So many possibilities. Who would you want to hear? I think the appeal of an author or illustrator is really sexy, but oftentimes I think the editors give even better speeches, and librarians . . . If K.T. Horning’s speech was anything like her CLNE lectures!
It seems obligatory that if you’ve won two Newbery Medals then you give the Arbuthnot so it’s somewhat surprising that Lois Lowry has not been selected before. But what’s this? Katherine Paterson has given the lecture, but not E.L. Konigsburg–and she’s a great speaker! Oh, wow. There’s my Arbuthnot prediction for next year! Anyway, Lowry is a great choice. What are the odds we can get her to come to *ahem* Modesto?
Yay, STITCHES! THE MAGICIANS did make the list. And a friend of a friend wrote SOULLESS, a steampunky, Victorianish book with vampires and werewolves. So, yay genre fiction!
I hadn’t read either of these, but when I read somewhere that A FARAWAY ISLAND is like ANNE OF GREEN GABLES meets NUMBER THE STARS . . . well, it’s sort of a no-brainer, isn’t it? And it made Horn Book Fanfare. I think HEARTSINGER was probably too YA.
I just completely missed the boat on these. First, by neglecting to mention the Illustrator Award, and then by guessing nearly everything wrong. On further reflection, I should have guessed DIEGO because I reviewed it for Horn Book, and I should have known better about MARCELO. Not only is it old, but I’m not sure it illuminates the Latino cultural experience as well as other books might have.
We’re all patting ourselves on the back for calling THE LION & THE MOUSE and ALL THE WORLD, but I got RED SINGS FROM TREETOPS, too!
DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS is an awesome choice and I’m going to bestow my imaginary Carnegie Honor on KNUFFLE BUNNY TOO.
I got many of the books right, just in the wrong places. THE ROCK AND THE RIVER takes the Steptoe. And my Illustrator picks are flipped with MY PEOPLE taking the Award and THE NEGRO SPEAKS OF RIVERS taking the Honor. It’s a Langston Hughes sweep!
I did sort of want this to be a safety net for THE DUNDERHEADS and MOONSHOT, but I knew in my heart that it wouldn’t happen. My picks were all way off here. I notice, in retrospect, that I gravitated toward easy reader picture books while the committee favored easy reader chapter books. The absence of Mo Willems is puzzling, but I think having three books may have split the Mo Willems supporters, but have no fear: a new easy reader series debuts this year and Willems will sit on the Geisel throne in the near future.
I’ve got three of these books, but only read the two I mentioned. The third is–you guessed it–FLASH BURNOUT. It’s been moved to the top of the pile.
Another one we’re all patting ourselves on the back for guessing right, but I got three of the honor books, too! HOMER FIGG is the idiosyncratic choice here. It got a starred review from Publishers Weekly, I think, but nothing more. I’ve tried it several times, but just have never been that into it, and when Nina pooh-poohed it, I took it out of the to-be-read pile. I can see that the voice is a strength of the book, and I did have several students that really enjoyed it, however. It’s out with one now, so I’m going to have to wait my turn.
With my teacher/librarian hat on, I really appreciate that all of these books are going to find a readership among young people and that, moreover, they all have a genuine juvenile sensibility with MOUNTAIN skewing on the young side of juvenile and CLAUDETTE on the old side. I think these choices are going to be really popular with the general reading public. With my critic hat on, I don’t believe that four of the five best books for children are middle grade novels. Nope.
Well, I knew Brilliance would be there, and I suspected nonfiction would be in the mix, and I was right on both counts, even if I didn’t get the exact books right.
MARCELO was the frontrunner, but for the past several years the frontrunner has been passed over (although some did get Printz Honors), so it’s not as shocking as if, say, WHEN YOU REACH ME or THE LION & THE MOUSE had not won. I asked for fantasy and I got it. Of course, GOING BOVINE isn’t a fantasy proper, but it has fantasy elements. THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST is a genre book through and through. I haven’t read it yet, but THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ALRED KROPP and its sequels are great read-alikes for your Rick Riordan fans, and if this is anything like those, then it should have enormous teen appeal. I’m a big fan of TALES OF THE MADMAN UNDERGROUND, but like GOING BOVINE, it seems to inspire a love-hate reaction.
I could have seen a dozen books winning outright which is why I refused to make a prediction here. ALMOST ASTRONAUTS has taken a beating on this blog in recent weeks, so this is something of a surprise. I also predicted a mix of picture books and longer books. I do miss MARCHING FOR FREEDOM, TRUCE, and THE GREAT AND ONLY BARNUM here, but I do know the Sibert can’t have eight honor books.
I would also like to point out that the Sibert committee has no problem routinely including picture books among the winners. So when we discuss picture books and fiction in Newbery terms and we say that picture books just can’t compete, then why do they do so well in the Sibert field?
I bestow imaginary Schneider Honors on THE BROTHERS STORY, ODD AND THE FROST GIANTS, and AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES. Liz Burns has started a discussion on this award with future posts planned as well.
Oops. I jumped the gun as this one is handed out next year. But it’s never too early to start lobbying, right?
Awesome. I’m just pleased to see so much CHARLES and CLAUDETTE love from so many committees. Here is the full list of nominees for this award.
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About Jonathan Hunt
Jonathan Hunt is the Coordinator of Library Media Services at the San Diego County Office of Education. He served on the 2006 Newbery committee, and has also judged the Caldecott Medal, the Printz Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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