newbery books

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I plan on writing more blog posts about these books.

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A few months ago I made it my goal to collect and read all the Newbery books.

MY COLLECTION SO FAR

I had them in a smaller bookcase which quickly filled up until I couldn’t squeeze another book on it.  Last night I moved them into the shelves behind the sectional in the livingroom.  I wonder if I will run out of room there, too.  At first I was organizing the gold medal winners in order and then the silvers after that, but I decided to put them all (golds and silvers) together in order of year.

It was utter foolishness to think I would be able to read them all in one summer.  I remember the day I decided to make it my goal to read every winner and every honor book.  I was standing in front of a shelf of a select number of them, in Barnes and Noble.  The display was paltry compared to what it could have been.  “If I could make a display of Newbery books” …… it would be as impressive as the number and subject matter of the books themselves.  There are hundreds.  And stories for every kind of reader.  Even graphic novels, now.  Anyway, based on what I saw at Barnes and Noble, I had no real idea of how many books there truly were in this category of “Newbery Medal books”.

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Books to make you laugh, books to make you cry, books to read in one day, books that will take a week or more, books to write down quotes from, books to immediately recommend to your son who also loves cats, light-hearted, deep, somber, oh, so many.

(By the way, there are quite a few of them with a cat involved!  A Newbery cat category–will be a future blog post, I’m sure.)

It will take me years to read them all.  And just think, every year there are more added to the ranks.

As I search for them in used bookstores (can you imagine how much it would cost to buy them all NEW?) I find myself getting to know the books, and the authors.  I feel pride for the authors that were/are repeat winners.  What an honor!  Did you know Laura Ingalls Wilder won FIVE honors (the most of anyone)?  But no Gold medal?

I love the “one hit Newbery wonder” author (did they empty themselves out in one book?  Then I want to read that book!!) and am in awe of repeat winners.  Their names are familiar to us now, Avi, Kate DiCamillo, Eleanor Estes, Elizabeth George Speare, Scott O’Dell, and on and on the list goes.  Check out wikipedia for more information.

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I couldn’t possibly collect all of the books without the help of a printed list of all the books from year 1922-to present with me.  So off I go, with a three-ring-binder under my arm.  As I find a book, I circle it on the list.  You wouldn’t believe how many double copies I have even with my list *that I am now religious about bringing with me at all times*.  I’m particuarly excited when I get “a complete set”,  (the medal winner and the honors for that particular year.)  My current complete sets are years 1944, 1977-81, 1990, 1995, 1998, 1999, and 2003.

I counted up how many I have left to find:  201

And I thought I would read them in one summer!!!!  (long laughter)

Short Reviews of the Titles I Have Read so Far, (humble, ordinary reader of 42 years of age, stay at home Mom, & lover of books.)

Shen of the Sea (short stories, with flashes of brilliance but dragged)
Gay-Neck  (unfortunate title in this day and age, but wise.  Took me to another place. Pigeons, quoteable quotes)
Hitty, Her first Hundred Years  (cute, illustrated, boring, I love my red covered copy that I found for free at the coffee shop “take a book/leave a book”)
Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze (wise, character building)
Caddie Woodlawn (based on true story, homey, family-centered)
Roller Skates (absolutely LOVED)
Pecos Bill (fun to read out loud to your husband)
Call It Courage (Armstrong Perry teaches deeply through a deceptively simple story.  I love my ex-library copy, hardcover with great illustrations)
Johnny Tremain (loved reading as my older 3 all read the same paperback covered copy (now gone) when they were homeschooled, very good story, historical, with a loveable main character.  Makes you want to visit Boston.)
Fog Magic (sweet and yes, magical)
The Twenty-One Balloons (brilliant fun, another favorite of the kids who had it on audio)
Miracles on Maple Hill (seemed so familiar, with land, flowers, farmers, and maple syrup-making.  I want my mom to read it, she will like it, too.)
Onion John (good book but can’t remember much of it now.  Hmmmm)
The High King (“mom, you won’t like it if you don’t read the first 4 books of the series” He was right.)
The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm (Oh my word, Nancy Farmer what a mind you have!  I can’t wait to read her other book on the list.  Highly recommended, SO many layers of fun.  The title is also the name of a detective agency in the book! LOL )
The Midwife’s Apprentice (perfection, I love the medieval time period)
Out of the Dust (very moving, unique but effective writing style.  Another author to admire!)
Dead End in Norvelt (fun and moving)
Doll Bones (fantasy about a doll who influences three children to go bury her, in another town, so they have to run away in the night to travel there.  So wonderfully weird!  Also teaches about friendship.)
One Came Home (wow, I loved this book, a mystery for older children)
Piecing me Together (It wasn’t TERRIBLE, but I didn’t think it was worth the Newbery honor.  Great cover, though.  Dull, under-seasoned story.)

 

I HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO SAY.

stay tuned.

4 thoughts on “newbery books

  1. What a great idea! I would love to try something like that. I just reread The Twenty One Balloons (I first read it as a child) and absolutely adored it. It’s so whimsical and fun. I would love to hear your thoughts on all the other books too!

    • I agree with you on _The Twenty One Balloons_, I think I smiled through the whole story! My kids loved it, too. I highly recommend the Newbery books. I have not been disappointed, in fact, many of the books would have been hard for me to understand as a young reader. I just finished _The Road From Home, the story of an Armenian Girl_, last night. It was amazing. I’m sure you would love it, too. It’s written by David Kherdian and he wrote it based on his Mom’s childhood. I’ve read close to 30 of the books so far and only two have disappointed me! Let me know and I can keep writing to you more details!

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