Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Slice of Life: Newbery Musings!

I'm delighted and overwhelmed and excited and still reading. One of my favorite events of the year is the Youth Media Awards announced each year at the mid-winter American Library Association conference. And it's less than a week away!

When I was in the classroom, I wrote grants to purchase books and we participated in book clubs for Newbery possibilities (and then the books became part of our school's literature circle collection). Since I retired, I've worked with an after school book club (and this year, a lunchtime book club) to explore some of the new books published during the past year that might win the Newbery award. 

We are guided each year by the Mock Newbery list selected by the children's librarians at KCLS (King County Library System). This year's list included six titles (and I can happily report that I read all of them):

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis
*The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connors (This is my favorite from the library's list!)

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Other books I've read that are also eligible:
Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
*Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes - (This is my personal favorite. I loved hearing Jewell Parker Rhodes in a session at NCTE. I'm crossing my fingers that this book gets some Newbery love!) 
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Books that I still want to read or finish: 
Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard (I picked it up and started it tonight since it's on my #mustreadin2019 list and it appeared as one of the finalists on the Heavy Medal blog.)
Snow Lane by Josephine Angelini (started this last night, but I've set it aside and I'm reading Just Like Jackie first)
The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon  (I started this one in December, but had to return it to the library before finishing it. I requested it again and picked it up this week.)
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
Sweep by Jonathan Auxier (still waiting for this one. I'm currently #13 on the holds list for 12 copies.)

I'll stop there because I could go on and on about books I still want to read before the ALA YMA (American Library Association Youth Media Awards) on Monday, January 28th.  Since the conference is in Seattle this year,  I won't have to wake up extra early (like I have to when the conference is on the east coast). I'll be at the middle school listening with members from our lunchtime book club and enjoying some breakfast treats. 

Here's a hint for library users: Open a window to your library account so you can request winning titles as they are announced.

If you'd like to see some of the predictions, visit these blog posts:
Betsy Bird's Final Predictions
Newbery Finalists on the Heavy Medal Blog

Leave a comment and let me know which book(s) you hope will get some Newbery love when the awards are announced on Monday.


  1. I love doing a Mock Caldecott with my class and we have read many great books as a result. Sadly my local book store did not get my mega order from November to me, so who knows if we will have read the winner, but...

  2. It will be so exciting to see which books "get some Newbery love"! I imagine that your passion for reading and sharing the love is like an aura surrounding you & drawing people in, everywhere you go. And fingers crossed for your personal picks!

  3. I loved reading your excitement and reading plans. I think it's wonderful you still have a passion for books and learning after being in the classroom. Inspiring.

  4. Well, you know I'm reading Styx Malone now, hope you get to Sweep someday. It is a favorite. There have been so many wonderful ones this year. I loved Ghost Boys, too! Can't wait till Monday!

  5. What a rich life of reading you have, your book club of ladies and a book club with kids. You have the best of both worlds. Louisiana's Way Home is the only one I've read on your list. Guess I'd better step it up.

  6. Books, books, books. Life is wonderful, isn't it, when you can read books?

  7. What Terje said - because life is extra good with lots of great books at hand!

  8. I adored Harbor Me. Didn’t want it to end. Would love to see it win the Newbery!

  9. Thanks for the pics, Ramona. I want to spend hours just reading fiction but I have to wade through my professional reading first.

    1. Beware the never-ending professional reading pile! Sneak away for some fictional fun occasionally.