The Kids Lit Quiz - a championship for the world's best readers

Happy participants at the South England Kids Lit Quiz
I first heard of the Kids Lit Quiz on Facebook when last year I noticed all my author friends were sending mysterious messages to each other - "Are you going?" "Which train?" "See you there" ... this year, I found myself attending not one but two heats of the Quiz - for Southern England in Warblington School on Wednesday and the London heat in Broxbourne High School on Thursday.

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The Kids Lit Quiz was created 19 years ago by Wayne Mills, a teacher who turned his passion for reading (and clearly, quizzes) into a worldwide event.
"These guys are the best readers from each school," Wayne told me.
Says Wayne: "Many years ago I saw that children were not being rewarded for being good readers and I thought we've got to do something about this ... we've got to do something to extend those readers!"
He now takes the quiz all over the world - New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa and China - winners in each country this year are going to New Zealand for the world finals!

Authors are invited to help score or to compete against the children.
My author team at the Southern England competition was James Riordan (left) and Craig Simpson (right). The librarians at the meet took pity on us and sent in June Brooks (second from right) of Hampshire School Library Service to help us out. We were totally outgunned by the kids, coming in at fourth place.
The Quiz is fairly similar to a pub quiz, with a wildcard choice and themed sets of questions. At Warblington School, we had Harry Potter, orphans, fables, fishes (!!). At Broxbourne, we had Cities, Bears, Cats, and Poems.

Brighton and Hove High School
The girls from Portsmouth High School
More happy children.

The questions that Wayne concocts cover a gamut of possible reading: there are questions about comic book superheroes (I was really good at those - and I knew Sonic the Hedgehog), fables (Hah! The authors won over the kids on that one), classics, authors, cartoon spin-offs, pop culture, and of course Harry Potter (we authors were totally pathetic) - anything that a child might discover between the pages of a book!

Colin of Hayling Island Bookshop very kindly posed with my book! Hayling Island Bookshop claims it is the smallest indpendent bookshop in the UK - and bolster sales by bringing books (and authors) to schools
Oops! I cropped out the name of this school by mistake! But I can tell you the girl on the left with the flower in her hair goes by the lovely name of Candy, probably the best name in the world.
And these guys are from Dorset House, armed with drinks for the competition.

2 1/2. That was our score in the Harry Potter heat.
Added in later (don't know how I could forget): Arriving at the Broxbourne School with Keren David and Fiona Dunbar, the receptionist said:  "Authors? What are your names please?" So naturally we told her the truth: "Amy Tan, JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer." It was a temptation we couldn't resist.

My author team fared a lot better in the London meet - we won and got to have our picture taken for the local newspaper! ... admittedly, one of the reasons we did so well was because my team-mate Catherine Johnson seemed to know all the answers. Having said that, she dropped the ball by refusing to believe that the Spiderman movie did better than Batman in the box office which I shall never let her forget..
We just got Cathy to answer the sheets while we drew cartoons on the paper tablecloth.

Authors Fiona Dunbar and Sophia Bennett. Fiona was on my team with Cathy and Leila Rasheed.
When I Was Joe author Keren David and Sophia (pictured above) were on the OTHER author team. The losing team heh heh. Other members of the losing team were Anthony McGowan,  and Pat Walsh
A not very brilliant photo of score keeping authors Mark Robson and Tamsyn  Murray. I didn't manage to get a photo of the other authors in the London meet,  Ann Evans and Steve Feasey who nobly agreed to be markers.
Apparently, the London meet was the biggest ever in the UK, with 40 teams!
I was thrilled to see kids with reading away amid all the hustle and bustle. 

Thank you to Liz Bridge of Warblington School and Susan Shaper of the Broxbourne School for organizing the regional events that I attended. It looked like a Herculean task, but it was definitely worth it!

The UK finals will be next Tuesday, the 30th of November, 1.30pm at the Oxford Town Hall, attended by 30 authors. May the best readers win!