Friday, January 9

Mock Newbery 2015

I realize there's only a few short weeks until the official Newbery Award announcement, but I still wanted to make a list of my favorites...

The Newbery. Awarded to author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. That's a big deal. But what's worse is that there were so many well-written, fantastic pieces of literature written this year, that it's going to be hard to choose.

Here are my thoughts...

The Newbery Award

Jacqueline Woodson  
(Nancy Paulsen Books, 978-0399252518)

I want this book to be the winner because it is the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. It's not just a memoir, it's a deeply personal perspective of controversial historical era. It's not just a biography, it's poetry—beautifully written poetry. It tells a story but it also addresses deeper issues—social, moral, and ethical. Woodson's writing can appeal to people of all ages. It's just brilliant. See my original rave review here.

Newbery Honors

Rain Reign
Ann M. Martin
(Feiwel & Friends, 978-0312643003)

It's a simple story: girl loses dog. Girl finds dog. So what makes it genius? Everything else. Family relationships, social issues, truth, honesty, and what it means to love someone (or some dog). Plus, the amount of research that went into finding all of those homonyms. See my original rave review here.

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing
Sheila Turnage
(Kathy Dawson Books, 978-0803736719)

Her first book in this series got Newbery Honor, and this one certainly deserves it, too. If not the gold. Sure, there's the fun mystery that drives the story. But then there's the deeper stuff: ghosts both real and imagined, and how that affects a person's actions in the present. Plus, family issues, true friendship...I just love it all around. So great! See my original rave review here.

A Snicker of Magic
Natalie Lloyd
(Scholastic, 978-0545552707)

Language. Language is a powerful thing. What if you could see it? The imagination to create such a unique story and the ability to conceptualize it into something so well-written... Genius. Also: ice cream. In any flavor. Loved it. See my original rave review here.

The Fourteenth Goldfish
Jennifer L. Holm
(Random House, 978-0375870644)

You might think that eternal youth would be pretty grand. But what would that do to you and those you love? To society as a whole? For a middle-grade book to take on death and growing up and significant life issues like's impressive. The story is pretty great, too, with awesome characters. See my original review here.

Other Contenders

(as in, these have gotten a lot of buzz, but are still on my to-be-read list)

The Night Gardener
Jonathan Auxier
(Harry N. Abrams 978-1419711442)

"The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives." (from Amazon)

West of the Moon
Margi Preus
(Harry N. Abrams 978-1419708961)

"After being separated from her sister and sold to a cruel goat farmer, Astri makes a daring escape. She quickly retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, they set off for America. With a mysterious companion in tow and the malevolent 'goatman' in pursuit, the girls head over the Norwegian mountains, through field and forest, and in and out of folktales and dreams as they steadily make their way east of the sun and west of the moon." (from Amazon)

Boys of Blur
N. D. Wilson
(Random House 978-0449816738)

"There are things in the swamp, roaming the cane at night, that cannot be explained, and they seem connected to sprawling mounds older than the swamps. Together with his step-second cousin 'Cotton' Mack, the fastest boy on the muck, Charlie hunts secrets in the glades and on the muck flats where the cane grows secrets as old as the soft earth, secrets that haunted, tripped, and trapped the original native tribes, ensnared conquistadors, and buried runaway slaves. Secrets only the muck knows." (from Amazon)

What do you think? There were so many great books written this year; I don't envy the committee that gets to decide the winner. Which was your favorite?

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