As we consider whether FORGE by Laurie Halse Anderson is the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children, here are some interesting subplots to debate.
1. We’ve got some strong historical fiction this year, namely ONE CRAZY SUMMER, COUNTDOWN, TURTLE IN PARADISE, ALCHEMY AND MEGGY SWANN, and THE WATER SEEKER. How do you think these compare with each other? Does one rise to the top? Any Scott O’Dell Award predictions? Anderson won for CHAINS can she repeat with the same series?
2. There are quite a few Revolutionary-themed books this year. LAFAYETTE AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION by Russell Freedman, THE NOTORIOUS BENEDICT ARNOLD by Steve Sheinkin, THE WOODS RUNNER by Gary Paulsen, THE CROSSING by Jim Murphy, and HENRY KNOX by Anita Silvey. How do these books measure up against each other? Which one piques your interest the most?
3. Like A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS, MOCKINGJAY, and CLEMENTINE, FRIEND OF THE WEEK, this book is part of a series. Does that present challenges to evaluating the literary elements of the book? How does it compare to those other books in this respect.
I don’t think this one cracks my top three or my top seven (i.e. my Newbery nominations), but I find many strong distinguished qualities here and I think you can make a very compelling case for it. Convince me.
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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 email@example.com
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