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.

big bow, books, and a heron

I had serious reservations about Sarah’s requested hair style this morning (I’m her hair stylist).  “I want the ponytail on the top of my head like this,” she turned upside down and gathered it up in her hands, “and then put the bow on.”  The bow was all of 8 inches across, large, white, with silver sequins all over it.  She won the bow yesterday by “moving up her clip” at school.  Rather ridiculous.  Still, I couldn’t see any reason to deny her.  Up up and up went the hair, with the big bow on the very very top.

Two hours later, I was sitting in the front row of the auditorium trying to find my girl, the one with the big white bow on her head.  And to my amusement, there were girls all over the place with big bows of all different colors on the tops of THEIR heads!  It’s a trend!  An 8 year old school girl fashion trend!

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After the concert, where I heard adorable songs sung by adorable children, I decided to check out a local used book store for more Newbury books.  I’m trying to collect all the gold and silver medal winners, and read them all, too.  Or rather, I determined I would read them, and then found myself collecting them.  I have already read some of them, of course.   And we owned a surprising amount.  But there are over 300 titles and now that I’ve set this goal as a 40-something year old woman, it will be an absolute treat to read most of them for the first time, and some of them over again.  I’ll be sharing most of my “Newbury book news” on my instagram account, with some now and then updates here, too.  Since I began my challenge, I’ve read 1)Roller Skates 2)The Dark Frigate 3)Sounder 4) Secret of the Andes 5)The Twenty One Balloons  and am currently reading 6) Hitty, Her First Hundred Years.  It feels like it’s taking me a hundred years to finish it but that’s not to say that it isn’t a good book because it is.  It’s just taking me almost a solid week to read it.  Next I’ll read Out of the Dust because when I posted a photo of it on Instagram two of my friends said it was a favorite.  If I’m going to read them all I want to own them all (a treasure of a library for myself and my family) and since I love a bargain and a treasure hunt I’ll be spending the summer searching.  It’s such fun.  I get confused.  Some of the titles I’ve never heard of and don’t know what the covers look like.  So I printed off a big long list of the titles to check and double check and rely on my phone to look things up, too.  All that said, I still have managed to end up with some “doubles”.

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I didn’t realize my laptop would stay connected to the internet away far over here by the chicken coop but it is and it does so I am!  The pond is just down the bank in front of me, and I am sitting in an Adirondack chair, with my purse on a little table next to me.  Inside the purse there are 8 eggs as I didn’t want them to roll out of my pockets and crack against the chair seat.  The chickens wandered around my feet for a while, one of them beaked my toes!, but have mostly wandered away, eating bugs and grass while making soft cooing sounds.  They look so pretty against the tall dark pink clover and daisies in bloom next to the coop.

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When I stopped outside with my book to read, I saw a heron at the pond so I put the dog in the basement (he would bark and chase it away) and put my zoom lens on the camera.

They aren’t the best photos in the world but they’re special because I took them standing on my own front porch!

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I’m mainly amused by the long legs.  And knowing eye.

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“The Knowing Eye”

After trying to hide from me in a pine tree, it flew far far away and I retrieved my laptop to try to post the photos outdoors in the very best office in the world!  Nature!  I heard someone say this morning that nature isn’t romantic it’s just out to kill you but you know what, that’s just part of the charm.  At the moment, I feel perfectly safe.  I doubt the Heron would say the same.  He probably thought my long camera was a gun.

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The parting shot.

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Back to Hitty!  I’m determined to finish it before 2!  That’s when I need to pick up Grace from school (she’s been helping her former HS English teacher this week!  One more step closer to her dream of becoming a teacher herself).

Happy Thursday!

mark twain house

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Grace and I FINALLY, after all these years, went to the Mark Twain house in Hartford, CT. It was easy to find, there was nice parking, and it was a charming destination for a half day exploration.  Grace has read several of Twain’s books and I read Volume 1 of his very large autobiography.  What a character he was, and what a treat it is to enjoy his writings.

