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01 October 2008


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Anita, Congratulations on a provocative and stimulating essay about the Newbery Award. After decades of reading to children, my own four, as a storyteller at an independent bookstore, school media specialist and now children's librarian, I began this year to write a blog - a mock newbery - (http://anokaberry.blogspot.com/)and think and think about the very points you so lucidly present in your post. The Anokaberry Award will be a bowl of berries/books and my hope is that each and every one will have the right stuff to appeal, from cover to cover, to children. Each book - whether one of a series, a graphic novel, a new author's first work, an old-fashioned chapter book, a nonfiction stunner - will join others worthy to be a favorite in the classroom and in a child's personal library.


Bear with me, I am musing again...I think for the past several years my opinion on the Newbery Award has been the Honor books were the "good" books where as the Award book was "the book adults think children should read, whether they want to or not". I agree with much of what the author of the article is saying. It has felt that the award committee is casting about for a book that is different, while purposely staying away from "popular" or one that has mass appeal. And while yes, I am also happy for the winners, I am frustrated that what I see as "good" books are getting passed over.
And the crap of "there were no good books this year" is just that, absolute BS. There may be years that there are no great books, but there are always good ones.


Actually, the National Book Award Choices in the last few years have been far more interesting than the Newberry.

Sherman Alexie, M.T. Anderson, Nancy Farmer, Virginia Euwer Wolff - as a bookseller, these are all authors whose books I have had no trouble selling (possibly more trouble keeping on the shelf).

The Newberry has become quite a bit more stuffy in recent years. OH for another great, un-put-downable book like The Westing Game!


I've never read any of those book (and im an everyday reader).
I think I'll read Feathers.
The books may not seem interesting to some people, but it doesn't hurt to give it a try.

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