Battle of the Books returns for the final battle night


Photo courtesy of RCS Battle of the Books Instagram.

Maddie Lawson, Staff Writer

Whether you’re seeking solace in a community of readers, looking for some lighthearted competition with your friends, or simply looking for a great book; Battle of the Books may be the program for you. 

Jan. 29 is the final battle night for this year’s Battle of the Books. This competition between teams will take place on Zoom at 7 p.m., and the trivia will be on “The Field Guide to the North American Teenager” by Ben Philippe and “The Light at the Bottom of the World” by London Shah.

Battle of the Books is a series of events over the course of several months in the school year designed to get students reading. Participants are on teams, and they prepare for the battle nights together by reading and studying the books on the given list. Each battle night is focused on two different books, so students know what to expect in the trivia questions. The program also offers prizes in the raffles students can enter after participating. Some of this year’s changes have included shortening each battle to only include two books, as well as using Gimkit and Zoom for the competitions. 

As soon as the last battle ends, the process starts right back up again when students start nominating books to be included for the next year. Anyone can nominate books to be included, but the final decisions are made by people higher up.

“When we choose a book, we are usually looking for something that we know our students can relate to,” shared Heather Meloche, one of the event coordinators. “One of our most popular books was YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT by Laura Silverman, which we had on our list last year and focused on the academic pressure from school.  

The range of books included run the gamut in genre. There’s something for everyone, and leaving so much choice in the hands of the readers encourages people to get involved. Participants can pick and choose which events to attend, so no one has to read all of the books, but this variety also encourages people to look outside of their comfort zone in what they read.

“Some of the books haven’t really been my kind of book, but they are good books and I’m glad I read them! The range of books is also really good, they did a good job of including a variety of genres,” says Amelia Windeler, a freshman participating in Battle of the Books this year. 

Rochester Schools have been doing Battle of the Books at the high school level since 2017. It’s for any interested high schooler within the district, and pushes them to pick up a book they might not have otherwise. Though a similar program exists for younger students, part of the appeal of the high school one is that it picks up where Authors in April leaves off. Like Battle of the Books, Authors in April encourages students to read and builds a community of readers within schools. 

“We wanted to bring a literacy enrichment program to RCS that would cater to the high schoolers in our district since they had grown up with Authors in April and no longer had that amazing program once they hit 9th grade,” Meloche says about the importance of the program.

Another highlight of the program is the upcoming author chat, which will take place on Feb. 19 at 5:30 p.m. over Zoom. This is an opportunity for students to ask some of the authors of the featured books questions about their writing or careers. 

“I am looking forward to the author video chat because I like meeting authors, and it reminds me of Authors in April,” Windeler commented. 

Not every author can come speak, but it’s always an exciting chance for students to make connections and ask questions.

“Those up-and-coming writers, and sometimes those writers who have been doing this so long that they are used to chatting with students all the time, tend to be really receptive to wanting to talk to their readers. It gives our students a chance to see and hear who is behind the words and stories they’ve read, and it gives the authors a chance to remember who they are writing for. It’s a win-win!” shared Meloche.

To participate in the event, go to join a team or start your own!