TRAVERSE CITY: Nearly 300 Grand Traverse region elementary students have spent the past two months preparing for an epic battle: the Battle of the Books competition on March 11 at Scholars Hall on Northwestern Michigan College’s campus from 8:30 a.m.– 5 p.m. The finals will be held March 19. 
The Battle of the Books, a National Writers Series program, is a competition that invites 4th- and 5th-grade students to create teams composed of four to six members. Each team enrolled is assigned 10 books to read and must work together to discuss their strategy on how they’ll read all of the books in preparation for a quiz-style competition, aka “Battle.”
The March 11 Battle is a full-day event where students experience multiple battles consisting of questions related to each book they’ve read. Students typically arrive at the battle in costumes that reflect their team name such as Rockin’ Readers, Pirates in the Care of Readin’, and Veloci-Reading Raptors.   
Four teams (out of the 48 entered in the competition) will emerge on March 11 as Battle of the Book semi-finalists. They’ll face off on March 19 at the City Opera House for the final battle showdown, where New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman will be present to honor the winning team and, once the competition is wrapped up, he’ll take the stage to talk about all the books he’s written and how kids can be writers, too! At the end of the talk, kids can meet the author in person and get their favorite book signed.
Gordon Korman’s special book signing is at 5:30 p.m. on March 19 at the City Opera House. The public is invited. People do not have to attend the Battle of the Books to purchase books and get them signed.

The first-place Battle team will then be whisked away from the City Opera House for a celebratory experience. (Think: limo ride, pizza party, and a shopping spree at Horizon Books). All semi-finalists will win a prize.

 For more information, visit or contact NWS Executive Director Anne Stanton at 231-631-1551; volunteer Lisa Maxbauer Price at 917-518-4345; or Marcy Lindberg, Battle of the Books project leader, at 231-590-1294.

Photo(s) by National Writers Series