Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Favorite Newberry Award Books

Every summer our public library has an adult summer reading program. Those patrons who want to enroll are encouraged to read from nine different categories. There is a choice of twelve categories. One of the categoreis is Newberry Awards. I probably would have never read a Newberry without this little push. I've enjoyed every Newberry I've read, but I'm going to limit it to my favorites. Click here for a Dated List of Newberry Award Books.

1. The Giver by Lois Lowry.
When I read this book as a youth I didn't understand it very well. Much later in life I reread it and loved it. A couple years ago my mother and I attend a book fair at the Salt Lake City's new and wonderful library. Lois Lowry was one of the presenter. She was absolutely charming--humorous and thought-provoking. She mentioned that she had written 2 sequels to The Giver, Gathering Blue and Messenger. Rush right out to buy them. Loved them all, though Gathering Blue was my least favorite, but very necessary to the series.

2. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.
Set in Nazi-occupied Denmark in 1943, this 1990 Newbery winner tells of a 10-year-old girl who undertakes a dangerous mission to save her best friend. I really loved this book and highly recommend it.
3. Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi. I've read 2 books by Avi and loved both. This one is about a 13-yr old boy in 14th century Europe. A great selection for young boys (or old women, like me).
4. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell.
I didn't see the movie by the same name, but I'm not sure it followed the book. Based on a true story of an Indian girl who survives 18 years alon on an island. In 1976 the Children's Literature Association named this riveting story one of the 10 best American children's books of the past 200 years
5. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
My daughter recommended this novel. Well written and great story of a friendship between two fifth graders-a boy and a girl. Keep a box of kleenex colse by.

Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo. Such a cute title and a wonderful book. Aimed at 4th-5th grade, I think. While looking for a picture of the cover I ran across this great guide for teachers, along with activities, etc. What a fun book to use in teaching! A teacher's guide to Despereaux
DiCamillo is the author of some other noteable books that I look forward to reading. You may have heard of Because of Winn-Dixie and Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

7. The View From Saturday
by E.L. Konigsburg (read June 2006) What a wonderful book. I had planned to read the 2006 Newberry Award book, Criss Cross, but the librarian shared her opinion that The View from Saturday was much better. I thank her for directing me to this book.
The story features four 6th graders and their teacher. We focus in on each of the children one by one and experience their journeys of emotional and social growth. The journeys are not catastrophic; just parts of their lifes that help them grow. The ribbon that runs throughout is an academic team contest at the end of the school year. I know, the storyline does not sound that intriguing, but the book IS magnificient. I rate this book with a 5.

Towards the end of the book the 6th grade teacher, Mrs Olinski, is meeting her former mentor and principal. She watches this older woman who she has greatly admired and thinks, "A turquoise jogging suit. Tuquoise!" She had always regarded turquoise, like shocking pink and chartreuse, as the color equivalent of the word ain't: quaint when seldom used but vulgar in great doses.

Konigsburg also wrote the 1967 Newberry Award From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I'm thinking I'll read it for next summer's reading program.


Alyson said...

That last one sounds really interesting. I might have to read it. Of course, I seem to never find any time to read. I've already checked out two books from the library and never even cracked them open, and I bought one book in which I've only read one chapter (of course it will be a reread if I ever get around to rereading it). :)

Maybe if I get a nice, easy (or at least easier on the body) desk job then I won't be so exhausted and I'll actually get some reading done.

julie said...

I LOVE The Giver. My mom had me read it once and I'll always thank her for it. I agree with Aly, #6 sounds very interesting. After graduation I'll have time to read books of my own choice again. Not that I'm complainging, my french lit class had introduced me to quite a selection! :)