November 25, 2004

Newbery Medal Winners I've Read (1922 to 1980)

As one post, it was huge. I thought I'd split it up into two...

1979 -- The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin: I have a vague memory of reading this book when I was younger – the "twist" ending felt familiar. I hope I enjoyed it then because I did when I read it this time: it’s a delightful book and a whole lot of fun to read.
1978 -- Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson: see my review here.
1976 -- The Grey King, Susan Cooper: see my review here.
1973 -- Julie of the Wolves, Jean Craighead George: A fascinating little tale about an Eskimo girl who leaves her village and tries to survive in the wilderness. She succeeds and in the process learns to appreciate the "old ways".
1972 -- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Robert C. O'Brien: A very good book and very reminiscent of Watership Down. Nothing like the Secret of NIMH movie, which isn’t nearly as good as the book.
1969 -- The High King, Lloyd Alexander: This is the last book of the Prydian Chronicles. (The others are: The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, and Taran Wanderer) The series is a good fantasy coming-of-age tale; much like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (though for a younger audience). The tale can get pretty dark -- as most tales dealing with good and evil do -- but overall, it's engaging. My favorites were The Black Cauldron and Taran Wanderer; the others were good too, those just happened to resonate with me the most.
1968 -- From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg: My 8-year-old daughter absolutely loves this book. It has a fabulous premise: two children run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and manage to live for about a week before they're "found out". It's a fun book about their adventures.
1966 -- I, Juan de Pareja, Elizabeth Borton de Trevino: An excellent book about art and slavery and respect.
1963 -- A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L'Engle: The series (Including Wind in the Door and Swiftly Tilting Planet) probably should be read as a whole. But, I liked Wrinkle the best – it really is the best written, the best story. Worth reading again and again. (Which I have.)
1962 -- The Bronze Bow, Elizabeth George Speare: A wonderful story. There's really not much more to say about it without giving too much away. It was moving, interesting, intriguing. Story-telling at it's best.
1961 -- The Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O'Dell: He’s a very good historical fiction writer. This one is about a girl who is left alone on an island and her story of survival. Very interesting.
1959 -- The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth George Speare: I read this one over and over again as a teenager. I still enjoy it, though I prefer the deep resonance of The Bronze Bow now. That said, this one is still a great book about a strong girl.
1954 -- ...and now Miguel, Joseph Krumgold: An interesting, introspective, little book about learning to grow up. A boy wants to become a man, like his older brothers and his father, and go up to the summer sheep pasture, his idea of a rite of passage. He wishes he could, and his wish comes true, though with a price.
1946 -- Strawberry Girl, Lois Lenski: Another one I remember from when I was younger. It's an interesting portrait of backwoods Florida in the early 1900s and the way one girl survives life.
1938 -- The White Stag, Kate Seredy: Essentially a folk tale about Attila the Hun. Kind of odd, kind of interesting. Completely glorifies all the damage and destruction that Attila wreaked upon everyone, which disturbed me. Still, it's an interestingly told little tale.
1936--Caddie Woodlawn, Carol Ryrie Brink: A year in the life of a red-haired pioneer woman, much in the style of Laura Ingalls. Some fun, and sweet, adventures. A full review is here.
1934 -- Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women, Cornelia Megis: I picked this up because I love Little Women, but I didn't like it. It was so DRY and BORING. (That's one reason that I rarely read biographies.)
1923 -- The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle, Hugh Lofting: Wasn't terribly thrilled with it. My review is here.

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