If an AOS 93 school repeats the feat of winning the statewide Great Maine Book Tournament this year, Great Salt Bay Community School students will be at the helm.
A team of four GSB seventh and eighth graders won AOS 93’s Great Maine Book Tournament on Tuesday, Jan. 30, and will move up to the regional competition next month. South Bristol School students won the state competition in May 2023.
At all levels, the competition quizzes students about 15 books from a reading list based on Maine Student Book Award nominees, a program organized by several state groups in which children across Maine vote for their favorite book each spring.
A similar competition called the Maine Battle of the Books was started in AOS 93 in 2017 but paused during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lincoln Academy librarian Laura Phelps heard about the tournament and a virtual competition took place last year. The event was back in person for the first time this year.
Teams from GSB, Bristol Consolidated School, Nobleboro Central School, and South Bristol School competed in the Lincoln Academy gymnasium wearing matching team T-shirts. Wearing red, blue, green, yellow, or purple, students worked together to answer 41 trivia questions about their books using online quiz software Kahoot. GSB’s older team took first place, followed by South Bristol School’s sixth and seventh grade team in second place and Bristol Consolidated School in third.
The GSB students began meeting in October and added practices after school at the start of this month, according to librarian Dawn Greenleaf.
GSB seventh grader Tristan Greenleaf said their librarian was crucial to their success and helped them prepare.
“I don’t think we could have done it without her,” he said. He thought their team’s smaller membership of four students also gave them a leg up because decision-making was faster with fewer people.
His teammate, seventh grader Jade Liu, said the experience was very intense and exciting.
“It went by in a second,” she said.
Both felt the win was a “redemption shot” after a missed click in the 2023 competition led to a victory for the South Bristol School team.
A second round of 45 questions on Jan. 30 was held for competition just within AOS 93, with questions written by students. Bristol Consolidated School emerged victorious in that round.
BCS librarian Tammy Holmes said the competition shows how well the students can work together, builds a sense of camaraderie, and gives them a chance to share their love of reading. Their strategy is to split up the reading list among members, producing an expert on each book, though some students read the whole list anyway.
“It’s so awesome to see kids so excited about reading,” Phelps said in the LA library as students enjoyed pizza with high school helpers after the tournament. Phelps’ library team of high school students also helped plan, organize, and troubleshoot for the younger visitors.
It’s also an opportunity for the teams to get familiar with the high school they will likely attend, and she said new ninth graders will sometimes seek her out excited to say they remember the book tournament.
The regional event will be held in February on a date yet to be announced. For more information, go to greatmainebooktournament.weebly.com.