It’s not enough to know your Hermione from your Katniss when aiming to win in the International Kids’ Lit Quiz.
Competitors needed to have read about everything from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, to Scottish poets and be well versed on which Greek gods are feuding to come out on top.
It was a close contest between 39 teams from 20 Manawatu schools at the regional heats held at Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School on Monday.
But, despite a last minute substitution for a sick team mate, Ross Intermediate narrowly beat Palmerston Intermediate Normal School’s A and B teams, who tied for second place just three points behind them.
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It was the first time the school had entered a team into the quiz, and all four team members were thrilled to be heading to the national finals in Wellington in June, team captain Carly Atkin, 12, said.
Carly couldn’t stop grinning as she was presented with the team’s $260 prize, and each team member was given a copy of the book 1001 Questions & Answers About Absolutely Everything.
“We’re super excited, I can’t believe we won,” she said.
Carly said she’s loved books for as long as she can remember.
She’s almost always had a book on hand, ever since she started reading on her own at age 4.
“There’s something about reading, that’s so magical and entrancing, that you just can’t get from playing videogames.”
It was that love of reading Quizmaster Wayne Mills hoped to encourage when he started the competition in New Zealand 27 years ago.
Now 11 countries are on the same page; including Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom and USA. This year’s world final will be held in Canada.
“What recognition do the kids who read get? They don’t get the same as the sports or even math kids get.”
The quiz wasn’t about grammar or spelling. It was about reading widely and passionately, and that was an important foundation for the future, Mills said.
He said kids who read for fun do better at university, and were a benefit to society as a whole.
“A democracy needs good, [informed], readers to be strong and healthy.”