Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Newbery Challenge

Recently, I've been reading a lot about the Newbery Award winners.  Yes, I did read this year's prizewinner -- Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me, which I believe was absolutely deserving and embodies everything that the Newbery should be.  But I've actually been reading lots and lots about the various award winners while researching for a class project for History of Youth Services, which has inspired this new challenge.

I've read a lot of juvenile literature -- I was a voracious reader as a child (shocking, isn't it?) plus I've tried to keep up with what my own children are reading, then three classes of children's lit in library school.  I was so surprised to go through the list and discover I'd read barely a third of them, only 31 out of the 89 winners.   I am amazed that I have missed so many.  I've never read Sounder!  How did I miss Jacob Have I Loved, and Maniac Magee?  Below is the list, from most recent to earliest.  Books I've read are highlighted in bold text.  Quite a few of the early ones I've never even heard of, much less read.  So this is my new challenge.  I have 58 left to go, and there are 43 weeks left in this year.  I don't expect to get them all read by the end of the year, but they are juvenile books, so they're pretty short, and I am a fast reader.  So my goal is one per week, and if I can get through more than that, great.  I'm also planning on joining The Newbery Project.

Now all I need to do is decide the order.  I have a couple checked out already for my class project, so I'll probably tackle those first.  I also have a few unread winners floating around the house, so those should come next.  After that, I'll probably choose them randomly -- the libraries here in San Antonio have all the Newbery winners in a special section, so every week when I volunteer I could just pick whichever strikes my fancy.

I think I've read the most popular ones already (there's a great blog from Allen County (IN) Public Library -- for several years the librarians had a Newbery book group and blogged about all the books.  If you're interested you should check it out here.)  Which is your favorite?  Which should I absolutely read first?  And which ones are real duds and should be put off until the bitter end?  I'd love to hear your opinions and if we review the same books I'll be happy to add links to your blog.  Thanks!

Newbery Count: 31/89

2010 When You Reach Me  by Rebecca Stead
2009 The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
2008 Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz
2007 The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
2006 Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
2005 Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
2004 The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo 
2003 Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi
2002 A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
2001 A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
2000 Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

1999 Holes by Louis Sachar
1998 Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
1997 The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
1996 The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman
1995 Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
1994 The Giver by Lois Lowry 
1993 Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
1992 Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
1991 Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
1990 Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

1989 A Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman
1988 Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman
1987 The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
1986 Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
1985 The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
1984 Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
1983 Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt
1982 A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard
1981 Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
1980 A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-1832 by Joan W. Blos

1979 The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
1978 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
1977 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
1976 The Grey King by Susan Cooper
1975 M. C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton
1974 The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
1973 Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
1972 Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
1971 Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars
1970 Sounder by William H. Armstrong

1969 The High King by Lloyd Alexander
1968 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
1967 Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt
1966 I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Treviño
1965 Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska
1964 It's Like This, Cat by Emily Neville
1963 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
1962 The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
1961 Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
1960 Onion John by Joseph Krumgold

1959 The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
1958 Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith
1957 Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorense
1956 Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
1955 The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong
1954 ...And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold
1953 Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark
1952 Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
1951 Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
1950 The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli

1949 King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry
1948 The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois
1947 Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
1946 Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
1945 Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson 
1944 Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
1943 Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
1942 The Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds
1941 Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry
1940 Daniel Boone by James Daugherty

1939 Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright
1938 The White Stag by Kate Seredy
1937 Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer
1936 Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
1935 Dobry by Monica Shannon
1934 Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women by Cornelia Meigs
1933 Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis
1932 Waterless Mountain by  Laura Adams Armer
1931 The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth
1930 Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field

1929 The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
1928 Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji
1927 Smoky, the Cowhorse by Will James
1926 Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman
1925 Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger
1924 The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes
1923 The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
1922 The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon


  1. I read Jacob Have I Loved two years ago, for the first time, and I HATED it. Absolutely hated it. My review is so scathing...

  2. Hmm. Don't know if I should read your review or wait until I've read the book. Surely there have been some that you liked? I agree, sometimes I read them and wonder what the heck they were thinking. I thought The Higher Power of Lucky was really boring and contrived.

  3. My review is pretty short and doesn't have any spoilers in it. In fact, my favorite line from a review ever comes from that one: she "harbors her idiocy through to the end." My cousin thought it sounded like a good tombstone enscription, and we had a lot of good fun talking about that in comments.

    I do certainly like some books on the list! The Graveyard Book, The Giver, Number the Stars, Bridge to TErabithia, Basil E. Frankweiler, The Witch of Blackbird Pond...yeah I could go on but I should stop.

  4. I think you and I like all the same books! Sounds like we've read all the same books so far. I love The Witch of BB Pond, one of my favorites of all time. I'll have to post my top-rated picks. You should check out the Allen County Library rankings I mention, it's really interesting since you like kid lit. s