Liam Jose, Gabe Murrell and La’Quan Deen were crowned WrestleMania Reading Challenge world champions in the WrestleMania® Reading Challenge on March 27, sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association, and World Wrestling Entertainment®, with support from Mattel and DK Publishing. As champions, Murrell, Jose and Deen won ringside seats to WrestleMania XVI at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
Twenty-one regional winners in grades 5–12 from across the United States and Canada came to Phoenix as the guests of World Wrestling Entertainment. The national finals took place at the Phoenix’s Burton Barr Library the day before WrestleMania XVI. WrestleMania Reading Challenge spokespeople WWE Superstars John Morrison and Kofi Kingston and WWE Divas the Bella Twins hosted the finals competition. Nationally known teen author Will Weaver served as judge.
Murrell lives in Courtice, Ontario, and represented the Oshawa Public Library. He won the 5-6 competition through his knowledge of the book There’s a Girl in My Hammerlock by Jerry Spinelli. Other regional finalists in the grade 5-6 competition were Andrew Hill, La Porte, Texas; Melissa Rafet Dennis, Phoenix, Ariz.; Cindy Leung, Edmonton, Alberta; Jordan Piekarski, Lansing, Ill.; Ricki Roberts, San Diego, Calif.; and Sailesh Srinivas, Hicksville, N.Y.
Jose, a resident of Oshawa, Ontario, also represented the Oshawa Public Library. He successfully defeated the competition in the grade 7-8 competition by answering the most questions correctly about the book Super Stock Rookie, by Weaver. Other regional finalists in the grade 7–8 competition were Katherine Bensburg, Mahopac, N.Y.; Daniel Davila, Avondale, Ariz.; Sofia Eury, Phoenix, Ariz.; Kyle Duane Hoskins, Louisville, Ky.; Nicholas Luz, Edmonton, Alberta; and Valarie Winkleman, Whiting, Ind.
Deen, a resident of Homestead, Pa., represented the Carnegie Library of Homestead. In the grade 9-12 finals, he correctly answered the most questions on the book Saturday Night Dirt by Weaver. Other regional finalists in the grade 9–12 competition were Brian Keith Chest, Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.; Tiffany Chu, Greensboro, N.C.; Brian Gastelum, San Diego, Calif.; Elmaz Mahmutovic, Sioux Falls, SD; Samantha Luck, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario; and Emz Hunsley, Edmonton, Alberta.
More than 50,000 teens and tweens from more than 1,800 libraries participated in this year’s competition. Participants read 10 books, magazines or graphic novels over a period of 10 weeks, and then created a slogan and bookmark design to promote reading. The regional finalists were chosen by a national judging committee of YALSA members.
More information on the WrestleMania Reading Challenge can be found at www.ala.org/wrestlemania.
For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, films and audiobooks for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family-friendly, PG content across all of its platforms including television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 145 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 500 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto. Additional information on World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com.
Mattel, Inc., (NYSE: MAT, www.mattel.com) is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products. The Mattel family is comprised of such best-selling brands as Barbie®, the most popular fashion doll ever introduced, Hot Wheels®, Matchbox®, American Girl®, Radica® and Tyco® R/C, as well as Fisher-Price® brands, including Little People®, Power Wheels® and a wide array of entertainment-inspired toy lines. Mattel, Inc. is recognized as one of 2009's "100 Best Companies to Work For" by FORTUNE Magazine. With worldwide headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., Mattel employs approximately 30,000 people in 43 countries and territories and sells products in more than 150 nations. Mattel's vision is to be the world's premier toy brands—today and tomorrow.
DK Publishing is world renowned for its distinctive, highly visual books that inform, inspire, and entertain readers of all ages. Publisher of the recent New York Times bestseller Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Visual Guide, among others, DK also publishes the award-winning Eyewitness series for children and Eyewitness Travel Guides. DK is a division of Penguin Group (USA).