Do you know why I love blogging and don’t want to give it up, even when time grows scarce and I can’t get into this space as often as I’d like? It’s because blogging gives me a little bit of room to express myself. My interest in and passion for books and all things bookish, particularly children’s books, predates my foray into motherhood. It predates my short career as a public elementary school librarian. It predates the two delightful years I spent in library school earning my master’s degree in school media. It predates my short public school teaching career. It even predates the five years I spent as a library aide in a public library. I’m pretty sure my interest and passion were ignited on my mother’s lap, though I don’t have strong memories of spending lots of time being read to. My love of story is something that has been with me for as a long as I can remember, and publishing here at Hope Is the Word reminds me to stop and savor that.
I set as a life-goal the reading of all the Newberys at some point in my blogging career. For a few years I was even really good at reading the year’s winners right after they were announced. Still, I wasn’t making progress in reading those obscure, old titles that (gasp!) some libraries have weeded from their collections. This challenge is very much my attempt to hold myself accountable so I can achieve my goal. I’m so glad some of you have joined me for the ride!
Here’s a list of links to all the original posts (which each contains a list of the eligible titles for that decade/month) and the link up posts. The link up posts are where to go if you want to see what I and others read.
- 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)
This year I didn’t read as many books as I optimistically hoped I would. (Do I ever? ) I completed thirteen books for the challenge, with one more currently in the works. Here are the titles, with links to my reviews:
- The Windy Hill by Cornelia Meigs
- Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs
- The Middle Moffat by Eleanor Estes
- Red Sails to Capri by Ann Weil
- Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham*
- The Noonday Friends by Mary Stolz*
- Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright*
- Homesick: My Own Story by Jean Fritz
- The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
- The Wright Brothers by Russell Freedman
- Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
- Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus*
- The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick
*Denotes a read-aloud
Picking favorites is very hard, for there isn’t a book on the list that I didn’t enjoy. The one that stands out the most to me is Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs, probably because of my nearly lifelong love of Little Women and my fascination with the Alcott family. I still think about this book and the Alcotts some eight months later. It spurred me on to read another work of children’s fiction about the Alcotts, and it has inspired me to move Alcott’s other works higher up on my mental TBR list.
I have to include Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham on my top picks list because it is such an interesting and compelling story, and I enjoyed so much sharing it with my girls. Having never read it before, we have been very gratified to find references to Nathanael Bowditch here and there in our studies. (For example, in another Newbery read-aloud, Heart of a Samurai–it was yet another connection we made).
Lastly, I have to mention The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick. What an over-the-top adventure this one is! I was so entertained by this book. However, despite its entertainment value, this is a story with depth. I handed this one off to Louise and she thoroughly enjoyed it, too.
There isn’t a bad one in the bunch, though. I am very glad to have read all of them, and I’m already looking ahead to January when we’ll pick up the challenge again. Who’s with me? I’d love to hear all about what you read and what you liked and/or disliked.