Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A-Z Blog Challenge: B is for Battle of the Books by Cristina Rehn

It's that time again!!!  Unwritten and some 1000 other blogs participated last year, and this year looks to be even bigger! Just like last year, I've opened up the blog to host 26 fabulous writers, with each day of the challenge representing the letters of the alphabet from A-Z. I've asked each writer to focus on something that is personal to them, so we can learn more about each other. 

Please check out some of the other blogs in the challenge here: 


B is for...Battle of the Books 
by Cristina Rehn

Back in November, in the midst of our NaNoWriMo-ing, my daughter and I did something slightly crazy (though not as nuts as doing NaNoWriMo).  Somehow, we decided that it was a great idea to sign up for an event called “Battle of the Books” (BOTB).   Sponsored by our Community Library, the event invites kids in grades 3-5 and 6-8 to organize into teams of four to read a total of twenty books.  Each child reads a minimum of five from a list selected by the Library.  The teams will face off to answer questions about the 20 books, all answers being the Title and Author.

I agreed to coach with a friend whose son participated last year.  We are Team 1000 Pages of Awesome (1000 PoA).  Our kids met every week throughout the winter, two kids discussing their assigned book and turning in a set of 10 questions.  We challenged each team member to read all twenty books, no small task with homework, clubs and sports in the mix.  My daughter was the first read all twenty, and the rest are poised to reach the goal.

Competition is fierce.  We’ve met other teams in mock battles, wins often coming down to tie-breaking challenge questions. But no matter who reigns victorious in the final battle, all BOTB book soldiers in this win, because they’ll have read at least five, and maybe twenty, amazing, often award-winning, books. 

And oh, the books!  The titles included sci-fi, historical fiction, ghost story, mystery, graphic novel, historical non-fiction, memoir and a book written entirely in rhyme.  The kids mingled with characters homeless and wealthy, from loving families and broken homes, nerdy and cool, brave and cowardly, silly and serious, boys, girls, old and young, aliens, demigods and mythical beasts.  They’ve learned about mythology, science, civil rights, disabilities, pioneer living and endangered species and pondered immortality. 

As we read, the kids grew with the characters asking insightful questions, showing an impressive attention to detail.  One girl asked “What was your favorite part of the book?” every week.  Without fail, each child spilled over with excitement about a quirky character, or passage that made them laugh, or a spine-tingling plot point. 

As an aspiring author, my genre of choice isn’t children’s books, but I still found myself delighting in each story, laughing my way through some books and crying my way through others.  The art of writing for kids and introducing them to the beautiful ways words can come together makes me grateful we enlisted for this battle, whatever the outcome.

So wish us luck.  My four book soldiers will meet their honorable enemies on April 13th.  There will be steals, buzzer-beaters, challenge questions and much whispering.  And win or lose, we’ll be celebrating at the end, for the friendships made, for the giggling and snacks, for the team t-shirts and poster created, and most of all, for the books read, books these avid readers might not have otherwise discovered.

Cristina Rehn lives in the Schoharie Valley in upstate New York with her husband, who in true romance novel fashion, is her brother's best friend.  Their daughter, two stalker cats, and Cristina's' mom, round out the household and keep it lively.

In addition to her full-time job and full-time family, she's working on polishing up her National Novel Writing Month 2012 Novel, a paranormal romance, in hopes of turning it into something readable. Her hobbies are writing and reading, and eking out as much solitude and silence as she can to do both.  You can check out her writing and random musings at her oft-neglected blog, http://cristinarehn.blogspot.com/

1000 Pages of Awesome team blog: http://1000pagesofawesomebotb.blogspot.com/


  1. Wow Christina, that sounds like an amazing experience for you and the children involved. I think it's great your community holds this event. It gets the kids reading, inspires healthy competition, and builds friendships.

    Great story.


    1. Thanks TJ - It's a great event and a nice way to get kids and parents into the local library. If you're kids are in that age range, check out the list of books at the 1000 pages of awesome blog link.

    2. Thanks TJ - Check out the list of books at the link above. I recommend them for readers of all ages.

  2. This is a great idea. I would love to participate in something like this with my kids :)

  3. WOW, what a great challenge and program for kids. I think it is a super idea. Wishing you luck!

  4. It sounds like you're raising some life long lovers of books! Hats off to you!!!

  5. Our local library runs a similar program. It's an awesome way to get kids reading--and loving--books!

    I could use something like this to get me reading more often, too.


  6. Thank you everyone. It's a wonderful program, a great way to get kids and adults to the library and to get the kids reading books they might not otherwise pick up.

  7. Hi Cristina, what a great article and wonderful endeavor on your part to help children appreciate books. The love for books you instill in them now will last a lifetime.

    Best wishes and lots of luck on the

  8. Thank for encouraging kids to love to read, Cristina! :)


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