This Saturday at Wright State University I will be attending a Mock Newbery. The Newbery award is the most prestigious prize for children’s literature and most often goes to a book for middle grades that is read-aloudable and/or highly teachable. This year’s winner will be announced on Monday, February 2. You have to know I am ALWAYS obsessive about this and other children’s literature awards. I’m particularly excited to be a part of this Mock Newbery which is being led by someone who is actually on the 2015 committee to choose the winner. Our task was to read some of the books that are being hyped as potential winners (the committee member is forbidden to tell us her favorites), so I’m going to tell you MY favorites.
Our to-read list includes Crossover by Kwame Alexander (a basketball story told in verse), The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier (creepy gothic), A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd (similar to Savvy – magical realism), Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin (autistic girl and her dog), West of the Moon by Margi Preus (Scandinavian historical fiction/folk story), Boys of Blur by N D Wilson (creepy Florida swamp), Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin (nonfiction about African-Americans and the Navy) and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (a poetic memoir about growing up in the Civil Rights era). So far (I have a couple more to read by Saturday!), my picks are Brown Girl Dreaming and A Snicker of Magic. Brown Girl Dreaming is so teachable for writing, reading, and social studies. (Click the title to see Ms. Woodson reading.) A Snicker of Magic would be my next read-aloud if I had my own 4th – 7th grade classroom. The wordplay is joyous, and the characters are quirky and fascinating. Check our catalog for these terrific titles. We have some of these books already and should be getting the others ASAP.
Elaine Fultz, SLMS/mls
I love being a school librarian. My profession is a perfect blend of encouraging curiosity and learning with both educators and students.