The 16th annual Pattonville Area-Wide Middle School Book Battle was held on May 9 at Pattonville Heights Middle School with 25 teams. Holman Middle School, Pattonville Heights Middle School and Remington Traditional School each had a team competing at the event.
The team from Parkway South Middle School won the Book Battle with Ladue Middle School and Parkway West Middle finishing in second and third place, respectively.
The book battle gives middle school students in the St. Louis area the opportunity to meet and discuss current books of interest. The Area-Wide Book Battle Committee creates a list of 20 books that includes a variety of genres and reading levels.
There are 10 rounds with five questions each and the committee develops questions for each book that are formatted so each answer is the title and author of a book on the list. Some of the questions are fairly obvious, while others require a deeper understanding of the book. In addition, trivia rounds and tiebreaker questions require team members to provide details from the books. All questions are kept securely at Remington Traditional School throughout the book battle process and only members of the Area-Wide Book Battle Committee have access to them with Remington Traditional committee members selecting the final questions.
Two authors that had books on this year’s booklist presented via Zoom during the event. Laura Martin, author of “Glitch,” and J.L. Esplin, author of “96 Miles” presented to the competitors and shared their writing processes.
One team per middle school may register and teams may be made up of sixth, seventh, and/or eighth grade students enrolled in the registered school with a maximum of eight students per team. There is no minimum number of participants on a team but only six students will be allowed to play at any one time.
The members this year from Pattonville teams were:
Pattonville Heights Middle School: Caleb Guss, Wesley Paulson, Oliver Strausser, Lakshman Kalalakannan, Morgan Leb, Sydney Stranghoener, Molly Maue, Riley Orach; coached by Sarah Slane and assistant coach Chelsea Bowles.
Holman Middle School: Macie Bowersox, Abby Edmonds, Harry Vandernoot, Sammie Miller, Markus Istephan Center, Kori Lewis, Ciara Ratliff, Taylor Williams; coached by Emily Difani and assistant coach Jessica Brandenburg.
Remington Traditional School: Taylor Flores, Lakshita Raja, Hebron Ephrem, Samay Verma, Justyce Sanders, Juliana Huling, Nialye Dunn; coached by Lisa Kraemer and assistant coach Heather Williams.
Teams began reading and preparing for the competition in October. This year’s list included 20 books:
- “96 Miles” by J. L. Esplin
- “Ali Cross” by James Patterson
- “Born Behind Bars” by Padma Venkatraman
- “City Spies” by James Ponti
- “Closer to Nowhere” by Ellen Hopkins
- “Double the Danger and Zero Zucchini” by Betsy Uhrig
- “Dress Coded” by Carrie Firestone
- “A Duet for Home” by Karina Yan Glaser
- “Fighting Words” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
- “Glitch” by Laura Martin
- “The Henna Wars” by Adiba Jaigirdar
- “I Must Betray You” by Ruta Sepetys
- “Maya and the Rising Dark” by Rena Barron
- “New From Here” by Kelly Yang
- “Splinters of Scarlet” by Emily Bain Murphy
- “This Golden State” by Marit Weisenberg
- “Tornado Brain” by Cat Patrick
- “Troublemaker” by John Cho
- “Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor” by Ally Carter
- “A Wish in the Dark” by Christina Soontornvat
Scholastic Book Fairs supported the author visit and provided some of the prizes and Main Street Books supplied additional prizes as well as brought books to sell. The St. Louis County Library was also a supporter of the event.
Pattonville Heights Middle School teacher librarian Julie Harder has hosted the event for its 16 years and will be retiring at the end of the school year.
Book Battle organizers from Pattonville School District are Julie Harder and Rachel Woodson at Pattonville Heights, Angie Huesgen and Whitney Strubhar at Holman Middle School, and Jill Ramig and Diane Langston at Remington Traditional School.