District Highlights

Battle of the Books gets students excited about reading

Above: Guest author Susin Nielsen speaks about her writing journey and takes questions from Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District students gathered at Westview for the annual Battle of the Books event. 


Battle of the Books has become a popular page-turning tradition at the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District.

At the beginning of the year, secondary school teacher-librarians select a reading list of six books. Then participating students form school teams and start reading and discussing the books.

“Teacher-librarians and participating teachers suggest novels that are socially relevant. We always try to include Canadian and Indigenous authors,” explained Ginny Sanderson, a teacher-librarian at Westview Secondary.

On Thursday (April 5) participating school teams from across the district gathered at Westview for Battle of the Books.

During the “battle” part of the event, the teams compete against each other to test their knowledge of the books by playing different trivia-style games to determine who will walk away with the coveted Battle of the Books trophy. 

“The kids also have lunch together, discuss the books, get a chance to meet authors and like-minded readers. It is a fun and entertaining way to encourage literacy and expose the students to new and different authors,” added Sanderson.

One of those authors is Vancouver resident Susin Nielsen, who attended Battle of the Books and spoke about her writing journey and answered questions from students.

Nielsen started her writing career as a scriptwriter for the Degrassi TV series and went on to write her first original young adult novel, Word Nerd, in 2008. Word Nerd won four Young Readers’ Choice Awards and Nielsen has since published four more novels, including Optimists Die First, which is on this year’s Battle of the Books reading list. Her next book is due out this fall.   

“We were all very excited to have Susin Nielsen as our guest author. Not only is she a Canadian author, she also lives in Vancouver,” said Sanderson. “Her book, Optimists Die First, mentions many Vancouver landmarks. It was fun for us to actually picture the surroundings. Susin’s previous book, We Are All Made of Molecules, was one of our books for Battle of the Books two years ago.”

Another book on this year’s reading list is With Malice by Eileen Cook, who will be a guest author at Westview, Maple Ridge, and Garibaldi secondary schools in the next two weeks. “The students are quite excited to talk to her about the ending of the book!” Sanderson said.


2018 Battle of the Books results

  1. Pitt Meadows Secondary
  2. Maple Ridge Secondary and Westview Secondary (tie) 


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