Competition Encourages Elementary Students to Read Books They Normally Wouldn’t

Elementary school librarians created the You’ll Enjoy These Incredible Books! (YETI) Books competition to challenge students to read books from a variety of genres and to work together as a team.

A year in the making.

Each year school librarians from across the Pacific Northwest nominate the best, recently published novels for middle grader readers for the Otter Award, Sasquatch Award and the Young Readers Choice Award.

In an effort to motivate students to read these books, Bellingham school librarians created a fun competition. The librarians met in the spring to select 13 books from the award lists to be the subjects of the YETI book competition (formerly the Sasquatch Super Bowl).

“Picking books from these three lists allowed us to select books with a greater degree of diversity, and at a wider reading range in the hopes of making the competition more accessible to students of different reading levels and backgrounds,” said Lisa Christensen, library media specialist at Lowell Elementary.

Over the summer fourth and fifth grade students read the books and many teachers chose several of the YETI books to read aloud to their classes during the school year.

Most schools held regular YETI meetings where students could take practice quizzes in preparation for the school-level YETI competition. For some schools these sessions were run like a book club with the students who planned to participate in the contest working together to discuss the books and do practice questions/quizzes.

After months of preparation, students form teams with some choosing to divide up the reading list or re-read books. Perhaps most importantly, each team chooses a name (e.g. Glitter Turtles, Fleek Foxes, Pandamonium, and The Honest Truth about the Unusual Chicken Masterminds that Saved My Life in a Tree).

From there, a winning team from each school-level competition goes on to compete in the district finals, a fun and challenging set of quizzes designed to test students’ knowledge of the books. Questions test students’ ability to recall details in the books, such as, “In which book does seeing an umbrella make a character think he/she is going crazy?”

“By participating in the YETI competition, every single kid told me they read something they normally would not have and they liked it,” said Kristin Cleary, library media specialist at Silver Beach Elementary.

The competition receives support from the community as well. The Whatcom County Library purchases extra copies of the chosen books, and makes them available in eBook and audio book format.


Congratulations to the 2018 YETI Book Competition winners:


Fourth grade

First place: Order of the Phoenix from Lowell Elementary School (Lillian Fawell, Maria Horja, Jessie McDonald, Anya Winter) (pictured above, in photo 4)

Second place: The Mind Readers from Wade King Elementary School (Olivia Aven, Meaghan MacGregor, Zoe Powers, Emma Warner)

Third place: Perky Pandas from Parkview Elementary School (Ivy Brooks, Piper Cohen-Jones, Riley Denton, Laine Garat)

Note: The three teams were tied after the first round of quotes, and continued to be, into several rounds of “sudden death.”


Fifth grade

First place: The Pink Pigmy Puffs from Lowell Elementary School (Chelsea Fortna, Frances Higgins, Scarlet Shreve, Audrey Zecha) (pictured above, in photo 3)

Second place: Readers of the Lost Ark II from Silver Beach Elementary School (Samuel Donner, Luke Handzlik, Kelly Kernan, Jacob Kuhn) (pictured above, in photo 6)


A list of the YETI books can be found here:

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