The move through the bracket was a long, tough battle, but “The Day the Crayons Quit” managed to come out on top in the Salt Lake City Public Library’s March Madness Book Tournament.
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Voting started a month ago, each week bringing the picture book closer and closer to victory. The win was celebrated on Saturday as groups of elementary school children played games and made crafts centered around basketball and the 16 books nominated for the tournament.
Gracie Mora, children’s librarian at Chapman Library, said her library hosts similar programs.
“It gives [kids] the literature part and the fun part of the book,” Mora said. “Anything that drags them in so that they can read is great.”
Lindsey Watts, associate librarian, said events like this serve as a space for people to come together.
“A public library is just kind of the keystone of the community,” Watts said. “Everyone can come here, everyone’s welcome, we foster learning and growth and fun and imagination.”
The event was free and paid for by the library. Watts said the U donated gymnastics tickets, basketball tickets and more.
Some of the books in the tournament are nominees for this year’s Beehive Book Award. This is an annual prize given to one book in each of five categories: children’s fiction, informational, picture book, poetry and young adult. Teachers and librarians encourage kids to read the books on at least one of the lists. Afterwards, they tally the students’ votes and enter them into the website for the Children’s Literature Association of Utah.
Kids voted on the book tournament’s nominees in person at any of the library’s branches, and those who voted in the first week were entered into the grand-prize drawing by predicting the winner.
Mora said events like this are fun for older students and adults as well as for kids.
“I think it brings the child out,” Mora said. “I think I enjoy it more than the kids do.”
Watts said the library tries to do big themed programs for kids like the March Madness Book Tournament quarterly. The library’s summer reading program will be centered around superheroes, and a haunted library is planned for October. Watts said these kinds of events help to bring in children who don’t normally attend the library or aren’t really interested in reading.
The winner of the Beehive Book Award will be announced next month.