the Books.

Newberry Medal winning book The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill is just one of the books participating students will read. Photo from Bing Images.

Xavier High School’s team is called the Page Turners, coached by Xavier educator, librarian and book lover Mrs. Tracie Marshall, and assisted by English teacher Mrs. Emily Moses. The competitors are juniors Nicole Constant, Penelope Gardner, Katherine Surur, Kaylie Skoumal, Emma Stadelmann and sophomore Allison Talyat. Xavier has seen success in their short tenure of participating in Battle of the Books, qualifying for the grand battle in 2017.

“Any teacher in a Iowa high school can join this competition. The main reason I would encourage other schools to participate is simply because it’s so much fun,” Mrs. Marshall said.

IHSBOB includes award-winning literature to support the overall mission of introducing award-winning books and authors. They include well known awards such as the famous Newbery Medal, but also smaller awards, such as the Schneider Family Book award that celebrates artistic expression of a child with disabilities.

“The biggest reward for me is simple, we have six teenagers meeting up monthly talking about good books,” Mrs. Marshall said.

Winning a competition is an accomplishment for any school and gives students the opportunity to read and experience new books.