We recently listened to an amazing audiobook that surprised me by its depth and language. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin is a Newbery Honor book for good reason. By weaving Chinese traditional folktale into a modern story about a girl living in poverty, Ms Lin creates a fairy tale odyssey that
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan is a powerful story about a rich and spoiled Mexican girl whose sudden impoverishment in the 1930s takes her in to the migrant worker camps of California. It teaches much about the Great Depression as well as discrimination during that period.
Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1962, The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (originally published 1961) is an amazing story about a boy in Galilee during the time of Jesus. Daniel bar Jamin is an angry teenager, looking for revenge on the Roman soldiers who occupy his land. As a politically charged novel, then, The
A Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli (originally written 1949) is a true classic about a young boy meant to be a knight but recently disabled in an unfortunately illness. It was a Newbery winner from the earlier years of the award. The medieval setting was perfectly created, and I loved the inherent
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes is a realistic volume detailing the ordinary events in one second grader’s year. I loved how the most ordinary difficulties were the subject of Billy’s story. In this year, Billy learned overcome worries about his own abilities in school, dealing with the conflicts he feels with his young
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink is a 1930s Newbery Award Winner, based on the experiences of the author’s own grandmother. Caddie is a creative and active 11 year old, resistant to the demands her nineteenth century culture demands of her because she is a girl. In this fictionalized volume of adventures, Caddie’s fun occasionally
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli, the Newbery Award Winner for 1991, is celebrating its 25th anniversary since publication. It’s hard for me to imagine this book being an “old” one, but since I knew I read it as a child, I should not be so surprised. Maniac Magee is the story of a legend, a
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (1998 Newbery Medal Winner) is a young adult novel in poetry about the difficulties of dust bowl living in the 1930s. A changing industry, magnified by severe drought and the Great Depression, meant that farming in rural Oklahoma was more difficult than ever. But Billie’s difficulties are compounded.
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet (published 1948) won the Newbery Honor upon publication. It is an adventure story about a child and geared for a child. In this story, a child named Elmer Elevator (called “my father” throughout the book) befriends an alley cat, who tells him of a captured dragon forced to
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