Friday, March 14, 2014

Kings and Queens, Insects and Mice: Orange 2014

The second heat of the 2014 Kids’ Lit Quiz in Australia was the third year Orange has hosted the Kids' Lit Quiz competition and lots of old friends were there to enjoy the excitement that is part of the ‘Sport of Reading’.

Kids' Lit Quiz Australia 2014: Orange regional heat

We've come a long way since 2012 when 13 teams participated in the first ever Kids' Lit Quiz in Australia - in Orange!

In 2014, 19 teams from 11 schools in regional NSW participated in the Orange heat, together with an adult team of authors and teachers. The excitement was infectious as the teams decided on the ‘joker’ round where they could double their score. Teachers were ready with their note pads to make note of the books that the Quiz Master suggested as ‘good’ reads and students were ready to test their knowledge.

Kids' Lit Quiz Australia 2014: Orange regional heat

Some of the (many!) books Wayne recommended throughout the quiz included these interesting titles from the category of "ghosts" :

Ghostopolis (2010), a graphic novel written and pencilled by Doug TenNapel (coloured by Ethan Nicolle);
The Graveyard Book (2008), a children's fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman; and 
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2011),  a dark fantasy YA book by Ransom Riggs

The Kids' Lit Quiz is a competition for keen readers so we reward the team with the highest score in each round with book prizes.  Each of the 4 members of the winning team gets to choose a book.  If that team has already won a round, the second placed team get the book prizes and so on.  In this way, at least 40 children in each heat win at least one book. Additionally, the teams placing first, second and third win book prizes - we give away a lot of books! Travel assistance to the National Final is also awarded to the first placed team in each heat.

In the first category, Ghosts, two teams equal-scored on the highest marks for the round.  This meant that a tie-breaker question was needed to determine which team won the book prizes for that round.  This was to be a frequent occurrence throughout the Orange heat with over half of the rounds being decided by a sudden death question between equal-high scoring teams. These play-offs only added to the excitement of the day.

With categories such as Hats, Insects, Kings and Queens and Mice being decided by play-offs, it was the visual category of Mythical Beasts that really made the scores fly with six teams scoring 9, three of which doubled their scores as they'd chosen it as their Joker round!

More terrific books were recommended and referenced in the Quiz questions, including:  

Maus, the graphic novel by Art Speigelman;
Geronimo Stilton, the mouse newspaper reporter who features in his own book series written by Elisabetta Dami;
The Mortal Instruments series of YA books by Cassandra Clare
Wonder by R J Palacio

At the end, it was Orange Public School's Team A who came out on top, clear winners 10 points ahead of their nearest rivals. Orange Public will be taking part in the national final after coming third in 2012 and second in their heat in 2013. Good luck with the national final girls!

Orange Public School's A team, winners of the 2014 Orange regional heat

Second place was another sudden death tie breaker between New Lambton Public School and Kinross Wolaroi School with Kinross Wolaroi School just pipping New Lambton!

Runners-up, 2014 Orange regional heat:  Kinross Wolaroi School

Third place, 2014 Orange regional heat: New Lambton Public School

A fantastic day was had by all and not only is Wayne Mills welcome back next year for a day of exciting children’s literature, but he also appears to be our secret weapon in breaking droughts with the rain pouring down during the quiz after months of dry weather!


Our thanks to Hardie Grant Egmont, HarperCollins Australia and Pan Macmillan Australia for donating the books used as prizes in the Orange heat.

See the book publishers page under the Reading for Australia header for all of the publishers supporting the various heats of the 2014 Kids' Lit Quiz Australia competition.  From this list, you can link through to each publisher's website for lots of information about books and authors - see, in particular, the children's and young adult fiction pages on each site.

Thank you also to the authors and teachers who participated on the All Stars team and to Collins Booksellers, Orange and Orange Regional Libraries for their valued support. Finally, thanks to Kinross Wolaroi School for hosting the Orange heat and to quizmaster, Wayne Mills, for providing a great day of literary fun and games.

Nicole Deans
Teacher/Librarian, Kinross Wolaroi School, Orange
National Coordinator, Kids' Lit Quiz Australia

Part I ‘My Father Bleeds History’ and Part II ‘And Here My Troubles Began’by Art Speigelman (1991, Pantheon Books)

Thank you, Nicole, for this terrific account of the 2014 Orange regional heat and, most of all, for bringing the Kids' Lit Quiz to Australia in 2012.  You can read how Nicole came to be involved with the Kids' Lit Quiz here and read about the 2014 ACT and Queensland heats by clicking on the links.

Not long now for the last heat in 2014 - on 21 March at Mt Annan Christian School in western Sydney. The Australian final will follow, at the same venue, the next day.  Good luck to all the teams that have already qualified for the national final and to those still looking forward to participating in the "sport of reading" next week.

Interested schools in the Sydney area should immediately contact Nicole Deans at to register for the Sydney heat.  Anyone who is interested in seeing the Kids' Lit Quiz in action is welcome to attend the final Australian heat on 21 March and the national final on 22 March.

I am not surprised by Nicole's observation that teachers in the audience were noting down all the books Wayne Mills recommends during the quiz. Wayne's recommendations tend to be spot on. I read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness on Wayne's recommendation and it remains my favourite recently published book.  You can read reviews of this book on this blog by two of our young reviewers, Nick and Madeleine (it's clearly a favourite book of lots of people and some of us are very excited that a film of the book is now in production!)

You can also read visual artist, Adrienne Doig's review of her favourite graphic novel, Maus, here.  Adrienne was one of the contributors to the May 2013 online literary festival. I read Maus for the first time this summer and agree with Adrienne - it's a devastatingly brilliant book recommended for mature readers.

There are many more books Wayne recommends at Good Books Not to be Missed on the left sidebar, under the Kids' Lit Quiz logo (which links through to the international Kids' Lit Quiz site).

Only a week until we discover the 2014 Australian team, which will be invited to participate at the Kids' Lit Quiz world final in Cornwall, United Kingdom in July. Until then,  happy reading everyone!

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