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Wood River Middle School Students Know Their Books
Monday, May 1, 2023



Quick! In which book does a character say every book written is about love?

Name two of the items Silas packs for his journey to find Pa in the book “Pony” by R.J. Palacio.

Chances are the Order of the Phoenix and the Radical Readers can tell you!

Seven teams from Wood River Middle School and Hemingway STEAM School recently competed in the Idaho Battle of the Books Region IV tournament at Burley Middle School. And they swept the competition, competing with teams from Burley and Oakley.

Four teams from Wood River Middle School advanced to the semifinals.

The Order of the Phoenix, a seventh-grade team comprised of Owen Ditch, Emma Georgiades, Elise Jacobs, Emilia Kent and Seneca Vanden Heuval--faced off against Wavy Legs…Pagey! an eighth-grade team made up of Charlotte Brickley, Reagan Flannigan, Lexi Obland, Aoife O’Reilly and Elli Siegel in the finals.

And when they had finished turning the pages, the Order of the Phoenix had risen to victory, defeating the Wavy Legs 73 to 50.

Not a Fairytale, a seventh-grade team comprised of Luane Gonzales, Sabrina Molinaroli, Gssett Ore, Brighton Stoops and Dayana Zaragoza, placed third.

The Radical Readers, a sixth-grade team comprised of Ray Archibald, Knox Coury, Henry Flynn, Rylan McGrew and Oisin O’Reilly, took fourth place.

The victory by the Order of the Phoenix continues Wood River Middle School’s winning streak, said Samantha Archibald Mora, teacher/librarian at Wood River Middle School. Last year WRMS’s team, the Page Turning Potatoes, won the Region III/IV tournament. The seventh/eighth grade team was comprised of Hayden Barbre, Charlotte Brickley, Catherine Herrera, Reagan Flannigan and Aoife O’Reilly.

Mora said the Wood River Middle School library plans to host the Region IV middle school tournament in April 2024.

Idaho Battle of the Books, aka IBOB, is a statewide voluntary reading motivation and comprehension program open to Idaho students in grades 4 through 12. Lists of books are chosen and questions written for each grade level division.

Students read the books, discuss them and then compete in teams to answer questions in a quiz show format. Each battle has 16 questions—one for each of the 16 books the students read. Half of the questions are “in which book” format and the other half are content questions.

(By the way, “every book written is about love” refers to Dan Gemeinhart’s “The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise.” The items Silas packs for his journey in “Pony” include rope, knife, canteen/water, bread, salted meat, matches and violin.

The Selection Committee picking the titles attempts to select books with a diversity of people, places and ideas so students are introduced to the diversity of the world.

This year’s high school selections included “Six of Crows” by Leigh Barugo, “Dreamland Burning” by Jennifer Latham and “The Field Guide to the North American Teenager” by Ben Philippe.

Middle School titles included “Fever 1793” by Laurie Halse Anderson, “The Blackbird Girls” by Anne Blankman” and “It Ain’t so Awful, Falafel,” by Firoozeh Dumas, who has appeared at the Sun Valley Writers Conference several times.

Elementary titles included “Soar” by Joan Bauer, “Al Capone Does My Shirts” by Gennifer Choldenko, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis, “A Wolf Called Wander” by Rosanne Parry and “The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo.

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