What Are We Missing?
Last night, INSIDE OUT & BACK AGAIN by Thanhha Lai won the National Book Award. I was leery of predicting a winner after anointing ONE CRAZY SUMMER last year, but privately I thought it was a 50/50 chance between OKAY FOR NOW and CHIME, but–surprise!–the National Book Award never goes where I think it will. We were decidedly lukewarm about INSIDE OUT & BACK AGAIN when we discussed it earlier. Should we take a second look at it?
I do have one final point I’d like to make about JEFFERSON’S SONS, but I’m going to take a breather and come back to it later. Hopefully, people will catch up on their reading and continue to weigh in with opinions, both good and bad. I had actually meant to follow the shortlist with this post since it’s a logical and natural progression, but people did seem anxious to discuss JEFFERSON’S SONS.
We’re virtually at the halfway point of Heavy Medal season. We’ve been blogging for just over two months now with just over two months to go until the announcement. We’ve been able to feature quite a few books here during that time, and many more have been discussed in the comments. I know that it can be frustrating to wait and wait and wait for us–oftentimes in vain–to feature your favorite book.
Lately, I’ve noticed people squeezing suggestions into various threads, but here’s a central location for all of them. Here’s your chance to pitch your favorite book to us. Tell us what we’re missing–and, more importantly, tell us why it’s a Newbery book. As Wendy has mentioned before, it does occasionally resemble an echo chamber here, and now that we’ve announced our shortlist, it’s likely to become even more so.
It hardly seems fair to focus on a small handful of books when so many other worthy books get barely a passing mention here and there in the comments–if at all. But the same thing happens in Newbery discussion: some books get five to ten minutes in discussion while others command thirty to forty five.
We will try to maintain a dual focus from here on out: uncovering new books and honing in on the top contenders (regardless of whether they actually made our shortlist). Incidentally, the Newbery committee will be doing the same thing as they focus on their nominated books while trying to find that undiscovered gem. Here’s a list of books we’ve already featured . . .
CHIME by Franny Billingsley
THE PENDERWICKS AT POINT MOUETTE by Jeanne Birdsall
BOOTLEG by Karen Blumenthal
JEFFERSON’S SONS by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
THE MONEY WE’LL SAVE by Brock Cole
THE CHESHIRE CHEESE CAT by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright
SIDEKICKS by Jack Ferraiolo
AMELIA LOST by Candace Fleming
DEAD END IN NORVELT by Jack Gantos
JUNONIA by Kevin Henkes
BABYMOUSE: MAD SCIENTIST by Jennifer Holm
THE TROUBLE WITH MAY AMELIA by Jennifer Holm
A VERY BABYMOUSE CHRISTMAS by Jennifer Holm
TOYS COME HOME by Emily Jenkins
THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING by Uma Krishnaswami
INSIDE OUT & BACK AGAIN by Thanhha Lai
ALVIN HO: ALLERGIC TO DEAD BODIES, FUNERALS, AND OTHER FATAL CIRCUMSTANCES by Lenore Look
BLESS THIS MOUSE by Lois Lowry
FLESH & BLOOD SO CHEAP by Albert Marrin
THE MANY FACES OF GEORGE WASHINGTON by Carla Killough McClafferty
NEVER FORGOTTEN by Patricia McKissack
THE ADVENTURES OF SIR GAWAIN THE TRUE by Gerald Morris
HEART AND SOUL by Kadir Nelson
A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness
AKATA WITCH by Nnedi Okorafor
SECRETS AT SEA by Richard Peck
CLEMENTINE AND THE FAMILY MEETING by Sara Pennypacker
THE QUEEN OF WATER by Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango
MUSIC WAS IT by Susan Goldman Rubin
DRAWING FROM MEMORY by Allen Say
BLUEFISH by Pat Schmatz
OKAY FOR NOW by Gary Schmidt
WONDERSTRUCK by Brian Selznick
BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruth Sepetys
THE BERLIN BOXING CLUB by Robert Sharenow
SWIRL BY SWIRL by Joyce Sidman
MO WREN, LOST AND FOUND by Tricia Springstubb
BLOODY TIMES by James Swanson
THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING by Catherynne Valente
QUEEN OF THE FALLS by Chris Van Allsburg
ISLAND’S END by Padma Venkatraman
YOUNG FREDLE by Cynthia Voigt
BLIZZARD OF GLASS by Sally Walker
CHARLES DICKENS AND THE STREET CHILDREN OF LONDON by Andrea Warren
PIE by Sarah Weeks
HAPPY PIG DAY! by Mo Willems
I BROKE MY TRUNK! by Mo Willems
SHOULD I SHARE MY ICE CREAM? by Mo Willems
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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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