Wow. First let me say how impressed I am with the kids who took part in this world final. Their knowledge of literature is phenomenal! I don't think I could have correctly answered half of the questions they were presented with yesterday afternoon!
Despite what you may think, the "sport of reading" is exciting to watch! It works like this: The quizmaster asks the questions (which are pretty detailed, and usually quite cryptic) and the first team to press their buzzer gets to answer. If they get it wrong, they lose a point, and the other teams can still have a go at answering the question. Whoever gets it right gets two points. At the end of the competition, the team with the most points wins.
There were ten rounds, each a different category, and the competition became more intense the closer we got to the end. The South African team had been in second or third place most of the afternoon. In the final round, the New Zealand team, which had been behind us, suddenly came back, answering correctly a number of times. Then on the very last question, South Africa hit the buzzer first, answered correctly, and won the competition by one point! So exciting!
|The quiz final was held at Durban Girls' College.|
|Look, look! My books!|
|The 6 teams on the stage, all ready with their hands on the buzzer!|
|The winning team from Roedean School, Johannesburg, South Africa. Congratulations! You are the top young readers in the world! (Photograph by Linda Whelan)|
The Gala Dinner
The gala dinner was held at uShaka Marine World. I assumed we'd be going to one of the restaurants there, but no. A buffet dinner was set up within the aquarium itself! So we were sitting right next to tanks of gigantic fish, sharks, sting rays, jellyfish, and other marine life. So cool! And what is extra cool about this aquarium is that the entire thing is built inside what's meant to be an upside down shipwreck.
|Dinner was set up within the aquarium itself. So cool!|
|So it's all inside the rusted interior of an imagined shipwreck.|
|Our table was right next to one of the aquarium tanks.|
|Cool literary decor on the tables. I got to take the flowers home!|
|See? It's like an upside down shipwreck! You can see a table and some steps on the ceiling!|
|More upside down stuff! I can imagine ancient sailors steering this ship...|
|Gcina Mhlope (famous SA author, poet, playwright, director, actor) regaling us with an inspiring story.|
|And ... My husband will probably NOT be impressed when he sees I've put this picture here!|
It was an all-around awesome evening. Oh, and the cherry on the top? The quizmaster himself--the guy who came up with this entire quiz idea 20-something years ago, the guy who makes up ALL the quiz questions every single year, the guy who must have read TONS AND TONS of children's books in his lifetime--has read my first book! And thought it was great!
|Quizmaster, Wayne Mills. (Photograph from blogs.library.auckland.ac.nz)|
In case you're interested, these were the schools that, out of all participating schools in their country, made it into the final:
Australia: Canberra Grammar School
Canada: University of Toronto Schools
New Zealand: Takapuna Normal Intermediate School
South Africa: Roedean School
United Kingdom: Cockermouth School
USA: Squadron Line Elementary School