About 50 fifth graders packed the Pequenakonck Elementary School library after school recently to find out which novel had won the students’ vote as best book and would receive the library’s coveted Tall Tree Award.
“Sometimes grown-ups treat reading like vegetables … It’s good for you,” said PQ librarian Noel MacCarry at the unveiling ceremony. “So what we’re celebrating here today is that you guys love books!”
Every two years, students at Pequenakonck Elementary read a selection of books outside of class and vote for their favorite, which receives the Tall Tree Award.
At the ceremony, students read excerpts from the three finalists, City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. A trivia quiz tested how carefully students had read them, and finally, heralded by members of the band, a five-foot version of the winning book was unveiled and greeted with huge cheers: The Lightning Thief.
The Tall Tree Awards, created to encourage reading for pleasure, are a barometer of reader preferences for this age group across the country. Past winners have included The Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket, Eragon by Christopher Paolini, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.