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Students prepare to face off in Battle of the Books

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Reading begins for the WSMS Battle of the Books Nov. 14

Reading begins for the WSMS Battle of the Books Nov. 14

Reading begins for the WSMS Battle of the Books Nov. 14

LeopardLife Parker Post, Managing Editor

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photo by anthony morgello

Seven teams, four books, multiple questions, but only one winner. The Battle of the Books competition challenges participants’ knowledge of books, thinking and analyzing skills, memory, and ability to quickly state the answer before any of the other teams in order to win the prize.

The Battle of the Books is a competition in which multiple teams read different books, and on competition day, November 14, answer questions about the books. The books are Masterminds, The Wednesday Wars, A Night Divided, and The Playbook.

According to https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062299963/masterminds, Masterminds is a novel about the perfect town of Serenity, New Mexico, where children are protected from the evils of the world around them and taught to trust and be truthful at all times. But when Eli Frieden discovers by chance that the town is more prison than safehaven, his safe and happy world begins to unravel. Rather than the children of loving parents, Eli and a few friends learn that they are actually the subjects of a once-forbidden experiment. Together, they plan a daring breakout. But will they survive? And if they do—where do they go from there?

Another one of the books featured is The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D Schmidt. According to https://www.enotes.com/topics/the-wednesday-wars, The Wednesday Wars is a realistic, but unbelievable young adult novel. The realism comes from how Gary D. Schmidt sets the main character Holling Hoodhood and his sufferings in junior high. The tension between Holling and his teachers, his classmates, and his family is strikingly real, even when he believes one of them will kill him. A second theme of harsh realism radiating through the novel is the Vietnam War. Whether it is the fear caused by the war itself—Mrs. Baker’s husband is in combat—or the rebellion that passed over Holling’s sister, Heather, the feel of the period is intensely real. Life changes for these characters as it changed for many Americans during the time period.

Then there is the unreality that leads to the novel’s fine comic touches. Some of this comes from the fierceness. Some come from the hard-to-believe coincidences, as happens when he ruins the cream puffs by accident or when he starts running cross-country, only to have Mrs. Baker reveal herself to be a former Olympic athlete. And some of it comes from the at-times surreal mix of phrases from Shakespeare and contemporary teenage life.

The third book in the competition is The Playbook by Kwame Alexander. According to https://bookpedia.co/book/1132426901/the-playbook, The Playbook is about inspiration on the basketball court and in daily life. Athletes such as LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Serena Williams are featured in the book along with poetry and uplifting, inspirational quotes. Alexander shares stories about overcoming tough times and winning the game of life.

Finally, A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen, is about 12-year-old Gerta who finds herself stranded and alone after the family split with the rise of the Berlin Wall. The men in the family went to search for work, but couldn’t go home. Gerta is scared for her parents and family but looks at the wall and longs for freedom. After seeing her father on the western side and receiving a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts the pieces together and has to find her dad.

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Students prepare to face off in Battle of the Books