I am so glad I decided way back in 2014 to make a real effort to read through the Newberys! Even during the months when I don’t read much, this gives me a focus and a sense of accomplishment.
Here are this year’s posts. The first link is the introductory post for the month which includes the list of Newbery winners for that decade. The link-up post is my post about what I read and the post in which the bloggers and readers who participated in the challenge shared their reviews and links in the comments.
- January: 1920s (link-up)
- February: 1930s (link-up)
- March: 1940s (link-up)
- April: 1950s (link-up)
- May: 1960s (link-up)
- June: 1970s (link-up)
- July: 1980s (link-up)
- August: 1990s (link-up)
- September: 2000s (link-up)
- October: 2010s (link-up)
And here’s the list of books, more or less in chronological-by-publication-date order.
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater (read-aloud; re-read)
- Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer
- Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
- The Great Wheel by Robert Lawson
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (read-aloud; re-read)
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (re-read; read twice: once alone and then aloud)
- Dogsong by Gary Paulsen
- Abel’s Island by William Steig
- Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman (re-read)
- Graven Images by Paul Fleischman
- Doctor DeSoto by William Steig (re-read)
- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (read aloud)
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (re-read)
- A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck (re-read; audiobook)
- Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (re-read)
- Shabanu by Suzanne Fisher Staples (re-read)
- When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (re-read; original review here)
- A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck (re-read; audiobook)
- Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt (audiobook)
- Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan
- The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (re-read–original review here; audiobook)
- Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Peña
- The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
- El Deafo by Cece Bell
- The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
That’s twenty-five books–twenty-six if you count reading one of them twice! Last year I read thirteen books, so I just about doubled my reading. Of course, a couple of this year’s titles are picture books, and one is a poetry book, but still–both the quantity and the quality this year make me happy!
Picking favorites isn’t easy, but a few do rise to the top of the heap. The favorites I’m sharing here are just from this year’s challenge, though I can say with a fair amount of certainty that most, if not all, of these titles would make a top picks Newbery list of mine, as well.
Ruth Sawyer won me over last Christmas with Maggie Rose, Her Birthday Christmas, so I wasn’t a bit surprised by how much I loved Roller Skates. So much depth! So much wit! So much sophistication! My only regret when I read this one was that I hadn’t read it aloud to my girls when they would’ve both been amenable to the idea.
I loved A Wrinkle in Time so much I read it twice, and then I spent two class periods talking about it with my book club (class) at our co-op. 🙂 It didn’t hurt that my second time through this book was aloud with my girls, and they were desperate to read just one more chapter each time we read. I must say that I love this one so much more as an adult than I did as a sixth grader–it didn’t make much sense to me then, but I was neither a fan of science fiction nor of fantasy. All of the literary and Biblical allusions just add fuel to my book-loving fire, and who doesn’t identify with Meg Murry? My girls are currently immersed in the rest of the quintet, and I’m patiently waiting my turn to read them, too. [Honorable mention has to go to When You Reach Me, which should probably be a “best of” pick in its own right. The link between the two books is just so unexpected and thrilling!]
Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman must make this list because it’s one I pull out with regularity for poetry tea time here at the House of Hope. Poems about insects that are to be read by a chorus of two? (I guess that would be a duet, huh?) Yes, please! They’re just so much fun, and so well-written. Re-eading this book sent me on a Paul Fleischman reading binge, and I discovered him to be a diverse and intelligent author.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildren D. Taylor makes the list if for nothing else but emotional impact alone. Wow. I fell in love with the Logan family when I read The Land way back in those Before Children years when I was an elementary librarian, and I have never forgotten the impact it had on me. The same can be said of the first Logan book, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.
Can anyone forget Grandma Dowdel? If such a person exists, I’d like to meet him. I love both A Year Down Yonder and its prequel, A Long Way from Chicago, but I’m giving A Year Down Yonder the edge because we get a better picture of Grandma Dowdel in this one–she’s fleshed out a bit more, and her character really shines, perhaps with the cumulative effect of both books. Listening to both of these in audio was a joy this year.
Last but certainly not least is The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt. This book might be my favorite book ever, so there’s no way it wouldn’t make the list. This re-read for me was actually one I also listened to in audio. I was so engrossed in it (yes, a book I had already read before) that I missed my turn and had to find an alternate and unfamiliar route to an out-of-town destination. Yes, it’s that good. Read it, everyone, and tell me what you think!
In many ways this year was a year of reading authors, not just books. One thing leads to another! Five of the authors on the list are authors of multiple books on the list. I half-jokingly said to remarked to myself a few months ago (am I the only blogger who does this?) that this challenge could almost be renamed in honor of Richard Peck and Gary D. Schmidt; I spent hours with them in the past few months. That’s a good thing because they are two of my all-time favorite authors!
I am so glad to have completed this challenge again this year, and I’m looking forward to starting it again in January! I hope you’ll consider joining me!
(Click here to read the wrap-up post for last year’s challenge.)