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Larchmont Teens Excel At 'Battle Of The Books'

'Battle of the Books' semifinalists from Larchmont, front row: Sophie Thorpe and Maria Haralampopoulos. Back Row (from L to R): Zechariah Ramos, Mark Yukelis, Daniel Karn and Mimi Lee
'Battle of the Books' semifinalists from Larchmont, front row: Sophie Thorpe and Maria Haralampopoulos. Back Row (from L to R): Zechariah Ramos, Mark Yukelis, Daniel Karn and Mimi Lee Photo Credit: Larchmont Public Library

OSSINING, N.Y. -- Westchester County's second annual "Battle of the Books" was held on Saturday at Ossining High School with teams representing 16 Westchester Public Libraries participating.

"Battle of the Books" is a book-based trivia tournament for Westchester youth in grades fourth through ninth.

The goal of the program is to promote a love of reading in kids and teens, to expose them to titles and authors that they might not encounter otherwise, to encourage them to think of their local public library as a resource for entertainment and to inspire teamwork and good sportsmanship in an atmosphere of friendly competition.

The Larchmont Public Library fielded a team in the Teen division of the competition and nearly made it to the semi-finals. Teen Librarian Kim Larsen coached the Larchmont team. “Celebrating reading, encouraging teamwork, fighting to win and accepting defeat in a sportsmanlike manner…what an amazing experience," said Larsen. “This was the Larchmont Library’s first time participating in the Battle of the Books, but it won’t be the last!”

Two separate tournaments occurred, one for children (grades fourth to sixth) and one for teens (grades sixth through ninth). In total, nearly 250 young people participated. Each age group was provided with a list of five books they were required to read; each team reading the same five books. The trivia questions fielded to each team in the competition were based on these books.

Teams were divided into two regions – Westchester North and Westchester South – and were awarded points for correct answers. The team from each region with the most points advanced to a playoff with competition continuing until a single winner was announced. In the grades sixth to ninth, group for 2015, the team from the Briarcliff Public Library emerged victorious.

The competition is very team-oriented, and collaboration is allowed on every single question. 'Battle of the Books' “tends to draw avid readers,” says Liz Anastasi of the Field Library in Peekskill, who initiated Battle of the Books in Westchester.

In the spring, five books were selected for each competition (children and teens). Participants read the books over the summer and weekly team practices began in September.

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