Contact: Stephanie Kuenn
Communications Specialist, YALSA
(312) 280-2128
skuenn@ala.org

For Immediate Release,
March 26, 2008

WWE, YALSA to name WrestleMania Reading Challenge champion this weekend.

CHICAGO –Ten finalists will compete Saturday at WrestleMania XXIV for the title of WrestleMania Reading Challenge National Champion, announced the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and World Wrestling Entertainmentâ (WWE).

Each regional finalist won airfare, hotel, and spending cash for two to Orlando, tickets to WrestleMania XXIV in Orlando on Sunday, $2,000 for their local or school library and a chance to compete in the WrestleMania Reading Challenge finals on Saturday at the Orlando Public Library. The national champion will win ringside seats for WrestleMania XXIV, as well as a trophy, autographed copies of “Ball Don’t Lie” and “Stuck in Neutral,” and other goodies from WWE and YALSA.

Finalists in the grades 7-8 category are:

  • Chris Thompson, Cave City, Ky., from LeGrande Elementary
  • Laquan Deen, Homestead, Pa., from Carnegie Library of Homestead
  • Emily Hardy, Seattle, Wash., from McClure Middle School
  • Beau Snoad, Napoleon, Ohio, from Napoleon Middle School Library
  • David Silva, Orlando, Fla., from Orlando Public Library

Finalists in the grades 9-12 category are:

  • Zacary Harper, Lake Wales, Fla., from Lake Wales Public Library
  • Ajoura Gwinn, Munhall, Pa., from Carnegie Library of Homestead
  • Amber Dales, Des Moines, Iowa, from Southeast Polk High School
  • Arun Natarajan, Hicksville, N.Y., from Hicksville Public Library
  • Kady Marie Peters, Orlando, Fla., from Orlando Public Library

YALSA’s WrestleMania Reading Challenge asked teen participants in grades 7-12 to read 10 books between Teen Read WeekÔ, Oct. 14-20, 2007, and Jan. 14, 2008. Each participant was required to submit a short reading log that described the books that were read. Participants could then submit a short essay on the topic, “How Wrestling Inspired Me to Read.” The winning entry from each library was submitted to YALSA, and five regional finalists were chosen in grades 7-8 and grades 9-12. Finalists in grades 7-8, who read “Stuck in Neutral” by Terry Trueman, and finalists in grades 9-12, who read “Ball Don’t Lie” by Matt de la Peña, will answer questions about each book to win the title.

Partnering with WWE provides YALSA the chance to reach a wide audience of teens with a message about the vital role books, reading and libraries can play in their lives,” said YALSA President Paula Brehm-Heeger. “The WrestleMania Reading Challenge is a great way to highlight teens’ learning, accomplishments and, after discovering all of the great titles they've read for the Challenge, their knowledge of teen literature!”

There are several championships on the line at WrestleMania, but the excitement in Orlando starts a day early as these 10 teens put it all on the line in their respective finals to see who will become the 2008 WrestleMania Reading Challenge Champion,” said Gary Davis, WWE’s vice president, corporate communications.

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 by e-mail: yalsa@ala.org.

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