The Final Debating Decades
The results are in from our final “Debating the Decades” poll! In our two polls, we asked Heavy Medal readers to cast votes on Newbery books from the 2010s and the 2000’s.
Readers viewed three categories: Newbery Medal Books, Honor Books, and selected Non-Newbery titles.. With each group, readers picked the top book in three different categories: Their Personal Favorite, the one they thought was most popular with Child Readers, and the book they felt represented the highest level of Literary Quality.
Our final poll was 1990- XXXX.Results are at the bottom of this post. And for now, Steven and I will discuss the results.
EMILY: I’m not overly surprised by these results, there were a lot of high-quality titles in the 90’s. It’s when I fell in love with reading after all. Deciding between the medal books was very tough for me and I am in shock SHILOH and OUT OF THE DUST didn’t do better.
STEVEN: Yes, I though OUT OF THE DUST would score high in the Reader and Quality categories. But: THE GIVER and HOLES…what can you do?
EMILY: We had a lot of two-category winners this month: THE GIVER was highest quality and a reader favorite, along with the WATSON’S GO TO BIRMINGHAM. I think I need to reread THE ROAD TO MEMPHIS because I read that as a child an an adult librarian and it didn’t resonate with me either time…
EMILY: I like how we predicted the other person’s reader favorites last time. For you Steven I say: OUT OF THE DUST, THE WATSON’S GO TO BIRMINGHAM AND FRINDLE. How did I do?
STEVEN: I do like all of those, but none of them topped my personal list. I landed on HOLES, THE THIEF, and JOEY PIGZA. The hardest was WATSONS vs. THE THIEF vs. A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO, but Eugenides wins that battle…
So…what would Emily like? I’m predicting: THE GIVER, ELLA ENCHANTED, and OFFICER BUCKLE (which was one of your No Newbery suggestions…I never thought about it, but yes, that could have been a contender!)
Steven, forgetting that I got THREE copies of HOLES for my birthday when I turned ten?! The book that made me want to become a librarian? ARE WE EVEN COBLOGGERS!? Then I’m definitely an EAR, EYE, ARM girl and WAYSIDE FOREVERRR.
So Steven, this whole debating the decades endeavor was your brainchild. How do you think it turned out? Do you have a desire to do more decades next year, or a new brilliant idea?
I thought it was great fun. I especially like the way the Reader/Children/Quality splits came out. There was usually a big difference in the categories, usually for each individual reader. And part of the Newbery deliberations is how we evaluate books in these different ways, then have to apply those Newbery Criteria.
I’d love to do more decades, but am worried that the farther back we go, the fewer books readers will recognize (or remember). Maybe broaden the span? 60s-70s-80s. And then a 20s-50s? Or maybe some Heavy Medal readers have some suggestions for future polls?
EMILY: Those are all good points. I’d love to hear what readers think in the comments. Let us know!
Filed under: Newbery History
About Emily Mroczek-Bayci
Emily Mroczek (Bayci) is a freelance children’s librarian in the Chicago suburbs. She served on the 2019 Newbery committee. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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