Global Reading Challenge

Promoting Reading & World Culture

The Global Reading Challenge is a Battle of the Books program sponsored by the Kalamazoo Public Library. The Challenge promotes the reading of fiction and nonfiction that celebrate the world’s diverse community. The Global Reading Challenge is limited to 4th- and 5th-grade classes within the Kalamazoo Public Library District.

Download the Teacher and Coach Guide

Download the Team Application

Global Reading Challenge Objectives

  • To promote the love of reading (and have fun)
  • To promote the use of public libraries as neighborhood and community resource centers
  • To introduce children to a wide variety of literature and multicultural reading materials (and have fun)
  • To provide a recreational outlet for readers
  • To encourage children to participate in a group activity (and have fun)
  • To encourage children to read for retention
  • To provide positive experiences between children, librarians, teachers, and parents (and have fun)
  • To form partnership with local schools and businesses, and strengthen community ties
  • To build confidence and integrity in young readers (and have fun)
  • To participate in a public library activity that promotes reading as a pleasurable lifelong experience.

2019 Global Reading Challenge Titles

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2019 Schedule

Branch Challenge Schedule

Tuesday, April 9 — Powell Branch Challenge (Northglade, Lincoln and Woodward)

Wednesday, April 10 — Washington Square Branch Challenge (Edison, Milwood and Washington)

Thursday, April 11 — Central Library Challenge (Parkwood-Upjohn, Winchell, Arcadia and Woods Lake)

Monday, April 15 — Eastwood Branch Challenge (Spring Valley, Northeastern and El Sol)

Tuesday, April 16 — Oshtemo Branch Challenge (Prairie Ridge, King-Westwood and Paramount)

Final District Challenge

Monday, April 22 — Final Challenge at Central Library (Advancing teams from each Branch Challenge)

photo: George Kuttner


In the late 1930s two Chicago school librarians developed a program to test young readers’ knowledge of good literature. The program reached thousands of Chicago school children and was quickly turned into a weekly radio quiz program known as The Battle of the Books. Questions about characters, plots, and settings were answered by teams representing public elementary schools. Answers were usually the titles of well-known fiction books and biographies.

How it Works

Ten books are selected each year by Kalamazoo children’s librarians, especially suited to the reading interests of their young readers. A wide range of reading levels is represented by selected books so all students can participate in the Challenge. Questions are based on specific factual and content information found within the 10 selected books.

In the month of March, school challenges are conducted in each school building by library staff. Branch challenges are then held at individual branches. Winning branch teams will compete in the District Challenge.

Learn More

For more information about the Global Reading Challenge at Kalamazoo Public Library, please contact the KPL Youth Outreach Coordinator or call (269) 553-7885.

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