The 14th Annual NBISD Unicorns Read Battle of the Books, formerly known as Battle of the Bluebonnets, was held at the New Braunfels High School Auditorium on April 3. The competition featured one team from each of the district’s nine elementary schools vying for the Battle of the Books Championship.

It was a tightly contested competition throughout, with three teams tying at the end of regulation. Those three teams – Veramendi, Carl Schurz and Seele went into overtime before team Carl Schurz came out on top.

“The Carl Schurz’s Unicorns Read Battle of the Books team consisted of five girls from our school, three fifth graders and two fourth graders. The girls worked tirelessly reading and rereading the books in order to compete against the other voracious readers in New Braunfels,” said Tammy Ullman, CSE Librarian. “They were very excited to bring the trophy back to Carl Schurz after winning a very difficult competition!”

As for the competition – each team is composed of five students in grades third to fifth. Each school’s librarian serves as the coach for the teams. The teams spend several weeks preparing for the district event in front of a live audience.

To be selected for the team, students needed to read more than five books and get the highest scores on a voluntary test of their knowledge of the 20 books.

Fourteen years ago, NBISD librarians held the first Battle of the Bluebonnet Books. In 2019, the librarians decided to rename it the Unicorns Read Battle of the Books and select their own set of 20 books for the reading program and competition instead of using the Texas Library Association’s Texas Bluebonnet Award books for the book battle. The list of books contains a variety of genres, reading levels, and book lengths.

The students competed in four (4) rounds with a live reading of 25 questions in each round. They have 20 seconds to answer each question. The questions are created by the NBISD elementary librarians. Each team has two challenges, if they would like to challenge an incorrect answer.

The winner of the event receives a trophy to display on their campus until the next year’s winner is awarded. All of the participants are also treated to lunch after the competition ends.

“I think this year’s students did such a fabulous job. There were some really challenging questions that they were presented with, but every team worked hard together to try and find the answer,” said Melanie Bowen, NBISD Lead Elementary Librarian. “We truly enjoyed seeing high fives and excitement generated by a shared love of these books. For the librarians, it’s such a joy to celebrate books in a fun and competitive way. We’ve even adapted it to make a reading program for the younger students which allows them to vote for their favorite book.”

1st Place
Carl Schurz Elementary – Brenley Krawiec (captain), Ana Benitez Villegas, Ava Lux, Elsie Jones, Maggie Nuhn and Tammy Ullman (coach)

2nd Place
Seele Elementary – Ella Valdez (captain), Peyton Zavala, Isabel Rhea, Ashley Rodriguesz, Diyanna Cruz and Michelle Wisdom (coach)

3rd Place
Veramendi Elementary  – Harper Morley (captain), Maya Jamison, Madryn Hatch, Jaycee Reetz, Elyana Wolf and Melanie Bowen (coach)

Other Competitors:
County Line Elementary – Natalee Murdock (captain), Levi Smith, Savannah Reid, Violet White, Emma Vann and Martha Lewis (coach)
Lamar Elementary  – Elena Zolnierek (captain) Jocelyn Lafleur, Cora Shamblin, Tessa Shamblin, Sophie Pruitt and Stacie Williamson (coach)
Voss Farms Elementary – Clara Fuller (captain), Jackson Grear, Mason Ditter, Grey McArthur, Bailey Hoyes and Rachel Vasek (coach)
Klein Road Elementary – Natalie Shepherd (captain), Zack Green, Melissa Green, Ian Alden, Serenity James and Brittany Brittain (Coach)
Walnut Springs Elementary – Ava Smith (captain), Kymber Sherrill, Madison Kloesel, Madilynn Merkel, Miley Rust and Julie Gallichio (coach)
Memorial Elementary – Bailey Meadows (captain), Jayden Berthelot, Arwa Khan, Sierra Shields, Zoey Jones and Jeanne Seehausen (coach)

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