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Battle of the Books

The traditional troop model doesn’t always work for every girl in our council due to transportation issues, lack of funds, or not being able to find a volunteer to run the troop. This is where Girl Scouts Council of Southern Appalachians’ (GSCSA) Outreach program comes in. We have part-time staff members that deliver the Girl Scout program to girls in community centers and schools throughout our council area. This summer at West View Elementary School, the programming involved a little something called Battle of the Books.  


Battle of the Books participants and Knox County Mayor, Glenn Jacobs

Girl Scouts in Knox County had the opportunity this summer to participate in Read City USA. Led by Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, Read City USA is a collaborative initiative of Knox County Government, Knox County Public Library, Knox County Schools, The Great Schools Partnership, and other community organizations.

In order to earn a special Read City USA patch, girls had to read for 20 hours and finish two books from a GSCSA reading list. The reading list was compiled by Ashley Smallwood, the Outreach Program Manager, with help from Suzanne Sherman, the librarian at Hardin Valley Academy. The reading list was comprised of 25 picture books and novels, fiction and non-fiction, that featured girls and women who exhibited the courage, confidence, and character that Girl Scouting works to instill.


Some of the titles from the GSCSA reading list

After reading some of the titles on the list, the Girl Scouts of West View Elementary Outreach prepared for Battle of the Books. What exactly is a Battle of the Books? It is a competition where teams test their knowledge of books by answering questions detailing characters and plot details. The questions for this battle were created by Suzanne Sherman and based on six picture books from the GSCSA list. The girls practiced answering questions prior to the big day and showed that they had paid a lot of attention to what they were reading!  

The battle took place on July 23, at the West View Elementary library. Mayor Jacobs himself came to read the questions. The girls were split into two teams: the Glitter Girls and the Huskies (they came up with their team names). The competition was fierce, and the team were neck-and-neck. But in the end, after 18 questions, the Huskies prevailed! 


As Mayor Jacobs reads a question, these girls are poised, ready to ring their bell to answer!

“The first year of our Outreach summer program has been such a wonderful success!” said Ashley Smallwood. “The girls participating in the program completed the It’s Your Planet- Love it journey, where they learned more about water conservation and sustainability for our planet. Battle of the Books allowed us the opportunity to tie in our newfound knowledge about these topics and correlate these findings with books that had strong female leads to encourage our girls in the Outreach Program to reach for the stars.”

So whether reading for fun, reading to learn, or reading to battle, Girl Scouts are ready to take on the challenge! 


Books featured in Battle of the Books:

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Brush Her Hair by Kate Bernheimer

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio

Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang