Category Archives: Newbery Award

Grandma Dowdel for President

I just knew I’d written about Richard Peck’s books somewhere, and it took me a while to find the post, on the grandmother of all my blogs — my first and still accessible “Lizzie Ross, Writer” at blogspot.com. Here’s the post: … Continue reading

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Mississippi cotton fields, 1933

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976), Mildred D. Taylor, 276 pp. In The Personal History of Rachel Dupree (2008), Weisgarber tells the story of a black rancher in 1910s South Dakota.  In Taylor’s novel, we read about a black cotton farmer in … Continue reading

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Killing dragons is not enough

The Hero and the Crown (1985 Newbery), Robin McKinley I love a good fantasy, and this one is good enough to stand with Garth Nix’s Sabriel. Aerin is King Arlbeth’s only child but, because she’s a girl, not next in … Continue reading

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Gorilla my dreams

Sorry for the old (very old) joke, but I couldn’t resist. The One and Only Ivan (2013 Newbery), Katherine Applegate You might be familiar with the story of Ivan, the gorilla kept in a small shopping center in Tacoma until … Continue reading

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On poetry

Four Newbery winners are books of poetry. One, Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust, is a novel in free verse and will be featured in a separate post. The other three are reviewed below. A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: … Continue reading

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Graveyard rock

I hope you get the Garland Jeffries reference! Any-who. Neil Gaiman won the 2009 Newbery for The Graveyard Book, adding another notch to his award belt and crossing another goal off his writer’s bucket list. For it seems that Gaiman can … Continue reading

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A simple matter of mathematics

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch (1956 Newbery Award), Jean Lee Latham There are few Newbery novels about seafaring. This biography is only tangentially about ships during the Age of Sail, for Nathaniel Bowditch is first and foremost a scientist, although he … Continue reading

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Dog on your mind — or perhaps Cat

It’s Like This, Cat (1964 Newbery Award), Emily Neville Shiloh (1992 Newbery), Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Perhaps it’s a bit obvious to pair these two, but I couldn’t resist. Each can be read in a day, each tells the story of … Continue reading

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He just wanted to be alone

The Twenty-One Balloons (1948 Newbery Award), William Pène du Bois So, there’s this teacher (Prof. William Waterman Sherman) in San Francisco, 1883. Been at it for 30+ years and is growing tired of his students’ antics (glue on his chair, etc.). … Continue reading

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“Well, wasn’t that lovely?”

Up a Road Slowly (1967 Newbery Award), Irene Hunt Bildungsroman. There’s a word for tongues to trip over. It’s the fancy name for “coming-of-age” stories, but most particularly ones that take the main character from youth to adulthood (or pretty … Continue reading

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