Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Newbery Thoughts

I have been thinking about the Newbery a lot today. Earlier this morning I read Mother Reader's post and the links she included about the Newbery. I remember being in fifth and sixth grade and looking through my teacher's bookshelf for books that had won that award. When I read them I could tell they were so well written- better than the Nancy Drew books I read or the other fluff I enjoyed. I couldn't necessarily put my finger on what made them better, but I could tell. They were the books that once finished, I couldn't find anything else to measure up to. I don't know if kids are looking at Newberys the same way anymore. I loved, loved, loved Hattie Big Sky and think it deserved an award. However, my kiddos are only in PK-5 and that book is just too much above where they are for them to enjoy it. Last year's winner hasn't even been checked out once. Every year I make it a point to show the books that won and we talk about the winners the day they are announced. The books that I love that have won the award are true examples of great writing, but it is just not the stuff that kids are picking. Even Peck's A Long Way from Chicago (another one I loved) is not getting checked out. Adults get the humor in it, but the kids don't. I still look forward to the announcement of the Newberys and Caldecotts, but I am almost expecting to be disappointed when they are announced. I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens in January.

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