Grade 9 English students participated in a fierce, but friendly Battle of the Books competition. Each student read a book of their choice by a diverse author and created a video book trailer and a pitch to convince their audience that their book is a must-read.
The competition lasted a full week in December, with a different group of students promoting their books each day. In addition to their trailer and pitch, panelists shared information about their book’s characters, conflict, theme, and an important quotation. At the end of each round, everyone voted for the book they most wanted to read, and the winner advanced to the Grand Finale on Friday.
Pictured above is the group from Round 5, with Kailash promoting Cherie Dimaline’s Empire of Wild, Jeremiah promoting Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, Noah promoting Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam’s Punching the Air, Malcolm promoting Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse, and Ben promoting Alison Gervais’ The Silence Between Us.
Empire of Wild won Round 5, and moved on to the finale, where it faced stiff competition. It was a tight race, and a tiebreaker was needed to determine the final winner. In the end, Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo beat Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give to claim the title.
Check out students’ book trailers and pitches in this issue and in future issues of Knightwatch.
Here are the trailer and pitch prepared by Isla to promote the winning book, Clap When You Land:
Clap When You Land is a touching novel written by Elizabeth Acevedo, an Afro-Latina author. This story is effectively written in free verse, which doesn’t only bring more creativity and beauty to this book but it takes you and places you with these two well crafted characters, Camino and Yahaira. You feel their loss and hurt and anger with them. Camino and Yahaira are sisters that had their lives broken into shards when they heard about the death of their father, Papi. These sisters live in different places in the world and for 16 years had no idea that the other existed. Only after Papi died did they have to deal with the painful discoveries of everything that has been kept hidden from them. This novel is dynamic and immersive to anyone who reads it. It switches perspectives of each sister, letting you hear each of their voices and empathize with the ways each of them feel. To each other Camino and Yahaira are gifts but also burdens. They can look into each other's eyes and know that they are going through the same hurt and the same situation. At the same time, it makes them question if they can ever forgive Papi, who was their idol, for such betrayal throughout their entire life. I highly recommend this novel if you want to immerse yourself in the story of how families will pull themselves together after tragedy and to ask yourself, what would you do if you found out you had a sibling you never knew about. The dynamic character relationships and Elizabeth’s Acevedo’s powerful free verse will pull at your heartstrings! For these reasons and many more I recommend this book as a must read!
Voters shared why they chose this book:
“I picked Clap When You Land because I love poetry, and this book is in free verse. I love culture and language and I would love to hear about how two sisters learn how they could have turned out if they were to have grown up in another part of the world, in a different culture.”
“I chose Clap When You Land because of the impactful messages. The story of the adventures and reunion of the family intrigues me and after listening to the presentation I am tremendously excited to read the book to find out the entire story. I also enjoyed The Poet X and know that Elizabeth Acevedo is a talented author.”
“I want to read Clap When You Land because of how real it sounded, and the way the speaker presented the story pulled me in. And now I really want to know how these sisters overcame their troubles and how they go on from that tragedy. Overall, it sounds amazing.”
Clap When You Land is available at the Nepean High School library.