Newbery rundown

My dad emailed me last week after the Newbery awards were announced, wanting to see how I felt about the titles they picked (especially since a lot of the ones I really liked weren't on the list). I was careful, you'll remember, not to list my choices as "predictions." If I were going to be predicting, I would have made different choices. I was just going with the ones I personally liked the best.

But let's have a look at the winners!

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. I was glad this one won. I enjoyed it, and I think I might enjoy it even more if I were to read it a second time. The occasional discussion of time travel (by kids who were reading A Wrinkle in Time and debating how such a thing would work) might put off some kids. And if you haven't yet read A Wrinkle in Time you might feel like you're missing out. (But seriously, if you haven't read A Wrinkle in Time then you're missing out anyway. In life. Because that book is good. So please go read it.)

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. I didn't read this one during the big pre-Newbery glut, but a couple of my colleagues did get to it and really liked it. It was one of their top picks. Also, the illustrations are really cool. So if you're an audiobook person, please make sure to at least pick up a print copy and thumb through it.

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose. Oooooh, edgy! Sort of. This is one I flipped through when I was reading books for the Sibert (nonfiction) award and I thought it looked really good. It's about Claudette Colvin, a Montgomery Alabama teen who was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus several months before Rosa Parks. But the local civil rights leaders weren't ready to launch a big campaign and they possibly didn't want Colvin to be the poster child of said campaign. By the time the Rosa Parks-induced boycott came about, Claudette was a pregnant teen who had to quit high school. (That's where the edgy part comes in, depending on what you feel your kids are ready to be reading about. It's not discussed in detail but it's for sure a thing.) This book does a really good job of showing what was going on in the civil rights scene and quite a lot of the story is told in Claudette's own (sassy) words.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. I knew this book would be likely to place, but it wasn't on my list because I hadn't read it. I hear differing opinions about whether the vocabulary will put this over the heads of most pre-jr-high kids--or whether it might even be a tiny bit boring. But it's about a spunky turn-of-the-century Texan gal who wants to be a scientist when she grows up, rather than a housewife. I've put it on hold so I can read it.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick. Meh . . . I read the end. It was fine. It wasn't on any of our top lists.

So there you have it! I feel like the committee made some safe-but-for-the-most-part-good choices (nothing as wacky as that let's-hack-up-bodies-with-machetes Surrender Tree from last year) Has anybody else read any of these? Are you mad about anything getting left out?


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HAH said... [reply]

So, what WERE your favorites of the new books last year?

Nemesis said... [reply]

HAH, I should have included the link! Will go back and do that . . . But you can see what my favorite kid books were here. Happy reading!

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