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Teams win Battle of the Books

From left: Dalen Burrows, Whisper Vanslyke, Kelsea Billings and Lily Agee of Oak Grove Middle School Team 1 confer on the answer to a bonus question during the 2019 Battle of the Books at the Paragould Community Center. The team won the battle, topping 10 other teams from Corning, Hillcrest, Paragould and Greene County Tech. The Tech fourth-grade team won in its division.

Gary Exelby / Daily Press

BY GARY EXELBY gexelby@paragoulddailypress.com

Oak Grove Middle School has won the Battle of the Books held Friday at the Paragould Community Center.

Its Team 1, consisting of sixth-graders Whisper Vanslyke, Kelsea Billings and Lily Agee; fifth-grader Dalen Borrows, and alternate Chloe Brown (also in sixth grade), battled to the top, overcoming 10 other school teams from Corning, Hillcrest, Paragould and Greene County Tech for the first place trophy on Friday.

In addition, Greene County Tech's fourth-grade team, consisting of Nate Krumholz, Lauren Shain, Bethany Austin and Mason Mooney, topped its three-team division.

According to Greene County Tech Middle School Librarian Kim Simpson, the Battle consisted of teams answering questions from any or all of 11 books the teams committed to reading at the start of the school year. "It's set up along the lines of Quiz Bowl or College Bowl," she said.

Moderator Terry Johnson, herself a retired librarian at Tech Middle School, asked "toss-up" questions from the 11 assigned books, that members of either team could answer. Upon a correct answer to the toss-up, the correctly answering team got to try to answer bonus questions; each correct answer earned points for the team.

The Battle consisted of rounds between pairs of schools, with the winner of a given round advancing to the next bracket, until only two teams remained. In that final bracket, Oak Grove defeated Greene County Tech Middle School's Team 1, consisting of sixth-graders Natalie Jordan, Hayden Jackson, Jackson Kidd and Jasmyne Vanslyke, by a 325-155 score.

The students were to read the 11 books thoroughly enough to be able to answer detailed questions about each.

"Teachers and librarians wrote the questions," Simpson said, "and the teams also practiced with other questions."

The Battle of the Books dates back to 1971, and is meant to honor Arkansan Charlie May Simon (1897-1977), author of numerous children's books. The books read by the students in this year's Battle of the Books include:

Garvey's Choice, by Nikki Grimes

Soar, Joan Bauer

Skunked, by Jacqueline Kelly

Wish, Barbara O'Connor

Jubilee, by Patricia Reilly Giff

Raynie Nighingale, by Kate DiCamillo

Counting Thyme, by Melanie Conklin

Write This Down, by Claudia Mills

Paper Wishes, by Lois Sepahban

Full of Beans, by Jennifer L. Holm

Gertie's Leap to Greatness, by Kate Beasley