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Battle of the Books: 'I’m very impressed with what these kids come up with'

(SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – Dozens of Lane County middle schools are testing their book smarts.

On Saturday, 31 middle schools gathered at Willamette High School for the Oregon Battle of the Books.

It’s a friendly competition where teams of four answer trivia questions and show off how well they know certain books.

There are 16 state-selected books of all different genres which were distributed to the participating teams.

Many of the middle schoolers said they’ve read all the books. At the competition, teams battled against each other in answering questions about them.

“We whisper and we work together and we try to wait until the very last second before we answer so that we can keep considering and make sure that we got it right that time,” said Lauren Bell, a student at Briggs Middle School.

The answers to the questions often have to be precise.

"If the team had used the word 'and,' if they had actually said ‘Chocolate and Cupcakes,’ then I would give them five points, but only three if they called it ‘Chocolate Cupcake,’" said moderators as they discussed a team’s final answer.

"The questions are written to be very specific about specific books and information within those books,” said Leslie Brown, regional manager of Oregon Battle of the Books.

It's those specific details that many of the middle schoolers pride themselves on memorizing.

“In Zombie Baseball Beatdown, they were talking about how zombies in the corner would be a super cool video game,” said Bell.

“I’m very impressed with what these kids come up with because, I read the books and then later on, they answer the questions and I can't always recall all of that,” said Brown.

The winning school from Saturday's competition will move on to the state competition in Salem in April where they will battle middle schools from all over the state for bragging rights and a trophy.

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