Eagle kids catch Idaho Blue Book mistake

EAGLE — Are you smarter than the fourth-graders at Seven Oaks Elementary School? The Idaho secretary of state’s office thinks the kids are clever.

Seven students found a misstated fact in the Idaho Blue Book and called for Secretary of State Lawerence Denney to make a correction.

The students are part of the school’s Idaho History Bee Team and have been spending the school year studying the Idaho Blue Book, an almanac of constitutional, historical and statistical information.

The kids found an error listing Idaho as the 13th in total land area, but after research, the students actually found Idaho ranks No. 14 in the nation.

“I want to make sure it’s right because other people who learn about Idaho history need to know the correct answer,” said fourth-grader Megan Baird.

Denney surprised the Idaho History Bee Team in front of the entire school during an assembly Monday morning. Denney announced the students were correct and the Idaho Blue Book has been updated online and will be corrected in the next publication of the Blue Book for 2019-20.

“I was surprised,” said fourth-grader Noah Dempster. “I thought we would just get a letter back in the mail, but this was much better.”

Denney presented the seven students with an edited Idaho Blue Book and a letter from his office.

“I’m impressed when young people take the time to check facts and figures in the subject matter they are studying,” Denney said. “I applaud the efforts of these students.”

The Idaho Blue Book is published in odd-numbered years under the secretary of state’s direction. The book is distributed free to all schools and libraries in the state upon request.

The Blue Book received its name not from the color of its cover but rather by definition of content. Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms defines a blue book as “a printed book containing the names of all persons holding office under the Government of the United States. It answers the Red Book of England.” Individual states have taken this concept and expanded it to include a wealth of information about state officials and resources as well as statistical and historical profiles.

The Seven Oaks Elementary School Idaho History Bee Team will compete against North Star Charter School and Cole Valley Christian School during an annual competition to answer 44 questions about Idaho on May 23 at Centennial High School.

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