Battle of the Books

Issue 10: 25/11/2022 , Blue Pool Road, Tseung Kwan O News (Reflections and Achievements) Y7, Y8, Y9, Y12

Attention To All Bookworms!

Have you ever felt the need to go on and on about a book you’ve read? Are your friends sick of you explaining plot after plot? Do you relate to book characters that no one else knows? Well then maybe you should check out the Battle of the Books club! Students from Year 7 to Year 9, 6eme to 4eme, from all campuses come together (at BPR and TKO), under the guidance of High School students and literature passionate teachers and librarians to do just that: Talk about books. The club — nicknamed BOB — is described by Teagan Hamilton — our student leader in charge of the BPR club — as “a cool club to be a part of for people who just love books. It’s a fun space to learn and know other people in FIS who are just as passionate about books.” Emilie Foster — our student leader in charge of the TKO club — said that the best thing about BOB is: “The books, of course!” What is their goal? To encourage a love of lifelong reading!

Every year, a list of 20 English books is given out to schools. They are then read, discussed, and summarized before a selected few students compete to know which school is the new book trivia champion of Hong Kong (obviously our school!). In 1999, the Battle of the Books programme was introduced to Hong Kong international schools. In light of its increase in interest from local schools, a “modified” competition was added in 2009. Comprising 12 titles, rather than the usual 20. In 2019, the programme held the largest competition yet with over 100 teams registering and over 40 schools participating!

Mr. Wilson, an English teacher in the international stream, has been involved with BOB for about 7 years and Mr. Harper, an English teacher in the French stream, has been involved with BOB for 5 years. Possessing a love for reading that they wished to pass on to their students, they decided to help out with the directing of the BOB. Throughout these years, they have seen the interest in the club grow and grow as well as multiple leaders being born from helping middle school students embark on their reading journey. BOB isn’t some boring club where you read boring books, it’s an interactive programme led by the very students who participate in it! High school students help their younger peers refine their knowledge on the designated book list and build teamwork for the competition in May.

Of course, it’s easy to get good reviews from those leading the club at school… Although, the same mindset was shown by those joining BOB themselves! Here’s what they have to say: “It’s a bit like a book club. You read books. You talk about them with your friends. You spend time with your friends.” “The discussions between many people, and getting to read these really interesting books, piqued my interest because I wanted to participate and have fun with my friends — whilst staying competitive with other schools.” Gabrielle Li — a first time participant in the club — summed up Battle of the Books as fun and competitive.

So there you have it! A “cool, fun, inclusive, and competitive” club for you to spend time with your friends, meet new people and bond over something you love. Keep in mind that joining BOB doesn’t mean you have to compete in May. But you do get dibs on 20 amazing books at the library and get to meet a bunch of new people! If you are interested in joining, and in helping us beat other schools in Hong Kong, make sure to email Mr. Wilson at (at BPR) or Mr. Harper at (at TKO). Happy reading!

By Nina Martin 9B

Drew Wilson
Leader of Learning for English