Tuesday, January 19, 2010
When You Reach Me
Although it wasn't my #1 favorite this year, I understand why it won. It's a cleverly crafted story and very deserving of the Newbery.
Although I usually have my favorites to win, my main concern about the winners is this: do we have copies in the library? When I went over the final list yesterday, I had a feeling that we did have most of them, but I did know that we were missing a Caldecott Honor book or two (we'll order them). I also usually order several books from the newer or more specialized awards.
Let's see what we have!
Newbery Honor books:
The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
Haven't read it, but have heard raves about it. It's supposed to be very funny, so I'm glad a funny book was recognized!
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
On my TBR (To Be Read) list. I love Grace Lin's other books, so I'm looking forward to this one.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
WOOO HOOO! If you've been reading my blog for some time, you know that I adore this book. I first read it when School Library Journal assigned it to me for review, and I've admired it ever since. I'm excited to see what Jacqueline Kelly has in store for us. So very happy that this won.
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature and was thought to be a front-runner for the Newbery. This is an exceptional book. Glad it won an Honor.
The Lion and the Mouse
Not surprising at all; this was on most Mock Caldecott and predictions list. It's a stunning and gorgeous book; nearly wordless (although that wasn't Pinkney's original intention) and a work of art.
And the Caldecott Honor books? Ummmm....hey! What's that thing in the sky?
(Okay, okay. We don't have them. I admit it! It happens. But I will order them, I promise!)
In case you don't know, the Honor books are All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Freeze and Red Sings From Treetops by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. Congratulations to all.
I love the Theodore Seuss Geisel award for the most distinguished beginner/easy reader. While you're waiting for the other Geisel winners to arrive, check out Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day by Kate McMullan, one of the Honor recipients.
I can't think of one 2009 book that has lingered with me and aggravated me as much as has Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream. The fact that it won the Sibert Medal (for best information book) doesn't help.
I read this book in one night. That's not something I normally do, and I cannot think of any nonfiction book that I've read in one sitting (nonfiction picture books don't count). It's that compelling. It's that great of a story. It's a story that needed to be told, especially when this year brought a lot of new attention to the first moon landing. There's been quite a bit of controversy over it (people questioning the presentation of facts and the author's presumed agenda); if you're really interested, check out School Library Journal's Heavy Medal blog.
Not only does it tell us the story of those 13 outstanding women involved with the Mercury 13 program, it also tells (briefly) the story of women who followed in their footsteps, including Valentina Tereshkova and Sally Ride. It is a story of courage, bravery, determination, heartbreak, and sacrifice. Which is why I do not understand why there is no mention of the fact that four women (Christa McAuliffe and Judith Resnick on Challenger and Kalpana Chawla and Laurel Clark on Columbia) sacrificed the most in the name of space exploration, especially when Kalpana Chawla and Judith Resnick's previous accomplishments were mentioned. I don't have a problem with the author's tone, and I can't reasonably argue over the presentation of facts and how it fits in with an "agenda," but this does bother me.
The Sibert Committee also named several Honor books:
I haven't read The Day-Glo Brothers yet, but it looks like a lot of fun.
Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11
As a member of this year's Jefferson Cup committee (we honor children's/YA American history and historical fiction books), I think I've read every Apollo 11 book published this year. This is one of the best.
I'll jabber about the other awards later. Gotta move on.
Posted by Jennifer Schultz at Tuesday, January 19, 2010