In May your Chair, Keith, and Secretary, Sue, felt honoured to be invited to attend the finals for the Suffolk Secondary School Book Mastermind. Suffolk Book League has been sponsoring this event since 1997/8, as part of our outreach work. The event is organised by Suffolk Libraries’ Literacy, Books and Reading Team and provides a celebration of the joy of reading, very much commensurate with our mission:
‘to promote, encourage, foster or strengthen by all and every suitable means the habit of reading and to encourage the meeting and discussion of all persons connected with or interested in books.’
Schools from across Suffolk competed in the competition, designed to test secondary School students (years 7-9) in their knowledge of books. Entrants initially compete in form/house groups and the triumphant winners progress through to the regional final, held in 2022 at The Suffolk Librarian Forum at the University of Suffolk.
The 7 nervous but excited finalists, accompanied by family, friends or team mates had to answer questions on their chosen book and a series of general knowledge questions and to add to the stress of the unfamiliar environment they were timed in each round. Glancing around the room it was difficult to decide who had the most nerves, the competitors or their entourage.
Nationally there may be a concern that young people’s literacy levels have dropped, due to the effects of the pandemic, but all the competitors involved in the finals demonstrated high levels of general knowledge and indeed a keen interest and love of books and reading.
We were thrilled to congratulate Katie, a year 8 student from Ipswich High School who demonstrated her keen understanding and love of Jake and Lily written by Jerry Spinelli. Katie had outstanding general knowledge, she certainly answered more questions correctly than I could. She was pleased to accept £50 for her efforts and her school received £200 to spend on books chosen by students for their senior school library.