Battle of the Books 2021

by Teel Campus Assistant Librarian Ms. Diana Ford
Severn is known for a lot of things — dedicated teachers, impressive arts programs, and strong sports teams — but a lesser-known standout is our Battle of the Books teams! Started by a group of AIMS (Association of Independent Maryland & D.C. Schools) librarians ten years ago, Battle of the Books is designed to motivate students to read quality, diverse literature and to boost deep reading skills for comprehension. For the second year in a row, the event went virtual and after months of meetings and preparation, our Lower and Middle School readers were ready to compete with students from Anne Arundel County and Baltimore.

A Place for Every Reader

Students who sign up for Battle of the Books agree to read a set list of ten books with their team and participate in a quiz-bowl reading showdown. The program is flexible for every reader and reading style, and puts students in charge of how they want to approach the challenge. Whether they opt to divvy up the books among their members or individually read each book is up to them. Some students skim, some take notes, some even speed read on the day of competition! Every year and every team is different. The one thing that remains the same year after year is the devotion to teamwork and reading.
“Our 5th grade team, the Reigning Readers, went above and beyond. Some members read the books two or even three times! I am very proud of all their hard work and commitment.” — Ms. Kristen Kwisnek
Collage of Severn School students reading books.
5th graders hard at work preparing for the competition!
7th grader Lottie Morgan participated in the competition for the past 3 years and says she joined the team “as an opportunity to enjoy reading in a new way. It lets you read books you may have never read and opens up a whole new genre to explore.” 5th grader Janie Salinas experienced her first competition this year and said “I always looked forward to the meetings! It was super fun. I'm definitely going to do it again next year.” The legacy of returning student competitors and sibling involvement is one we applaud.
“I’m going to miss these 8th graders. They’ve participated since 5th grade and have won every competition they entered, but more than that they’ve always worked well as a team.” — Ms. Diana Ford

Our Teams

Severn School 5th Grade Battle of the Books team in a classroom.
5th grade team: Janie Salinas '28, Sarah McCone '28, Marin Saunders '28 (alternate), Matthew Cawlfield '28, Adam Morgan '28 (alternate), and Aarav Lakhanpal '28
Severn School 6th Grade Battle of the Books team posing with books in the library.
6th Grade Team: Jeremy Jones '27, Nathaniel Patty '27, Charlotte Eichberg '27, and Lina Gunhus '27
Severn School 7th and 8th grade Battle of the Books team posing with books in the library.
7th and 8th Grade Team: Grant Lonergan '25 (not pictured), Davis Mann '25, and Lottie Morgan '26.
Severn School 8th grade Battle of the Books Team posing with books in the library.
8th Grade Team: Tara Qualey '25, Bronwyn Bolton '25, and Grady Gelston '25

The Books

Looking for new books for the summer? Check out the competition lineup available in our libraries. Many of these are available as ebooks too!
5th & 6th Grade Level
  • No Talking by Andrew Clement
  • Reign Rain by Ann M. Martin
  • So B. It by Sarah Weeks
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
  • The Unteachables by Gordon Korman
  • The Light Jar by Lisa Thompson
  • Guest by Mary Downing Hahn
  • Words on Fire by Jennifer Nielson
  • The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
  • A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Parry
7th & 8th Grade Level
  • Allies by Alan Gratz
  • The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly by Rebecca K.S. Ansari
  • Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata
  • Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  • The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
  • It Wasn’t Me by Dana Alison Levy
  • Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs
  • The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Jacobson
  • Alabama Moon by Watt Key
  • Legend by Marie Lu

Toward a Lifelong Love of Reading

Part of the Severn Libraries' mission is to foster the love of reading and lifelong learning in our students. In addition to collaborating with faculty and teaching in the classroom, they hold events and programs to welcome students into the library and the world of books within. From running book clubs and reading challenges to hosting author visits and supporting all-school reads, librarians Ms. Whitney Etchison, Ms. Diana Ford, and Ms. Kristen Kwisnek are committed to making reading fun for students in every grade.

Please share!

    • Collage of 2021 Battle of the Books participants.

Lower School

Preschool-Grade 5
Chesapeake Campus
1185 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd
Arnold, MD 21012

Middle/Upper School

Grade 6-12
Teel Campus
Severna Park, MD 21146