November 25, 2004

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

I think it's good to read the award winners (I probably should branch out and read other awards --I do read the Caldecott winners, but they're picture books so they won't show up here). And many of these books I've truly enjoyed.
  • 2007 -- The Higher Power of Lucky, Susan Patron: Liked it. In spite of the whole controversy over the word scrotum. :)
  • 2006 -- Criss Cross, Lynne Rae Perkins: Don't understand why it won the Newbery.
  • 2004 -- The Tale of Despereaux, Kate DiCamillo: It was an okay tale of light and dark with people, mice and rats, though it seemed a bit forced to me. It's much better read aloud. However, I enjoyed Because of Winn-Dixie better.
  • 2003 -- Crispin: The Cross of Lead, Avi: see my review here.
  • 2002 -- A Single Shard, Linda Sue Park:A good book about loyalty, doing your duty, and love. Set in 13th-century Korea, it also has interesting information about celadon pottery.
  • 2001 -- A Year Down Yonder, Richard Peck: A good book about a city girl adjusting to life in a slow country town while living with her grandmother and learning to be independent.
  • 2000 -- Bud, Not Buddy, Christopher Paul Curtis: This one was well worth the award. While it wasn't as funny as Watsons, it's still a sweet, well-written, fun coming-of-age story. It also has a nice end note about family history.
  • 1999 -- Holes, Louis Sachar: see my review here.
  • 1998 -- Out of the Dust, Karen Hesse: Free-verse poetry about the Dust Bowl in Kansas. I'm not crazy about the free-verse idea; I found it difficult to "get into" the story.
  • 1997 -- A View From Saturday, E.L. Konigsburg: A really quaint story about kindness, change, cooperation and realizing that you belong.
  • 1996 -- The Midwife's Apprentice, Karen Cushman: The best of all the Cushman books I've read. I really enjoyed the story as well as the historical details she tends to load into her books.
  • 1995 -- Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech: I didn't really like it; thought it was too pretentious for my taste. But it may have been because I was pregnant and battling the flu at the time.
  • 1994 -- The Giver, Lois Lowry: see my review here.
  • 1993 -- Missing May, Cynthia Rylant: A very slight book, and infinitely memorable. About a girl and her uncle dealing with the death of her aunt. Very moving.
  • 1991 -- Maniac Magee, Jerry Spinelli: It’s a good little book about racism, belonging, and a boy’s search for a home.
  • 1990 -- Number the Stars, Lois Lowry: A compelling story about a Danish family during the Nazi resistance and how they help save their Jewish neighbors. Made me proud to have Danish ancestors. (Though, admittedly, none were there in 1943.)
  • 1987 -- The Whipping Boy. Sid Fleischman: I found this to be a bit silly. Not "bad", just really odd.
  • 1986 -- Sarah, Plain and Tall, Patricia MacLachlan: A wonderfully sweet book. A girl’s mother has died and her father writes away for a wife. Sarah, from Maine, answers the letter and comes to live with the family in the prairies of the Midwest. The short book deals with Sarah’s acceptance of the family and of life on the prairie, and with the children’s acceptance of Sarah. Delightful.
  • 1985 -- The Hero and the Crown, Robin McKinley: see my review here.
  • 1983 -- Dicey's Song, Cynthia Voigt: This is really the second in a pair of books. The first is The Homecoming, which I enjoyed more. It's a good tale of a girl (and her siblings) growing up and finding not only a place to live, but a home.
  • 1981 -- Jacob Have I Loved, Katherine Paterson: I read this book first when I was about 13 and I came to it from the perspective of an oldest child. I was touched by the story of an elder twin who often feels slighted by the attention to her younger, more talented, more beautiful twin. I read it this time from the perspective of a parent, and got a different story: one of parents who try their best but don’t realize the pain they are inadvertently causing their daughter whom they rely on. An excellent book.

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