"Read, read, read" - this is how one Hawke's Bay school hopes to defend their title in the world's biggest literary event for children.
For months 8000 students worldwide have been scouring every childrens book written over the past 200 years to prepare for the annual Kids' Lit Quiz.
Founded in New Zealand 27 years ago, the event encourages children to widen the breadth of their reading. It's now held in 13 counties including Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the USA.
The Hawke's Bay heat will be held next week, with the winners to go the national final held in Wellington in June.
Among the 100 entrants are eight vociferous readers from Tamatea Intermediate School - Liberty Fowler, Azlyn Jacobs, Lucy Forman, Olivia Knowles, Emily Young, Georgie Brown, Lexie Russell, and Izayah Tapine. The Napier school won the heat last year. While coach Jemma Thorogood thought there would be some stiff competition this year she was confident her two teams would give it their best shot.
To "train" for the competition they read widely across the youth genre, and increased the amount they read - the students said they already read multiple books every week, and anywhere from half an hour to two hours every day.
"I like reading because I like looking at something through someone else's perspective," Emily said. Azlyn's love of reading was because she could "escape into other worlds, it makes you think a lot more about how our world works".
The students were keen to win the competition, but this was not their only reason for getting involved - Lucy said she loved supporting the school, while Olivia said she enjoyed the opportunity to build her knowledge.
"I just wanted to see what it's like going to academic competition, there's lots of sports competitions but not as many academic ones," Georgie said.
Ms Thorogood, who is also assistant principal, has been guiding Quiz teams for 10 years, and says the key is "to find the best readers at the school, the ones that devour books".
"These kids just love it, they read and read and read," she said. And they need to, with quiz questions covering everything from current bestsellers to picture books, down to the smallest details about publishing companies, covers, or a book's first line.
"They have to know everything. A lot of people think [the quiz] is, what was the name of the cat in this book, but it's a lot more intense than that.
"They'll say to their teachers, can any homework be just to read? They live in the library".
She said the students enjoyed the competition simply because "they love having the chance to talk books with their peers, a competition about books - where else do you get that?".
Founder and "quizmaster" Wayne Mills said spectators could expect a nail-biting, fierce competition, with students preparing for the quiz "just as athletes train for a sports event".
To prepare, "they have to read everything that's been written for kids in the last 200 years to be across every question".
"While it is very competitive, it's also amazing to see the kids bond with one another over a shared love of books and reading – there's a real sense of camaraderie at Kids' Lit Quiz events."
2000 students will take part in 16 heats across the country. The World Final will be held in Auckland in July.
The Kids' Lit Quiz is a not-for-profit organisation, run and managed by volunteers.
-The Kids' Lit Quiz Hawke's Bay heat will be held at Napier Intermediate School on Friday 6 April from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.