March Tournament of Books

A kindergarten boy points to a screen that shows a book cover with the title, "I Am Every Good Thing."

The madness of March found its way into West and Northstar Elementary Schools this month with a March Tournament of Books. 

In celebration of National Reading Month, Instructional Coaches Jill Mathes and Michael Splavec organized a tournament of books focusing on diversity and inclusion. Sixteen books were recorded and read by Knoxville High School Students who represented a wide range of backgrounds and extracurricular involvement. The books included: 

I Am Every Good Thing, by Derrick Barnes 

I Can Be Anything Don’t Tell Me I Can’t, by Diane Dillon

Noah Chases the Wind, by Michelle Worthington 

It’s Okay to be Different, by Todd Parr

Big Papa and the Time Machine, by Daniel Bernstrom

Where Are You From?, by Yamile Saied Méndez

Mixed Me, by Taye Diggs

I Am Enough, by Grace Byers

The Worm Family, by Tony Johnston

Same, Same But Different, by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

Be Kind, by Pat Zietlow Miller

Thank You, Omu!, by Oge Mora

A Boy Like You, by Frank Murphy

All Are Welcome, by Alexandra Penfold

Saffron Ice Cream, by Rashin Kheiriyeh

Parker Looks Up, by Jessica Curry and Parker Curry

The tournament kicked off with a week of dress up days.  Each day students listened to two different books and voted for their favorite. The book with the most votes moved on to the next round. In the last week of March, students had chosen Noah Chases the Wind, I Am Enough,  Thank You, Omu!, and the last book is being voted on soon to dual it out in the final four. 

During the planning process Mathes and Splavec worked with the Knoxville Public Library who now has expanded their reading options when it comes to children’s books about diversity and inclusion. The public can check books out for their own leisure and learning.

“The goal of the March Tournament of Books was to foster the love of reading and highlight different books kids might not pick up. We want students to know it’s okay to be different and we want to foster an inclusive environment here at the Knoxville Community School District,” - Jill Mathes.