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Sixteen Westchester Libraries Compete In Battle Of The Books In Ossining

The Popcornians, representing the Somers Library
won the Teens' Tournament in the Westchester Library System's third annual Battle of the Books.
The Popcornians, representing the Somers Library won the Teens' Tournament in the Westchester Library System's third annual Battle of the Books. Photo Credit: Contributed
The Rye Rockets, representing the Rye Free Reading Room, won the Children’s Tournament in the Westchester Library System's third annual Battle of the Books.
The Rye Rockets, representing the Rye Free Reading Room, won the Children’s Tournament in the Westchester Library System's third annual Battle of the Books. Photo Credit: Contributed

OSSINING, N.Y. -- Two champions were crowned in a countywide book trivia contest held in Ossining Saturday.

Sixteen libraries fielded 16 teams, featuring 250 fourth through 10th-graders.

Coming out on top were the Rye Rockets, representing the Rye Free Reading Room in the Children’s Tournament, and The Popcornians, representing the Somers Library in the Teens Tournament.

The Rye Rockets were coached by Lisa Dettling, a children’s librarian.

The team featured Connelly Boyle, Ayden Hufford, Leyla Murati, and Lily Shaaban.

In the Final Battle, the Rockets defeated the defending champions, the Bedford Brainiacs. The Brainiacs represented the Bedford Free Library.

To prepare for this year’s contest, team members ramped up their practice sessions by using buzzers and working hard to get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

“With a team of only four kids, we were able to really focus on what each person brought to the table,” Dettling said.

The Popcornians, were coached by Tara Ferretti, a young adult librarian.

The Somers team included Leigha Carnow, Max Caron, Keira Ferretti, Jordan Han, Aine Hoekstra, Amanda Jen, Maria Klimentova, Matthew Kushner, Marguerite Pugliese, Nitin Seshradi, and Jaewon Yeo.

In the Final Battle, the Popcornians downed the Keeler Battlers, a team that represented the Ruth Keeler Memorial Library in North Salem.

The first and second place teams in both the children’s and the teens’ brackets received trophies to bring home to their libraries.

Like the Stanley Cup in the National Hockey League, the trophies travel each year from winner to winner.

This year, as sponsor of the children’s champions, the Rye Free Reading Room received a collection of non-fiction books donated by Cherry Hill Press.

The teens’ champions each received a bookmark signed by Stacey Lee, author of “Under a Painted Sky.”

Battle of the Books was conceived by Liz Anastasi, a teen services librarian at the Greenburgh Public Library.

Westchester’s Battle of the Books is different from other book trivia contests in that it offers the program to children who are still in elementary school, Anatasi said.

"The contest promotes a love of reading for kids and teens and, perhaps most importantly, inspires teamwork and good sportsmanship in an atmosphere of friendly competition.," she said.

Among the books that the children’s tournament participants read were “Blizzard! The Storm that Changed America”, by Jim Murphy “Crispin: The Cross of Lead," by Avi and “The Fourteenth Goldfish," by Jennifer Holm.

Books on the teens’ list included “Counting by 7’s”, by Holly Goldberg Sloan, “Every Day," by David Levithan “Dead End in Norvelt," by Jack Ganthos and “Under A Painted Sky," by Stacey Lee.

Other participating libraries were Ardsley Public Library, Briarcliff Manor Public Library, Bronxville Public Library, Eastchester Public Library, Greenburgh Public Library, Hendrick Hudson Free Library (Montrose), John C. Hart Memorial Library (Shrub Oak), Larchmont Public Library, Mount Pleasant Public Library, Ossining Public Library,  Town of Pelham Public Library and White Plains Public Library.

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