Tournament of Kids’ Books 2013 WINNER

The votes are in. We have a winner.

After receiving hundreds of votes throughout the March Madness season, the kids of Lawrence have spoken and a winner for the 2013 Tournament of Kids’ Books was declared! Out of 16 books, the championship battle was between the popular Dairy of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney vs. last year’s Read Across Lawrence for Kids book, The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski.

And the winner won by 1 vote.

No joke.

Last Sunday the winner was announced at the Tournament of Kids’ Books Winner Ceremony where two  KU Men’s Basketball Players, Naadir Tharpe and Christain Garrett, revealed the winning title with our library director, Brad Allen. They also raffled off prizes to the audience including a signed basketball by the 2012-2013 KU basketball team, new books by the featured authors in the Tournament, and each player read a favorite book from their childhood to the audience.

Bet you’re wondering who won, right?

Naadir Tharpe did the honors…

The anticipation!

And the winner is… THE CABINET OF WONDERS!

After the winner was announced one boy said, “It’s as loud as Allen Fieldhouse in here!” (For those of you who are not familiar with KU basketball, Allen Fieldhouse is the University of Kansas’ legendary auditorium where the home basketball games take place. It is widely known as the loudest college basketball venue in the country.) After all the cheers settled down, the players raffled away the prizes to the audiences.

There where a lot of high hopes placed on receiving the books, but especially the signed basketball.

This storytime regular was fortune enough to be this year’s lucky winner of the grand prize.

The real treat was when the players sat down and each read a book to the crowd.

Naadir Tharpe read Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.

Christain Garret read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Both players did a superb job reading aloud. They were cracking jokes and even asking for audience participation. Just as things were wrapping up, one boy started singing the “Rockchalk chant”, an old tradition that is done at the end of a winning basketball game. He started singing it himself as loud as he could, followed by Naadir, and followed by the entire room.  It was the perfect end to a perfect day for everyone at the Lawrence Public Library.

Afterwards, Naadir and Christian let patrons take pictures with them and freely gave out high-fives. The kids were wide-eyed and their grins were big. Lawrence lives and breathes KU basketball. For those patrons to see representatives, or perhaps a better word is idols, of something that means so much to our community in the library promoting reading leaves a lasting impression. KU Athletics wrote a nice article about the event here along with a few words from the players. In that article, Naadir Tharpe talks about how he always had people read in front of him as a child and that this was an opportunity for him to give back, and that if you want to play ball, it starts in the classroom. I think a lot of people seem to forget that these players got to where they are because of their skills in the game, but they also have to work hard off of the court in order to be successful. Tournament of Kids’ Books is about the love of books paired with a town’s love of basketball, and over the past couple years it has served as an excellent way to get kids excited about reading, but also as a way for them to identify with positive role models.

A huge thanks to the KU Athletics Department for making this happen again this year, and to players for taking the time to come to the library and being all around awesome with the kids.

Till next year, keep reading kids and Rockchalk!


2 Responses to “Tournament of Kids’ Books 2013 WINNER”

  1. Amanda Hellberg says:

    Hey Becca,

    We just spoke earlier tonight at the library after story time. I love researching and finding data on things (like finding this awesome blog that you write!) and wanted to share a few promising links I found for the STEM program this summer:

    This site has tons of resources!

    And this was an interesting news story about another library STEM program for younger kids:

    I really liked the idea of kits, and I’m sure local (Lawrence, Topeka, KC) engineering companies would be interested in sponsoring money for kits! I have no idea how the financial logistics works for things like this, but I’d love to help make it happen!

    It was great talking to you, I love Lawrence!


    • Rebecca says:

      AMANDA!!! YOU. ROCK.
      I’ll email you soon to start working out the deets for the summer program very soon. I would love, love, love for you to be a special guest for at least one of sessions. I’ve read about a few libraries that have incorporated STEM kits in their libraries with great success. Space is an issue with our temporary location, but that’s not to say it wouldn’t be something we could try to incorporate in the near future. I’m hoping the summer program sparks a lot of interest in hopes to make a case for doing even more STEM literacy within our library.

      Thank you for being awesome and supportive :)

      We’ll talk soon!

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