Online Mock Newbery
Something weird happened. Knowing I was going to be out of town during the holidays, I wrote my last couple of posts and scheduled them. I wrote one about picture books, specifically THE SKUNK and IT’S ONLY STANLEY, that should have posted this morning. Try as I might, I cannot figure out what happened to it; it’s simply disappeared. If I can solve the problem then I’ll post it next week sometime.
Meanwhile, we’ve done an informal online mock Newbery the past couple years, so I’ll take advantage of this lapse to jump start that process. For me, the top three books are THE HIRED GIRL, MOST DANGEROUS, and MY SENECA VILLAGE in no particular order. On the real committee, I’d listen very carefully to the discussion to decide in which order to vote for them–of course, some of them might not have the support necessary to remain on the table for the first ballot. In that case, I’d probably turn to ECHO, GONE CRAZY IN ALABAMA, and LISTEN, SLOWLY. But I would also be happy with another dozen books including, but not limited to, THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE, THE PENDERWICKS IN SPRING, DROWNED CITY, and THE BOYS WHO CHALLENGED HITLER. So many books! So hard to choose!
One thing I notice about my top three choices is that they are all for readers between the ages of 12-14, while my next three are for ages 9-12. Clearly authors can make greater demands on an older audience, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their books are more distinguished than a book for a younger audience. I’d also listen to the discussions to see how these audience issues are addressed.
But for the purposes of our informal mock Newbery, I’m going to stick with MOST DANGEROUS and MY SENECA VILLAGE since nonfiction and poetry need all the help they can get. Speaking of help, we’ve given THE HIRED GIRL, ECHO, and GONE CRAZY IN ALABAMA lots of help here, so I’m going to throw some love to LISTEN, SLOWLY.
1. MY SENECA VILLAGE
2. MOST DANGEROUS
3. LISTEN, SLOWLY
Please list your top three in numerical order. I will tally them and post the results in the middle of next week.
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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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