PAX has already figured prominently in our discussions on previous threads. Since I get the feeling it’s one of those books we’ll have a running conversation about all season long, I’m not going to present a comprehensive treatment of the book here but rather explore some of the issues that have already been raised, tossing in some scattered thoughts for good measure.
I think I read PAX over a year ago, so I’ll need to reread it to get clarity on how well it fits the Newbery criteria. When it came out in February, it was hard to imagine it not having at least a silver sticker, but my general sense now is that there is a solid group of a half dozen middle grade novels that lead the pack. Rereading can temper one’s initial excitement, can separate the hype from the reality, and can help one find those finer nuances that determine a pecking order in a strong group of contenders.
I haven’t read SOME KIND OF COURAGE yet, but there was some initial comparison of this title and PAX on the NBA Longlist thread, and Mr. H, Eric, and Leonard were especially engaged in unpacking issues around presentation for a child audience.
Then, too, when I read I read Alys’s comment on THE WILD ROBOT about finding the animal characterizations lacking because of the balance of wild and anthropomorphic traits, I wondered what we might say about the animals here. Both books strike me as having a fable-like quality, and I’d love to tease out more discussion about the themes of these respective books.
Setting is the final point I’ll mention. Roger liked it, comparing it to what Margo Lanagan does. Others once again questioned its presentation for a child audience.
Where do you stand on the book?
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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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