Lego Extravaganza brings out the fun of reading

By Caroline Klapper | Feb 04, 2013
Photo by: Caroline Klapper Kyle Lindsey, left, shows his "Avengers" creation to another boy during the Legos Extravaganza competition Saturday.

Robert Super, 10, loves playing with Legos, and when he heard about the Haywood County Library’s Lego Extravaganza building competition, he knew it was the contest for him.

“I just had to enter it,” he said.

The annual competition invites children ages 5 to 15 to build whatever their imaginations can invent out of Legos within a two-hour time span. The only catch is that whatever they build has to be based on a book they’ve read. In addition, the competitors have to make a presentation board and explain their design to the judges.

“It’s a great way to connect reading and playing,” said children’s librarian Carole Dennis. “I think one of the keys for becoming a lifelong reader is that sense of play to find it fun and entertaining.”

The Lego Extravaganza used to be held at the main library in Waynesville, but the competition became so popular that it had to be moved to the Haywood County Co-operative Extension Office on Raccoon Road.

“I’m always amazed and delighted with their creativity,” Dennis said. “It’s wonderful.”

Super decided to base his Lego build on the book “Cold Cereal” by Adam Rex. He ended up designing a tree house, which is where one of the characters in the book lives.

For 13-year-old Jake Inman, the Legos Extravaganza is a great way to combine two things he likes a lot, Legos and comic books. He’s competed in the contest before, and last year, he and his partner won first place.

This year, Inman was on his own, designing a scene from a novel version of “the Avengers.”

“It was really fun last year,” he said of his reason for coming back to the competition. “And I just like doing Legos.”

Competitor Zachary Sanner decided to go with building Legos into a scene from the book he is currently reading, “Stained” by Ella James. He chose to do one of the fight scenes from the book, and he said he was happy with how it all came out.

“I really liked it (the book), and I just thought that it was a time that I could get to build something for two hours,” he said.

Among the many children’s and young adult books in the competition, 11-year-old Owen Wild’s choice stood out a little bit.

He picked “The Life of Pi,” which he read and then went to see the movie version.

“It was an amazing book and movie,” he said, explaining that he enjoyed the three sections in the book, which touched on philosophy, survival and interpretation.

Although the book is more of an adult choice, Wild was still having fun with it, building a scene from when Pi is in the ocean in a life raft.

“I thought it would be pretty fun to build animals and the life boat and the raft,” he said.

It turned out the judges appreciated Wild’s choice, since he tied for first place in the age 9 to 11 category with Hayden Burris. Second place in that age group was also a tie between Tristin Goode and Robert Super.

In the 12 to 15 age group, Jake Inman took first prize, while Dominic Zullo won second place.

The younger age category is not a competitive category, but every participant received the prize of a chocolate candy bar. The big winners of the day each got new Lego sets to take home.

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