Galena Park High School's Cold Panic! Fallout! Wins The 2017 Tournament of Books

Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Harris County Public Library was able to pilot The Tournament of Books, a literacy competition for high school students designed to develop and encourage a love of reading. 

The competition kicked off last October at four partnering high schools: Clear Lake High School, Galena Park High School, Humble High School / Quest Early College High School, and Memorial High School. Students at those schools, led by their school librarians, formed teams of 3 to 5 students. They then worked together to read all 20 books on a designated list of diverse Young Adult books. 

HCPL librarians from four of our library branches (Freeman, Galena Park, Octavia Fields, and Spring Branch) held Book Parties at the schools once a month to foster enthusiasm and discussion around the books and to help the teams prepare.

At the beginning of April, each school held their Round 1 competition, when all the school’s teams competed against each other for the chance to earn a spot in the championship game. These school-level competitions consisted of 40 multiple choice, true/false, and multiple point questions around all 20 books. Teams worked together, drawing on their collective knowledge from the books each member had read to answer questions correctly before time ran out. 

The top team from each school met last Saturday at the championship game, held at HCPL’s new administrative offices. Unlike the school-level Round 1 games that focused on trivia-style, closed-ended questions, the championship game questions were open-ended, requiring in-depth analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. 

Teams had 3 minutes to consult with each other and prepare an answer; one team me

mber then stood and presented the answer to a panel of judges who scored using a simple rubric. Each answer was scored for both content and presentation. Though the game was close, Cold Panic! Fallout! from Galena Park High School earned first place, winning each member of the team a new Kindle Fire.

Harris County Public Library hoped to reach and serve more high school students thr

ough The Tournament of Books, as well as build stronger relationships between our libraries and our local schools. Student survey responses suggest that we fulfilled our purpose, as the majority of students indicated that they got to know their local HCPL librarian better and were more likely to use other HCPL services and resources because of the program. 

For more pics of the Tournament of Books, checkout our Facebook album