The Battle of the Books began in the 1930s as a Chicago radio station program. Today it is a reading incentive program designed to encourage students to read quality literature in both English and Spanish that creates literacy and the environment of reading. At District 65, students began reading in this year’s Battle of the Books last November.
With the Battle of the Books, each elementary school has a team of fourth- and fifth-grade students who voluntarily take on this extra program. The requirement for the Battle is to read, between the months of November and April, 12 of the 20 books on a list generated by a committee of eight District 65 librarians and teachers. The same requirements are for Desafio de los libros except only the five Two-Way Immersion (TWI) schools are involved and the District committee is made up of a teacher or librarian from each TWI school.
The books are carefully selected so that classics, award-winners and new favorites are considered. All questions in the competition begin with the words “In which book?” The collection is balanced in terms of male and female protagonists, genres represented and how ethnic groups are portrayed.
The Spanish Battle of the Books Desafio de los libros, was held at Dawes School on April 21, and more than 50 District 65 TWI fourth- and fifth-grade students participated. Dewey Elementary School’s team won the competition. The team members were Luca Casler-Bustmante, Adela Bautisa, and Itzel Leon. The program’s sponsor was Dewey librarian Rebecca Bouree.
The Dewey Battle of the Books was held on May 8, and the District-wide Battle of the Books was held on May 14 at Haven Middle School. More than 450 District students participated in their school’s Battle of the Books.
The winning team was from Dawes: Julia Bauman, Ben Levy, and Margaret Adams. The club sponsor is Dawes librarian Sue Jicha.
Four of the books used in this year’s Battle of the Books were “True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp” by Kathi Appelt; “Doll Bones” by Holly Black; “Fatty Legs” by Christy Jordan and Margaret Pokiak Fenton; and “Inside Out & Back Again” by Thanhha Lai. A complete list is available at dewey65.net/teachers/library/battle of the books.