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Being a bookworm is about to payoff; Mesa Public Library is hosting the Battle of the Books March 21.Young people in grades four through eight can register at 5:30 p.m. for the book battle that follows from 6-8 p.m. Participants will receive a T-shirt and dinner.The biggest prize, however, is the chance to compete in the state Battle of the Books, which will be held April 19 in Las Cruces, N.M.To advance to the state level, young people first test their literary skills locally. They will be divided into teams and asked questions that address 20 different books.Angie Manfredi, head of youth services, explained the questions are fairly simple and do not require elaborate answers.To prepare for the Battle of the Books, Manfredi said the library staff recommends young people read at least 10 of the books. There are two different lists, one for elementary grades and one for young adult readers.Manfredi, from her own experience, recommends young readers participate in the competition.She said she attended the Battle of the Books as a seventh-grader the very first year it was held in New Mexico. Manfredi said the experience opened her eyes to reading and exposed her to a wide variety of books.“We like Battle of the Books, both as librarians and students because it introduces students to a wide variety of genres ee (and) makes reading exciting,” she said.Additionally, the competition shows young people that reading is fun and is effective in every day life, Manfredi said. “We like it because ee it helps them read perhaps outside what they’ve been reading,” she said.The competition is an incentive for students to broaden their horizons, and read critically and with intention, Manfredi said.Mesa Public Library has been participating in Battle of the Books since at least 1999, Manfredi said.Battle of the Books is a fairly popular program, she said, and many states have similar competitions. The New Mexico Library Association, and New Mexico State Library are among the sponsors of the New Mexico Battle of the Books.