Silva, Gwinn win 2008 WrestleMania Reading Challenge

Contact: Stephanie Kuenn

Communications Specialist, YALSA

For Immediate Release,

April 8, 2008

Silva, Gwinn win 2008 WrestleMania Reading Challenge

ORLANDO —David Silva of the Orlando Public Library and Ajoura Gwinn of the Carnegie Library of Homestead, Pa., were crowned 2008 WrestleMania Reading Challenge National Champions on March 29 in Orlando, Fla. Silva, the national middle school reading champ, and Gwinn, the national high school reading champ, received the coveted trophies along with ringside seats to WrestleMania XXIV at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

“Because I entered this competition I was able to leave Pennsylvania for the first time since I was a child,” Gwinn said. “I never would have thought that my love of wrestling would win me a trip to Florida and then WrestleMania. The Reading Challenge reestablished my love of the written word and helped me start the continuation of my book.”

“I was nervous and I didn’t think I’d win at all,” added Silva. “This is my first time doing this, so I feel pretty good about it. I never thought I would be that close, ever in my life, to a WWE Superstar. Now want to go to Houston! I think I can repeat.”

This is the second year of the national competition held by WWE and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) to reach reluctant readers and get more teens reading beyond Teen Read Week™, YALSA’s annual initiative to encourage teens to read for fun. WWE plans to continue to expand the reading challenge competition as part of a new initiative to extend its popularity with youth.

Silva and Gwinn had the most correct responses to questions about the books “Stuck in Neutral” by Terry Trueman and “Ball Don’t Lie” by Matt de la Pena. The authors served as judges while the finalists were quizzed by WWE Superstars CM Punk, The Miz and Matt Striker. Punk, Miz and Striker all appeared in posters distributed nationwide to encourage libraries’ participation in the WrestleMania Reading Challenge.

“It was a lot of fun,” Trueman said. “The kids were excited and very enthusiastic, the wrestlers put on a great show and I think the audience loved it all.”

From the more than 30,000 participants in more than 1,170 libraries across the country who competed, 10 finalists were selected to face off in Orlando to become national champions. Gwinn and four others competed in the 9-12 grade division, Silva and the other four finalists competed in the 7-8 grade division. Each finalist won airfare, hotel and spending cash for two to Orlando, tickets to WrestleMania XXIV, $2,000 for their public or school library and the opportunity to compete in the WrestleMania Reading Challenge finals.

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association. 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, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or by e-mail:

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