Local warriors do well at state book battle

Having won the Battle of the Books competition among third- and fourth-grade students in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, West Homer Elementary School’s team of Eli Zatz and Seamus McDonough, with alternate Olivia Glasman nearby, competed at the state level on Feb. 20.

“(They) officially tied for fifth place out of 38 district teams,” said WHES Coach Lyn Maslow. “It was quite exciting. The kids had to keep up their stamina with battling from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.”

Tying with the Homer students was a team of third- and fourth-graders from Ketchikan. First place in that grade category went to Sand Lake Elementary School in the Anchorage School District. 

The Homer Connections fifth- and sixth-grade team of Iris Downey and Jadzia Martin, coached by Janet Szajkowski, also won at the district level and advanced to state competition on Feb. 21.

“We came in seventh place out of 36 teams competing throughout the state,” said Szajkowski, of the team’s three-way tie with a team from the Juneau and the Lake and Peninsula Borough school districts. First place went to a team from Anchorage School District’s Bayshore Elementary School.

Szajkowski said the Connections team was “pretty tired out from two rounds of 32 questions each.” 

That isn’t stopping thoughts already taking shape for next year’s battle, however.

“Iris (Downey) is ready for the junior level books,” said Szajkowski. 

The annual competition is organized by the Alaska Association of School Librarians. For students wanting to get a jump on next year’s battle, a working list of books is available online for the 2014-2015 competition at akla.org/akasl/bb/2014workingList.pdf.