Bronxville Bosses Win the 4th Annual Battle of the Books!

Bronxville Bosses Win the 4th Annual Battle of the Books!

The Bronxville Public Library’s “Bronxville Bosses” took first place in the children’s division (grades 4-6) of the Westchester Library System’s Fourth Annual Battle of the Books Tournament on Saturday, October 21, 2017. Nearly three-hundred young people representing seventeen libraries participated in the event, which was held at Hendrick Hudson High School in Montrose. The Peekskill Glows, representing The Field Library (Peekskill), took home first place in the teen division (grades 6-10).

The hardworking participants worked diligently throughout the summer and into the school year, reading five pre-selected books, memorizing facts and plot details, and attending team practices. The first-place teams in each age group earned bragging rights and a trophy to display at their library until new winners are crowned in 2018.

The members of the Bronxville Bosses, coached by children’s librarian Erin Schirota and parent Geeta Tarwala, were Rye Adkins, Simone DiNota, Malia Hernandez, Madeline Lescott, Hannah Lescott, Serena Lescott, Toshihiro Odaira, Takeyoshi Odaira, Lila Rucci, Chyanne Swain, Virginia Shah, John Shah, and Dev Tarwala. The children played eight matches with twenty-five questions per match drawn from five different books, so the amount of trivia the students needed to readily recall was astounding.

The teams rang in their answers using a Jeopardy-like electronic buzzer system, while an emcee read questions and monitored responses. In the nail-biting final round, the Bronxville Bosses defeated the Rye Olympians (representing the Rye Free Reading Room) with a score of 11 to 10. The win is the second first-place finish for Coach Schirota, whose team won first place at the inaugural Battle of the Books in 2014.

“I think the best thing my team took away from Battle of the Books was the experience. There wasn’t a single practice that these kids didn’t have fun. And seeing them excited about reading and learning is truly a librarian’s dream!” Schirota said.

The Field Library’s teen team, the Glows, was coached by Sarah Prosser, a teen/reference librarian. The team members were Julia Barthelmes, Nani Bridgewater, Denis Burov, Hope Dias, Megan Flaherty, and Lamyaa Hamid. In the Final Battle, they defeated the Everything and Everything Else (representing the Hendrick Hudson Free Library).

Prosser said, “Battle of the Books has been such a great opportunity for the youth in our community to shine, and the organization of this year’s battle really helped to make it an even playing field. The teens were so diligent about reading (and re-reading) all of the books in the months leading up to the battle, and their enthusiasm was infectious for both Coach Petya and I. The Westchester libraries that participated this year were all excellent, friendly, and incredibly sharp. We’re looking forward to participating in next year’s competition!”

Battle of the Books was brought to Westchester by Liz Anastasi, who is now a teen services librarian at the Greenburgh Public Library. While other similar programs have been executed in other library systems across New York State and the U.S., the member libraries within the Westchester Library System are unique in offering this program to children who are still in elementary school. Anastasi said, “Battle of the Books promotes a love of reading for kids and teens and, perhaps most importantly, inspires teamwork and good sportsmanship in an atmosphere of friendly competition.”

Planning for the 2018 Battle of the Books will begin in January of 2018, with the announcement of book titles expected in early spring. Area youth are encouraged to talk to their local public librarians about forming teams and entering the competition.

Children’s Tournament Bracket (grades 4-6)
Participants in the Children’s Battle of the Books read the following works:

Fuzzy Mud, by Louis Sachar
Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, by John David Anderson
One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams Garcia
Out Of My Mind, by Sharon Draper
The Witches, by Roald Dahl

Teen Tournament Bracket (grades 6-10)
Participants in the Teens’ Battle of the Books read the following novels:

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon
Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling
Jackaby, by William Ritter
Michael Vey, the Prisoner of Cell 25, by Richard Paul Evans

Participating Libraries

The following libraries participated with their respective teams:

Briarcliff Manor 
Public Library

Mamaroneck 
Public Library

Bronxville 
Public Library

Ossining 
Public Library

Dobbs Ferry 
Public Library

Ruth Keeler
Memorial Library
(N. Salem)

Eastchester 
Public Library

Rye Free 
Reading Room

Greenburgh 
Public Library

Somers 
Library

Hastings-on-Hudson
Public Library

The Field Library 
(Peekskill)

Hendrick Hudson 
Free Library (Montrose)

Pelham 
Public Library

John C. Hart 
Memorial Library 
(Shrub Oak)

White Plains 
Public Library

Larchmont 
Public Library

Other libraries not listed here participated by volunteering on the day of the battle.