Sunday, January 25, 2009

Newbery Predictions from Friends

We asked some of our smart, book expert friends, to send us their recommendations for this year's Newbery award. We love hearing everyone's thoughts on the award. Some great thoughts on books in general:-) The conversation is always such fun! Here is what they said:

From Ray Barrett, one of the great children's librarians at the Dublin Library says:

"I've had a chance to finish "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins and I enjoyed it more than anything else that I've read recently (Juvenile or Adult!). The themes that form the basis of the book are serious, but are handled in such a way that I don't believe it would be too much for an excellent Middle School reader to handle. After all, they are constantly surrounded and inundated by similar situations in the world in which they live today. The main characters are very well developed with individual personalities, beliefs, and observations on the state of their lives as they compete in the games. The main character, Katniss Everdeen, definitely evolves and grows throughout the course of the book, and she is the personification of self-sacrifice as she makes the difficult decisions with which she is faced. I found the book extremely difficult to put down and continued to think about it in the time between my reading opportunities. When I had finished it, and after re-reading the last few pages several times, I actually felt a sense of loss that my visit to this world was over! The good news is that it's the first book in a trilogy, although the reader is unaware of this until the last page. It was such a powerful reading experience, and it was written so effectively, that I believe it will appeal to both an older Teen audience as well as to younger Middle School readers who are interested in a book that stresses the values of personal identity, self-sacrifice, and resistence to the status quo. "The Hunger Games" is the type of book that could win the Newbery or the Printz (or both?), and it's my pick for this year!"

From Jen Allen, Literacy Coach in Maine and author of Becoming a Literacy Leader

"When Franki asked me my pick for this year's Newbery award I have to admit
that I took a deep breath. It seems like I am always in left field with
my selections. But with that said, I have to say that The Life and Crimes
of Bernetta Wallflower by Lisa Graff is one of my favorite reads of the
year. This story is all about the choices that we make and the
consequences for our actions. I especially like the story because it is a
real kid grabber and truly appeals to students in the intermediate grades.
I think too often I pick books that appeal to me as an adult and at
times lose sight of what kids want in a book. As my son often tells me,
he is not always looking for books with deep meaning. He just wants to
lose himself in the book with the characters. He helps me to remember the
beauty of being eleven and the power an adventurous and sometimes
outrageous storyline can have on the desire for kids to engage with books."

From Larry Swartz, our good friend from Toronto and author of GOOD BOOKS MATTER (review to come soon), LITERACY TECHNIQUES, and THE NOVEL EXPERIENCE has some predictions as well as some titles that can't win the award but are worth the read!

OK... once again I will give some thoughts to the Newbery.. but they never listen to me.. i'm still grieving over HOME OF THE BRAVE by Applegate not getting recognition last year.. it was the best, so there!...

I'd certainly give recognition to THE UNDERNEATH.. a beautifullly written book.. but a bit strange.. and somewhat schizophrenic... it's about many things.. and the illustratioins don't work.. and get rid of that cover.. the book, I think, is for a narrow audience (strong readers (girls) in grade 5 or 6)... but i enjoyed the read and it's layers.

Probably the award should go to SUNRISE AT FALLUJAH by Walter Dean Myers.. He really is a hero of young adolescent literature... this book is an encyclopedic... historic overview of the IRAQ war and for it's importance, I give it a vote.. will 'they' give it to a YA novel? assumption: a different intended audience for the newbery ...

I wouldn't mind if BROOKLYN BRIDGE by Karen Hesse or THE WILLOUGHBYS by Lois Lowry were recognized.. does the committee care if these were previous winners? do they care if they are authorspeople have heard of?

colleagues at the book store love THE HUNGER GAME by Suzanne Collins.. but I ain't a sci fantasy fan so it doesn't get a big rah rah from me....the books I particularly enjoyed this year don't qualify.. cuz they ain't american.. i really liked the Canadian book WORD NERD by Susin Nielsen... and the australian book NAKED BUNYIP DANCING by Steven Herrick... and Michael Morpurgo's (british)..BORN TO RUN
there's some monday morning thoughts from north of the 49th parallel...just


  1. I agree with your friend Larry! How is is possible that Home of the Brave didn't get any recognition at all? Oh well...I know...time to move on...but that book is amazing! a must read for everyone!

  2. Anonymous3:23 PM

    I am not going to post the announcement here and spoil it for anyone, but I was thrilled to learn that I already own the Newbery award winner and two of the honor books.

  3. I agree with Ray, that Hunger Games is a wonderful teen read. A strong female heroine that will appeal to boys with this action packed storyline. Check out Graceling for another excellent teen fantasy.


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