East Lincoln Middle School students (left to right) Cooper Hart, Laurel Johnson and Angel Becerra practice for the regional competition of Battle of the Books. Most team members have read at least 20 books in preparation for the competition.
Sarah Grano/ Lincoln Times-News
Bookworms with a competitive edge have found a place to shine at East Lincoln Middle School.
The eight students participating in Battle of the Books have won the district competition and have started preparing for the regional competition.
â€œWe just quiz each other on the authors constantly,â€ said Suzanne Matthews, a member of the club.
The students have scheduled time after school to have mock competitions, but they also drill each other while switching classes and eating lunch.
Two members of the club have read all of the 27 books that make up the Battle of the Books book list. Most of the team members have read at least 20 of the books.
The district competition took place at North Lincoln High Schoolâ€™s auditorium underneath bright lights. It was the rookie teamâ€™s first competition.
â€œI felt very nervous. Itâ€™s like youâ€™re going up on a stage and youâ€™re about to sing your first song,â€ said Katherine Dail, a club member. â€œThe lightâ€™s just in your eyes the whole time.â€
The team had to answer questions on the 27 books and also name the bookâ€™s author.
â€œTheyâ€™re not obvious questions,â€ said Amanda Vickers, who acts as the clubâ€™s advisor along with Lori Marco. â€œThey could be about any little thing in the book.â€
Books on the Battle of the Books list range in length and skill level. Students seem to favor fantasy books like â€œDealing with Dragonsâ€ by Patricia C. Wrede and â€œThe Giverâ€ by Lois Lowry.
â€œI like other worlds,â€ said Katherine. â€œI like magic and sorcery and princesses and princes.â€
â€œWatership Down,â€ despite itâ€™s fantastical premise of talking rabbits, has proven to be the most disliked of the books.
Cinnamon Mittan, a club member, didnâ€™t like the bookâ€™s small print and long length.
â€œI didnâ€™t like Watership Down that much because itâ€™s all about rabbits,â€ said Cinnamon. â€œIâ€™m not really a rabbit person.â€
The club is made up of a variety of students, but they all share one common characteristic.
When looking for club members Vickers asked fellow teachers one question: â€œDo you have a student who always has their nose in a book?â€
Although members of the club compete in sports, watch television and play video games, they all make time for reading.
â€œI love to read,â€ said Katherine. â€œBooks take me to another world, and it takes me away from all my problems, like math.â€
The rush of winning a competition hasnâ€™t hurt their motivation.
â€œI donâ€™t take it so seriously that itâ€™s not fun, but I take it seriously enough that I finish the books and know the authors,â€ Cinnamon said.
Few of the members of the team expect to come home from the regional competition victorious, but they donâ€™t seem too nervous.
â€œI know whatâ€™s going on now,â€ said Suzanne.
She wasnâ€™t quite so laid back during the first competition in which she shook and tightly held on to a pack of gum.
â€œI squeezed it so much that it was in shreds,â€ Suzanne said.
Her advisor has faith in the team. â€œI think theyâ€™re going to do really well. They really surprised us at the district competition,â€ said Vickers. â€œThey pulled it off.â€ by Sarah Grano