2021 Virtual Battle of the Books: Friday, April 16 | 6 – 8 pm
Presented by : Josephine B. Scheffenknacker Education Trust
Sponsored by : Friends & Foundation of Howard County Library System, Howard County Public School System, and M&T Bank
Howard County Library System and Howard County Public School System are excited to bring you a Virtual Battle of the Books event for 2021. While the 2021 virtual event is different from the simplified virtual event in 2020, there are many new and exciting features for your teams. We thank you in advance for your hard work and dedication!
Please review the important dates for this year and stay alert of the updated coach responsibilities, forms, new rules, and much more. Thank you!
Thank you to all of our teams, coaches, sponsors and supporters for a successful virtual event!
Q&A with KEKLA MAGOON CHAT QUESTIONS:
When is Styx supposed to take place?
It’s a contemporary story. I want it to feel like it could be taking place this very summer! I wrote most of it around 2016, so it could take place around then, perhaps, though there is not a specific date when it takes place. Since the story doesn’t include masks or any worries about COVID, maybe it takes place before the pandemic happened. But I wanted it to have a timeless feel to it, like it could take place anytime.
What happened to Styx's parents?
I don’t say specifically what happened to Styx’s parents, but I envisioned that at least one of them had died. The other might just be having a hard time and not very able to take care of him at the moment. So he is in foster care and finds loving families there who are able to help care for him.
What was the first job you wanted?
When I was very little, I wanted to be an ice skater. After I went to summer camp for the first time in fourth grade, I wanted to be a camp counselor, and I got to be one when I was in college. Later I wanted to be a doctor or a teacher. I’ve had real jobs as a health educator, a grant writer, a youth worker, and now I’m an author and writing teacher. My fantasy job now would be architect. I think it would be really cool to design buildings!
Why did Styx get hurt?
Styx was in a car accident. There might be several reasons why the accident happened, but I tend to think it’s because Styx got on the moped while he was feeling upset, and he probably wasn’t paying as much attention to his driving as he should have been. It can be risky to drive when you are really sad or mad or having big emotions. It is safer to take time to calm down. Since the accident happened off screen, though, I didn’t decide exactly how it occurred, but usually accidents are a result of a combination of bad luck and perfectly bad timing! As to why I (the author) chose to have Styx get in an accident, it was because I didn’t want him to be able to run away, as he was trying to do. I wanted him to have to stay and confront his feelings and the things that scared him. I felt like something dramatic had to happen in order to cause Styx to be vulnerable enough to be able to reconnect with his former foster dad who loves him.
Did you always plan to have Suzy in the book? Or was her only purpose to be what they traded for the fireworks?
Well, the inspiration of the baby-sister trading came first, so I knew they had to have a little sister when I started writing. I debated about what age to make her and how to use her character later in the story. I liked the idea of Cory bonding with the baby, but I didn’t feel like she needed to have a huge role in the story beyond that opening. There’s enough of an age difference between the boys and Susie that it wouldn’t have made sense for her to go along on their adventures. I did want to have a girl in the book, though, so that’s how I decided to write Pixie.
Did you have any ideas for the book that you did not include in the book?
Yes, many! There are some scenes that I wrote that didn’t make it into the finished book. Mostly they are scenes with Styx and Caleb and Bobby Gene in the woods that didn’t advance the plot enough. Even though we only see some of their time together, I figure they hung out a lot more.
What was your hardest scene/chapter to write?
The ending was hardest to write. Everything after the accident. I changed it a few times, varying whether Styx got hurt, and how the rest of the resolution happened after that. The beginning was second-hardest to write. The first scene I wrote was the one where Caleb and Bobby Gene meet Styx in the woods, and then I told the 4th of July part of the story in flashback. When I had to make the opening chronological, I had to write a new opening page. I was very happy with how I ultimately solved the problem and I like the beginning (and the ending) a lot!
Battle of the Books schedule
Please log on 15 minutes early to get settled, change display name (# Team Name), and view settings in Zoom. Use the meeting chat feature to contact “Chat Monitor” or “Tech Help” for assistance during the event.
Support the Friends & Foundation of HCLS
Thank you to National Media Production, LLC ([email protected])
Check out our Chapter Chats blog post about this author and title.
Thank you all for attending our Q&A with Kekla Magoon!
- October 20: Information meeting at 7 pm via Zoom
- October 23: Registration opens at 10 am and remains open until capacity is reached or November 6 at 11:59 pm, whichever comes first. Registration is now closed.
- November 16: Mandatory coach meeting via Zoom
- November 17, 19, and 21 : Contactless pick up of books at HCLS Miller Branch
- February 8, 2021: Permission forms due and last day to change team info
- March 23, 2021: Mandatory logistics meeting at 7 pm via Zoom.
- PowerPoint presentation | Recorded presentation
- Team Numbers and Zoom locations 1-6 were emailed to coaches.
- Google Jamboard info and link to create a digital poster (or you may wish to use Google Slides)
- Dropbox folder for upload of Jamboard PDF – The deadline has closed.
- Zoom breakout room tutorial (Note: teams will be automatically sent to and from breakout rooms.)
- Zoom polling tutorial
- Zoom account updates
- Friday, April 16, 2021: Virtual Battle of the Books from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
- Additional copies available for purchase from Books With A Past online, or email [email protected]
- Click ‘Add to Cart’ directly from this list to bring up the correct ISBN. Clicking the picture of the book will bring up all available versions.
- How to Build a Museum, will ship separately from the other titles, unless you pick up your order in the store.
- Each coach and student member of the team must fill out a permission form to participate.
- Forms will be available and posted to this page once registration ends in November.
- The deadline to return forms is February 8, 2021.
Below are links to the rules and answer worksheet for your students.
Before you begin, here are a few things to remember:
- While we hope everyone on your team participates, there is no minimum number of people to do so.
- You may wear your costumes and use team signs for fun.
- There are 4 rounds and 50 questions with 10 tie-breaker questions.
- The moderators will read each question and answer one time in the video.
- Coaches may play the question and pause the video for team responses before playing the answer.
- Scores will not be collected or tabulated. However, if you choose to keep score for fun, please award one point for the correct title and one point for the correct author. For the BONUS QUESTION at the end of each round, please award TWO points for the correct title and TWO points for the correct author.
- Certificate of Participation for team members
- Coaches and parents may share safe, privacy-friendly photos of your virtual battle with HCLS at: [email protected] by June 30, 2020.
If you choose not to use the video, below are the questions and answers.
Congratulations to all and have a great time with your coaches and teams!
P.S. Thanks to BoB coach, Ami Gadhia, for sharing this Battle of the Books word search. This activity is based on the book Schomburg: The Main Who Built a Library (by Carole Boston Weatherford). Ms. Gadhia dedicated the word search to her team in recognition of their hard work and efforts to prepare for the 2020 Battle of the Books. She shared her work with the book’s author who also liked it.
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