Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Seven Favorite Newbery Award Winners

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Every year a book is given the Newbery Award for Children's Literature.  It is supposed to be for the most distinguished contribution to children's literature.  Some years the choice is excellent and other years many people are scratching their heads trying to figure out why a particular book was chosen.

I've tried to read a number of the Newbery Award winners and some I've like and others I have not liked as much.  A few (The Giver, for example) I just downright hated.  But I guess everyone is entitled to their opinions and the Newbery Award is not without its controversies.

Here is my list of my seven favorite Newbery Award winners. These are in no particular order.
. This book is a mystery and science fiction novel rolled together. It is about a young girl in the 1970s who is having to deal with the loss of her best friend. No, he didn't die. A lot of mysterious things happen and there is a need to suspend disbelief, but this is one of my favorite books. My wife and I listened to it on our drive home from Disney World this summer. If you like it, you may also want to check out Liar & Spy, also by Rebecca Stead. This woman can write.
  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
  • . This is a great story about a mouse and other inhabitants of a castle, including a very nasty rat. It is full of adventure and is a lot of fun to read. If you can, try to find an audiobook version. The one I listened to had great narration and really made the story come to life.
  • A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
  • . This is a collection of stories about a young girl who visit her grandmother. Grandma Dowdel is one of the funniest characters in all of literature. A Year Down Yonder is the sequel to A Long Way From Chicago, also a truly hilarious book.
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • . The story of Stanley Yelnats, who gets sent to a juvenile work camp for stealing a pair of shoes. He is required to dig holes to build character, but it turns out that the warden isn't telling the whole truth. This story was also made into a really great movie.
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
  • . This was the Newbery Award winner the year I was born, which may explain my connection to it. This story is a really complicated mystery, but it was a lot of fun to read.
  • Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins
  • . I think this was my first introduction to historical literature. This book is an exciting look at life for a young man during the beginnings of the American Revolution.
  • Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
  • . This is the story of a Birdie and her family in Florida, trying to make a go at a strawberry farm. She is excited to pick the berries, but not everyone is excited to have them around. Those are my favorite Newbery Award winners. Do you agree with my selections? What titles are your favorites?

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