The "Battle of the Books" is now shaping up among young readers at the three city libraries in Wallowa County through the Up & Away after-school program.
"Kids love competition," said program coordinator Joanne Sneed about the county-wide "battle", which will culminate with a college bowl-type showdown April 15 among participants of the Wallowa, Enterprise and Joseph city libraries.
Sneed is recruiting readers from her Up & Away program, which meets once a week for children in grades 2 through 6 in each of the three libraries. "It's been very successful," she said. From 20 to 25 students usually show up at each library each week. Activities range from making spaceships of paper plates and Styrofoam to growing crystals.
Different sets of four Newberry Award-winning books have been ordered for each of the five participating grades, and battle participants are reading them through March 28.
Enterprise librarian Denine Rautenstrauch is reading all the books, and it's her job to compile questions about each book. Prior to the real Battle of the Books at Enterprise Community Church on April 8, a preliminary match will be held at each library. They are scheduled in the Wallowa library at 3:30 p.m. March 28, in Joseph at 3:30 p.m. March 31 and in Enterprise at 11 a.m. April 1.
Sneed admitted that she doesn't have the heart to actually eliminate any of the readers during the preliminaries, so all those who sign up will compete in their grade division for their library as a team in the Battle of the Books. She said there will be some kind of bells for the three teams to ring in when they know the answers, though she doesn't have all the logistics quite figured out.
Book titles include "Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia" for the second grade; "The Dragon of Doom," third grade; "Pippi Longstocking," fourth grade; "Shiloh," fifth grade; and "Walk Two Moons," sixth grade.