Newbery Awards- My favorite, Your Favorite, Nobody’s Favorite
The 2009 book award winners were revealed yesterday by the American Library Association. You may read about them at the NAIWE NewsWire blog.
As a counterpoint, I’d like to share a thoughtful piece from the School Library Journal, “Has the Newbery Lost its Way? ” by Anita Silvey. After you read it, please come back and leave a comment here, sharing what you think and answering the following questions:
- Have you enjoyed the recent Newbery books?
- What is your all-time favorite Newbery or Caldecott winner?
My all-around favorite book when I was child was Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are.” I loved the adorable monsters, and as a quiet child, I was enchanted by the idea of a “wild rumpus.” My boys enjoyed Sendak, but had other books for their ultimate “read it again, mommy” favorites.
I absolutely loved Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! I homeschool my son & we were studying the medieval ages & this book was so insightful into what it was like to live in a medieval village–we felt we had gotten to know some of the people–good & bad, and even though the writer didn’t shy away from some of the darker aspects of this time period’s way of life, it came across as sweet & tender. We loved the poetry, and took turns reading the different characters. I thought, as the author suggested, that it would be a lovely book to act out in small skits. I will definitely hang on to this book–it already “feels” like an old classic that I will want to read over, with various children & grand-children!
I was beginning to wonder if it was only me. It seemed like when I went to the Newbery section of the library that the only interesting selections were the older ones. I would hope that the committee would still rely heavily on input from the people actually working with and hearing from children–the librarians. Of course, in our previous town I watched the librarian’s choices for the children’s section of the library go from outstanding to dismal in the 10 years I frequented that library. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the dumbing down of our schools, our children, and ourselves. For now, rather than make selections from the Newbery award or from among the librarian’s selections, I’ll depend on the tried and true. There’s so much great literature out there you couldn’t read it all. I can’t see wasting time on mediocre or poor selections instead.
The 2009 book isn’t anything I would want to read, much less let my children read. My all time favorite is the 1936 Medal Winner: Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
I, too, am glad to see it isn’t only me. I have found many of the recent winners (and honors) irrelevant and sometimes boring. Several contained bad language and were typical “pre-teen problem” novels, as opposed to good literature. I did like the two honors books by Gary D. Schmidt, however.
My favorites would have to be Wrinkle in Time, Caddie Woodlawn, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Bronze Bow, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and Bridge to Terabithia.
I have collected Newberry and Caldecott books for many years, but many of these recent selections will not be found on my bookshelves.