Pupils show they’re passionate about books
PUBLISHED: 12:08 23 June 2014 | UPDATED: 12:08 23 June 2014
Louise Denyer went along to the Suffolk Schools Book Mastermind Competition
In a world of constant change it’s a comforting thought to know that the ‘ancient art’ of reading printed books has retained its value as a key life skill within our secondary education system.
This was particularly evident at the final of this year’s annual Suffolk Schools Book Mastermind Competition, which was organised by Suffolk Libraries and held in Stratford St Andrew earlier this year. It was clear for all to see just how passionate the eight finalists from schools across the county were about reading as well as actually winning this competition. Each student in turn perched nervously on the edge of the black leather swivel chair with their toes barely touching the ground, serving as a reminder to the audience that most of them hadn’t even reached adolescence yet. Their quiet confidence and intense concentration was to be admired and the efforts of each competitor were cheered and applauded by their teachers and friends alike, who energetically created a supportive team-spirit atmosphere throughout the morning.
The students weren’t the only ones having fun. As the buzzer sounded to mark the end of the final specialist round, a wry smile passed across the face of quizmaster and headteacher of Pakefield High School in Lowestoft Perry Linsley who was mid-sentence at the time.
“I’ve started, so I’ll finish…I’ve been waiting to say that!” he beamed. The overall winner was 12-year-old Emily Mowles from Thomas Gainsborough School in Great Cornard, who scored an impressive 14 points about Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer, the third book in the popular Twilight Saga series, and was presented with the prestigious trophy for her school by Tony Brown, Chair of Suffolk Libraries Board. Emily wasn’t alone in choosing a fantasy novel as her specialist subject as six out of the eight contestants selected this genre, which perhaps suggests that children and young adults need to lose themselves in alternative realities in order to make sense of the world they do live in and ultimately prepare them for adulthood.
To round off the event well-known children’s authors Karen McCombie and Alexander Gordon Smith were invited to talk to the students about how they became writers and what reading means to them. The pair gave individually inspiring as well as entertaining accounts of how they respectively became published and gave useful guidance to those with specific questions about this unique career choice.
If your school is interested in taking part in the 2015 Book Mastermind competition, contact Maxine Barnes on 01502 512816 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Book Mastermind is organised by the Schools Library Service and supported by the Suffolk Book League, whose aim is to promote and encourage the habit of reading across the county. The competition is open to all students in Years 7-9 and this year saw 31 schools challenge one another during the Autumn Term before the area finals in February. Following the format of the iconic television quiz show, the students choose a book as their specialist subject and in the second round they each answer the same number of general knowledge questions. The winning school is awarded a trophy and £200 worth of new books. The eight finalists represented schools from across Suffolk and the books they chose as their specialist subjects were:
1st Emily Mowles, Thomas Gainsborough School – Eclipse (Stephenie Meyer)
2nd Jude Spivey-Green, Thomas Mills High – Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (JRR Tolkien)
3rd Eddie Speight, Debenham High – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (JK Rowling)
• Kimberley Allen, Ipswich Academy – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (JK Rowling)
• Lucy Cooper, Hardwick Middle – When You Were Mine (Rebecca Serle)
• Megan Lofthouse-Mason, East Bergholt High – Divergent (Veronica Roth)
• Sophie Maul, Copleston High – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (JK Rowling)
• Kathryn Skazica, Pakefield School – Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn (Ridley Pearson)