Monday, January 26, 2015

Giveaway winner... and some Newbery love

First, I have a winner to announce...

According to randomizer, the winner of the signed hardcover of The Inquisitor's Mark (The Eighth Day Book 2) by Dianne K. Salerni is...



JESS HAIGHT


Congratulations, Jess! Expect an email from me asking for your mailing address. I'll be attending Dianne's book launch this Saturday, January 31st and will buy your copy then.



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Now for some Newbery talk in honor of the 2015 ALA Youth Media Awards, which will be announced one week from today, at 8 am Central Time on Monday February 2nd. 


Back in October, I mentioned in this post that I had read 60 Newbery medal winners. (Here's a link to the Buzzfeed Newbery test if you haven't taken it).

Well, I'm happy to report that I can update that total once again. Thanks to my local library, I've now read 67. I believe Ms. Yingling has read all 93 of them (Congrats, Karen!), though I don't know how she did it, because some of those older books are, um, a bit slow (I tried to read Hitty, The First 100 Years. I really did. I think the cramped font put me off too).

Here's a brief look at some favorites from the seven Newbery medal winners I read in the last few months, all highly recommended:





Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (Atheneum, 2004, for ages 10 and up, winner of the 2005 Newbery Medal)

Katie Takeshima's big sister, Lynn, makes everything seem kira-kira, or glittering, shining. It's the 1950s and the family moves from Iowa to rural Georgia, where Katie's parents work long hours in a poultry plant and hatchery. This isn't so much a book about prejudice (although that's a big part of it) as it is a haunting and achingly beautiful look at how the death of a loved one tears apart an entire family. It's up to Katie to remind her family there is still kira-kira in the future.




I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1965, for ages 10 and up, winner of the 1966 Newbery Medal)

I'd always put off reading this because I was afraid it would be dry and boring. I was wrong. Told in first person, this novel is based on the life of the painter Velasquez and his slave, Juan de Pareja, who became a respected artist in his own right. In seventeenth-century Spain it was forbidden for slaves to practice the arts, so Juan resorts to stealing colors and painting in secret, despite knowing he could be killed for it. A great novel about the injustice of slavery. I also loved the richness of the writing, with a tapestry of colorful details that brought Juan's world vividly to life.




Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Atheneum, 1991, ages 8 to 12, winner of the 1992 Newbery Medal) 

According to Wikipedia, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor completed the first draft of this novel in a mere eight weeks! Yet it's become a modern classic. Published in 1991 and set in West Virginia, this touching story of Marty and the dog he rescues must be one of the first MG books to talk about animal abuse (unless you can think of another?). And don't worry, it has a happy ending.  


What book do you hope will win this year's Newbery medal?

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson is getting a lot of Newbery buzz, so I won't be at all surprised if it wins. I've only predicted the gold correctly one time (the year When You Reach Me won). Maybe I'd have better luck trying to predict honor books. This year, I'm hoping the Newbery committee gives some love to Hope is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Herrera, The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer, and El Deafo by Cece Bell. 



15 comments:

  1. I've noticed some kids keeping away for Newbery winners because they think they'll be boring. Not me. I've only read a few dozen so far, but have enjoyed each. Thanks for the heads-up on a few more I need to read.

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    1. My kids always thought Newbery winners were boring. And a few of them truly are. But most are worthy of the award, I think. They delve deeper than the average MG book does and touch on life's big questions.

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  2. Awesome how many Newberry's you've read. I have not read many of them at all. And excited that Jess won Dianne's new book. It's fantastic.

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    1. It certainly is a thrilling read, Natalie. Jess is very lucky.

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  3. Congrats to Jess! I'll make sure Joanne gets some temp tattoos with the signed book so you can play around with some magical talents. ;)

    Like Greg, my students weren't usually attracted to Newbery winners. We teachers would often introduce them anyway by assigning the novels in class. But I have to admit, some were quite a snooze for me. Like, um, A Single Shard.

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    1. Temporary tattoos are a great idea, Dianne. Hope there's no snow on Saturday!

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  4. Good progress! I've only upped my number by 2 since a year ago...up to 56. I loved the slower, old Newbery books when I was little. Hitty was one of my favorites!
    I think you're probably right about Brown Girl Dreaming...it's got so much going for it that Newbery committees seem to love. Of the books I've read, I'm hoping for something for Greenglass House--maybe some Westing Game loving librarians will like it as much as I did! Also, The Madman of Piney Woods was great. And maybe Curiosity, by Gary Blackwood?

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    1. Faith, I suspect if I had read Hitty when I was young I would have loved it. But the internet really does seem to be changing the way I read. If a book has too much description and too little action, I grow bored.

      I enjoyed Greenglass House too, but somehow I don't see it as Newbery material. But then again, I didn't see The Graveyard Book as Newbery material either... The Madman of Piney Woods has gotten some buzz in Mock Newbery competitions also. I haven't read it yet, though.

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  5. Arrgh! I can't believe I missed out on The Inquisitor's Mark giveaway! However, I'm thrilled to hear it's out and available. I'll have to grab myself a copy, then sneak it into the house to make sure I get first dibs before my kids. ;)

    Excellent recommendations among the Newbery crowd! I'm sure you've read many more than I have, though I am slowly getting more of them off my TBR pile and into my head. Thanks for the shout out!

    --Suzanne
    www.suzannewarr.com

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    1. I'm sorry you missed it too, Suzanne. But you've been sick, so you have an excuse. Get better!

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  6. Good for you! Reading them all is a worthy goal. Thanks for these recommendations. I think I would really like Kira-Kira and will be looking for it.

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    1. Well, I don't know if I'll ever read them all, but I'll get close.

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  7. Shiloh is the only one of the books you mentioned that I've finished. I did start I, Juan Pareja, but couldn't get through it. I must try again. But then I loved Hitty, Her First Thousand Years.
    I agree with you about Hope and Daisy as possibilities. I loved both of those. Now I need to read El Deafo and Brown Girl Dreaming.

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    1. Hope we're right about those books, Jenni, and they win honors, at least. About Hitty and I, Juan, I think it's great that we had opposite reactions. Just proves not every book is for every reader.

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  8. I have read a number of Newbery books, but nowhere near the amount that you have. I think there may have been a few that I couldn't finish, either, because I just couldn't get into them. Kira-Kira sounds interesting and what a unique title.

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