We did the “Living Tour” with a man who was pretending to be the butler.  Indeed, he said he WAS the Butler.  (5 dollars more per person).  The house is heavily protected…..you may NOT sit on anything, you may NOT take ANY photos, also NO CELL PHONES, and you may NOT carry a pen in your hand.  (pencils only).  Because it was a living tour set in the year 1897 we were NOT permitted to ask any questions that didn’t have to do with that time period.  By this time I was so nervous I said not a word.

The inside of the house was GORGEOUS.  So lovely.  I have no photos of it, though!

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Thank Goodness we could take all the photos we wanted, outside the house!  And that was gorgeous, too.

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Look at pretty Grace.

The tour ended in the basement where we were allowed to take photos again, ask any question we wanted, and touch things.  I slowly thawed.  There were photos and books on a long table and while there was a question and resulting discussion (involving math) about exactly how old Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was when he spent time in Europe, I took a couple photos.

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His daughters and their friends putting on a play.

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Mark Twain’s Scrapbook!

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My favorite rooms inside the house were the library, the nursery, and the conservatory.  I could only get outside-looking-in photos of the conservatory.  Incidentally, if you would like to see photos of the rooms you can do a quick google search and find them all.  Check out the wallpaper in the guest room and master bedroom, it’s so elegant and whimsical.

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beautiful white lace curtains and the outside brick of the house

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THIS IS MY MOST FAVORITE PHOTO OF THE DAY; Of Grace in her skirt, by the flowerbed at the carriage house.  Our tour guide made a point about how the family of Patrick McAleer, with seven children, lived upstairs in the carriage house back in the Clemens’ day.  So Grace and I were intrigued, as that is the number of children in our family.  We were glad we did not have to live in the upstairs of a carriage house.

Well, actually, I may have gotten the feeling that maybe Grace would have enjoyed it.  🙂

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It was a wonderful house and beautiful morning.

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We left and went to lunch at a place called Tangiers International, which was a Middle Eastern Market half a mile down the road.  We shared an order of stuffed grape leaves.  I had a lamb gyro for lunch and she had chicken curry.  We bought a couple boxes of Turkish Delight on our way out.  David had asked for some at Christmas time and I finally found some, 5 months later.

“I was born modest, but it didn’t last.”  Mark Twain

1, 2, 3

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And the third?  Coming soon.  😉

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I liked this quote:

“I never saw my mother sleep.  In fact, she only sat down during dinner and later for about three minutes in the tub of our one bathroom.  Although Mom was perennially pregnant, she was always on the move–a blurry blue Sears housedress topped by a wavy blond perm and supported by two sturdy speed-walking legs.  She had bulging varicose veins that grew with each child, and I was always worried they were going to pop, but they didn’t.
“On any given day, Mom could be found in one of two places:  the outside landing, where she hung the laundry, or the kitchen, where she jogged between the ironing board and the oven.  It seemed my mother could do a hundred things at once, all the while keeping at least one of her blue eyes on her ten children.
“‘Watch yourself, Eddie!’ she’d shout down from the landing to my oldest brother in the side yard.  ‘Remember, you’re a born leader and all the boys are watching you!’  Then she’d vroom down the fourteen wooden steps, hip the laundry basket through the banging screen door into the kitchen, and dump it onto the table.
“‘You’re the absolute best helper, Ellen,’ she’d say as my eager sister did the folding, ‘You’re going to make a wonderful mother!’
“Shortly after noon, Mom would begin preparations for dinner, served nightly at six o’clock sharp, ‘Barbara Ann!’ she’d yell down the basement stairs as she peeled potatoes.  ‘Come on up here and take Florence, Tommy, and Mary Jean.  They need some entertainment and if you’re going to be a star, you’ll need to practice.’
“And that was my mother’s genius.  She kept her house going by putting her finger on the special gift she saw in each of her children, and making each and every one of us believe that that gift was uniquely ours.  Whether it was true or not, we all believed it.”

~Barbara Corcoran, in her book Use What You’ve Got

 

 

 

bringing it back {this moment}

I hope blogger soulemama doesn’t mind!  She was the original mastermind behind these posts and a whole bunch of us were following along and had great fun.  Alas, she discontinued her “this moment” Friday posts a while back now.  However, I missed the opportunity and the fun it was to be on the look out for that “something sweet” to photograph and put on the blog~with no words.  She intended it for sharing so I don’t think she’ll mind if I once again take advantage of her generosity, so without further ado;

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

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everything is this, now

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I cannot tell you how happy I am

to see the sunshine this morning!

