Battle of the Books (BOB) is a statewide competition, through the N.C. School Library Media Association. Locally, it is held annually in the Henderson County Public Library’s main branch. First was for middle schoolers, later for students in grades four through six. It has been statewide since 2001-02 for middle school, and 2010 for elementary teams.
HCP Library Youth Services Coordinator Kathy Kirchoefer is BOB district (county) coordinator. She said an underlying aim is to “increase interest in reading,” in BOB competitors and for them to lead by example and “get their peers to read more.”
Student panelists last week seemed “extra sharper than usual,” Kirchoefer said. “They were almost perfect, in all three rounds.”
A typical question is to give a quote, then ask what character says it and from which book on a prescribed list.
Rugby won the county/district middle school BOB title Feb. 24 with 124 points. Hendersonville Middle had 83, Apple Valley 72 and Flat Rock Middle 65. Questions pertained to a list of 27 books.
Then last week, Atkinson Cougars won the local elementary crown. Isaac Hendrix, Brock Hill, Raleigh Prichard and Reese Redden were contestants. The team is named League of Four. Next, they compete April 25 in a regional meet in Asheville that has teams from six area counties.
Lynne Evans, the school media specialist, coaches them. Her assistant is Rosemary Stalter. They are proud of the four students. Evans said the two “teams were very well matched.”
HES had the maximum of 12 students on a team. The coach is Candice Greedy, assisted by Marisol Gollnick and Adah Robertson. The BOB squad is aptly named the “BOBcats.” The school’s sports teams are Cubcats — a take-off of Hendersonville High School Bearcats.
AES and HES for three years have been the sole elementary schools deciding to compete, and thus forming BOB teams.
There are 12 questions in each of three rounds. Panelists take turns answering the question, but are encouraged to confer with teammates for input — even if they are confident they know the answer, Kirchoefer noted.
Questions relate to content in any of a list of 18 books given to students months ahead, so they have time to read and comprehend them, she said. Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate, is on homelessness and other family stress. Fish in a Tree is a whacky-titled book by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, also on the ‘16-17 list. Alan Gratz’s futuristic The League of Seven is an intriguing one.
The 2017-18 book list is already out for elementary students. Its 15 books includes Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi, Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm, Andrew Clements’ Extra Credit and Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.
The 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program began in January, and continues at all local library branches.
The main library starts summer reading for youth on May 31, at 4 p.m. Its LEGO Club meets each first Wednesday at 4 p.m., also in the youth section in rooms by Washington Street.
Storytime there has four groups. Three are by age. Preschool (ages 3-5) is on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. Toddler Time (18-35 months) on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m., and Bouncing Babies on Thursdays at 11:15 a.m.
The other is Music and Movement each Thursday at 10:30 a.m., led by Youth Services Librarian Lisa Donaldson. Nearly 20 young children were there with parents last Thursday, swaying and bouncing about to music.
Family storytime for children of various ages are in the Edneyville and Mills River branches on Mondays at 10 a.m., Etowah on Tuesdays at 10 a.m., Fletcher on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and Green River on Thursdays at 10 a.m.