Beardsley alum remains committed to Battle of the Books

He’s moved from the front lines to the sidelines, but Dalton Dickerhoof continues to be a staple of Elkhart Public Library’s annual Battle of the Books.

The 13-year-old North Side Middle School student competed for two years during elementary school with the Beardsley Book Club. Now, he serves as a coach of sorts.

“I always enjoyed reading, and when I heard there was a book club at my school, I decided to go there,” he says, talking about his desire to compete in the Quiz Bowl-like competition focused on the content of 10 young adult books.

Turning reading into a competitive event was fun for him, he says, because it makes critical reading more important.

“We got to read a lot, and I always like a bit of competition. It requires reading the books over and over to catch the small details,” he says about the competition. “It forced me to dive deeper into every book I read and to pick up every piece of information that may be asked in the questions.”

Dickerhoof says Battle of the Books has been a great way for him to experience competition.

“Frankly, I’m not very good at sports,” he says. But he reads 10 to 20 books a month, he says.

With Dickerhoof and his trademark bow tie, the Beardsley Book Club team finished second in 2017 and 2018. Helping out last year, Beardsley took third in the eight-team 2019 event.

Dickerhoof says that he’s read most of the 10 books used in competition. “The School for Good and Evil” by Soman Chainani is his favorite of the ones he’s read so far.

He’s enjoyed Battle of the Books so much, Dickerhoof says he would encourage classmates to participate, but he warns them they have to be prepared for a competition.

“You have to be seriously committed to it,” he says.

This March, as teams again are answering questions about the books they read, Dickerhoof plans to be there helping the team. Another Dickerhoof likely will be on the Beardsley roster – his younger brother Sean.

The elder competitor won’t guarantee a Beardsley win, however.

“Maybe,” Dickerhoof says. “No promises, nobody can promise anything when it comes to the future.”