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Annual Battle of the Books returns to Southfield Pavilion

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published April 3, 2015

 Akiva student Zoe Korelitz, of Team Rock ‘N’ Read, left, rushes to hug her teammate Jamie Apap as they are announced as the first place winners with a perfect score of 165 for the Battle of the Books competition March 25 at the Southfield Pavilion, 26000 Evergreen Road.

Akiva student Zoe Korelitz, of Team Rock ‘N’ Read, left, rushes to hug her teammate Jamie Apap as they are announced as the first place winners with a perfect score of 165 for the Battle of the Books competition March 25 at the Southfield Pavilion, 26000 Evergreen Road.

Photos by Victoria Zegler

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SOUTHFIELD — “Uptown Funk” echoed through the Southfield Pavilion March 25 as middle schoolers hurriedly scrawled their answers on index cards in hopes of winning the annual Battle of the Books.

Presented by the Southfield Public Library and sponsored by the Friends of the Southfield Public Library, the Battle of the Books aims to encourage the sport of reading by pitting teams of students against each other to see who can answer the most questions correctly from a list of six books.

The challenges this year were broken up into two nights. At 7 p.m. on March 24, 40 teams of four to six fourth- and fifth-graders competed, while on March 25, 40 teams of middle schoolers battled.

“Reading is important, no matter what you decide to do for a job the rest of your life,” City Librarian David Ewick told the crowd. “I think you will find reading will not only help you with your job, but also reading for fun is always good. It’s kind of like exercising your mind, so please don’t ever stop reading.”

During the middle school challenge, Rock ‘N’ Read, a team made up of Jamie Apap, Zoe Korelitz and Jordan Stebbins from Akiva Hebrew Day School, won the 2015 Battle of the Books with a perfect score.

Team manager Deborah Kovsky-Apap said they split up the books between team members’ parents, who then wrote questions for the students to practice weekly. Team member Zoe Korelitz said sometimes the team would meet as early as 8 a.m. on the weekend.

“I was about to say the kids worked really hard, but they goofed off a lot and had a lot of fun and that method worked for them,” Kovsky-Apap said.

Kovsky-Apap’s son, Jamie Apap, who was a part of the winning team, said his favorite book from the battle was “Chomp,” by Carl Hiaasen, which centers around two classmates working together to track down a missing reality star.

“I liked ‘Chomp’ mostly because it was a straightforward storyline,” Apap said.

“It had an interesting plot, the way it sort of fit together,” team member Jordan Stebbins said of the book.
Lisa Washington, team manager of the Mindcrafters from Birney Middle School, said the Mindcrafters prepared extensively for the battle.

“We spent a lot of hours prepping them with the books, doing mock battles,” Washington said. “Each member was responsible for two books, so they could master each one and help out the others. And we had lots of food.”

“The snacks were the best,” team member Akua Tandoh said of their Doritos, pizza and doughnut-laden study sessions.

The winner of the fourth- and-fifth-grade challenge was a six-way tie between MacTacular Readers, Rapping Readers, Reading Racers, Spine Benders, Maccareads, and Spine Tinglers.

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