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Dishwasher’s a hummin’, the dog’s a snoring’~

it’s going to be a nice day, I can tell already.

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This picture is from a few days ago when it was raining.  We had a squirrel come to visit stuff his little cheeks full of sunflower seeds.

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I never realized how brown their heads are.  I though they were all over gray.

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A delegation of mourning doves.

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“Hour one”

I took a few hours to admire our sleeping buddies yesterday.  They were on this chair together for most of the day.

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“hour two”

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“hour three”

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“hour four”

David arrived home from school.

“Dave, you’re wearing all black today”

“Yeah, but I wore my blue hoodie to school instead of this black one because I didn’t want them to send me to guidance thinking I was depressed.”

This boy thinks of everything.

And he made the middle school baseball team!  We are all so proud of him and can’t wait to see him play.

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Parker the Dog is flat on the couch snoring as I type–tired from the morning.  He helps get the kids off to school, you know, by barking when the bus comes and stealing their breakfast bagels.

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This morning’s gently clouded striped sky.

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This morning I attempted to scrub a marker drawing off Seth’s arm, “It’s not coming off,” I muttered, “Put it under the water,” he tried.  No such luck, but it is lighter at least.  We stood in front of the mirror and I styled his hair with rosemary gel as he squirmed and groaned.  He’s wearing his baseball shirt; ’tis the season.  And this is truly his technique; he either misses entirely or it’s a good big hit.  “Don’t over swing, Seth!” is the advice he gets from his coach repeatedly.

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We finished The Children of Noisy Village, by Astrid Lindgren.  It took us a very long time to get through it because we had misplaced it for about a month and forgot about it; such is life.

A very dear book, however.

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On the last page.

“TEN IS MY STUDENT NUMBER!” she explained in a loud voice.

“OKAY, THAT’S FINE,” I answered in like manner.

Our next book?   One Hundred and One Dalmatians

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Hope is a geranium about to flower for the first time in a year.

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I started a new book last night and LOVED this quote:

“Children don’t know the meaning of yesterday, of the day before yesterday, or even of tomorrow, everything is this, now: the street is this, the doorway is this, the stairs are this, this is Mamma, this is Papa, this is the day, this is the night.”  My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante, page 29

when wrestling was cancelled

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Rich was making plans to be away on Saturday for a wrestling tournament but a winter snowfall came and it was blessedly cancelled.  Sometimes a change of plans is without a doubt a gift from God, a way to slow us down and keep us home, to remember and enjoy each other.

We painted while listening to Christmas songs.

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The children gathered their snow clothes and bundled up to go sledding.  All around them were trees covered with new snow and fresh cold air.  The climbed up the hill, slid down, and did it again and again.

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When they came back inside, they threw their snow things on the floor to dry.  (But Mama made them hang them from hooks and chairs).

There was a cozy fire to sit next to, hot drinks, and games to play.

We all agreed that The Polar Express was a most wonderful movie.

There were books to pick up and read, and cats to hold on our laps.

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Each year the children become more helpful in the kitchen.

We made tray upon tray of Christmas cookies.

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It took more work to clean up than it did to do the baking.

And then it was time to listen to Dad read a year after year favorite.

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By-ends and his schoolfellows walked on together, laughing and talking.  Christian and Hopeful were not very far from them, and presently the four boys ran after them and began to ask them foolish questions.  They pretended that they wished to know whether some of the things that they were fond of doing were wrong and likely to displease the King, and they hoped that Christian would not be brave enough to answer them truly, because then they would be able to call him a coward.  But although little Christian was a shy and timid child, he was not afraid to speak the truth.  He had learned to love the King dearly, and no fear of what these rough boys might do to him would have made him agree with By-ends and his friends.  He answered all their questions bravely and truly, and at last they began to feel ashamed of themselves and said no more.  Christian was very glad when they left him, and he went on with Hopeful, while By-ends stayed behind with his three idle companions.  pg 99

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