Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weekly Geeks 2010-2: Awards Season

With the awards season for Hollywood in full swing (Golden Globes and Oscars are on their way), the awards handed out in the literature department can be easily overlooked. But today's award winners will be tomorrow's required reading, so Weekly Geeks is reminding us to not ignore those literary honors:

Are you among those anxiously waiting for Monday's announcements?! Which announcements, you say, well ALA's BIG announcements, of course! On Monday, January 18th, we'll learn who has won the Newbery, the Caldecott, the Printz, and the Coretta Scott King awards. Of course, those are just a few of those that will be announced. Do you follow any of these awards? Do you seek these winners out to read?

I decided to go with activity #3:

Choose an award (like the Printz and Newbery) and look at the list of previous winners/honors. Which books have you read and enjoyed? Are there any that you hated? Share a few 'favorites' with your readers.

I've chosen to spotlight the Newbery Award. The John Newbery Medal was created in 1922 and was the first children's literary award in the world. It is given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Here is a list of the Newbery Medal and Newbery Honors winners that I have read.

*The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo- 2004 Medal Winner
*Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff- 1998 Honors
*Number the Stars by Lois Lowry- 1990 Medal Winner
*Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia McLachlan- 1986 Medal Winner
*Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson- 1981 Medal Winner
*From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg- 1968 Medal Winner
*Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt- 1965 Honors
*The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden- 1961 Honors
*The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare- 1959 Medal Winner
*Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham- 1956 Medal Winner
*Charlotte's Web by E. B. White- 1953 Honors
*These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder- 1944 Honors
*Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder- 1942 Honors
*Indian Captive: the Story of Mary Jemison by Lois Lenski- 1942 Honors
*The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder- 1941 Honors
*By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder- 1940 Honors
*On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder- 1938 Honors

Of all the winners that I have read, there are three in particular that stick out in my mind as some of the best children's literature that I have ever read.

The first is Number the Stars. Lois Lowry's tale of a gentile family in Denmark that risks it all to help a Jewish family escape the Nazis is one of the best stories of the Holocaust that I have read. I credit it along with movies like The Sound of Music and A Friendship in Vienna with piquing my interest in both WWII and the Holocaust.

Next is The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I first read this book in middle school where you were supposed to read one chapter a day. Yeah, right. I simply flew through that book. I loved the story of headstrong and independent Katherine Tyler trying to find a home and love in Puritan New England. This is one that I'll pick up even today and devour with relish.

Finally, there is Jean Lee Latham's classic Carry On, Mr. Bowditch. I remember falling for this book the first time that my mom read it aloud to us. The story of Nathaniel Bowditch's rise from indentured servant to a captain, mathematician, and author of one of America's most important navigational books is one of the most inspirational books that I have ever read. Whenever I'm in a difficult situation, I always think of the advice a sailor give to Nat: "sail by ash breeze."

So what Newbery classics have you read. Which were your favorite? Feel free to share!

1 comment:

Lepidoptera said...

Frog and Toad Together - 1973

Charlotte's Web - 1953

On the Banks of Plum Creek - 1938

A few. I will read aloud The Courage of Sarah Noble and Carry On, Mr. Bowditch later this year to the children for school and am looking forward to it.