GREENFIELD — Huddled together at a table in a room at the Hancock County Public Library, a small group of eighth-grade students from Greenfield Central Junior High exchanged ideas for their team name.
“How about Dumbledore?” said one student, clearly a Harry Potter fan.
The group was looking for a strong but catchy name to represent them well in the annual Battle of the Books.
The yearly book quiz contest is hosted by the library for eighth- and ninth-grade students from different county schools.
It gives students who received their reading lists in January a chance to test their knowledge on what they’ve read against students from different county schools.
“I did it last year in eighth grade, and I remember how much fun it was,” New Palestine High School freshman Austin Snider said. “It’s actually a really stressful competition because the books are higher-level reading.”
The questions library officials ask are precise, meaning the competitors have to pay attention to detail to do well, Snider said.
Greenfield Central Junior High, New Palestine High School, Doe Creek Middle School and St. Michael School sent teams to compete.
There were seven teams comprised of five members and two alternates. The teams worked together to answer the questions in the win-and-advance tourney.
Library officials spent plenty of time studying the books they gave students to read.
They asked students 20 questions per round, and students were allowed to collaborate on the answers, event coordinator Sarah Ryan said.
Library officials created a list of 20 books for the students to read based on suggestions from Young Hoosier Books, along with books teens voted for. The students then each selected a couple of the books from the list to study for the battle.
“It’s a lot of fun to be able to share books with teenagers and kind of expose them to books they may have never picked up,” Ryan said.
The contest is ideal for students who love to read and enjoy sharing their knowledge of the book with others.
“I like that we all get to hang out together and read because I love reading,” St. Michael eighth-grader Sarah Muckerheide said.
“The experience to come together with a bunch of other people who have read the same books as me and be able to talk about them is awesome,” Greenfield Central Junior High eighth-grader Delonie Blake said.
Greenfield Central Junior High English teacher Katie Scott said a contest like Battle of the Books is something that helps make reading fun for students.
It also requires them to study the material more closely.
“They actually have to dig deep into the book, and as a teacher, that is what you want your students to be able to do and analyze it,” she said.
First place: Doe Creek Middle School Team 2
Second place: St. Michael School
Third place: Doe Creek Middle School Team 1