award winners Books NaBloPoMo

Newbery Award Winner 2011

The 2011 Newbery Awards were announced this week and I’m excited to see what they are (and of course, get my hands on them).  Here’s what the ALSC had to say:

The 2011 Newbery Medal winner is Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

The town of Manifest is based on Frontenac, Kan., the home of debut author Clare Vanderpool’s maternal grandparents. Vanderpool was inspired to write about what the idea of “home” might look like to a girl who had grown up riding the rails. She lives in Wichita with her husband and four children.

“Vanderpool illustrates the importance of stories as a way for children to understand the past, inform the present and provide hope for the future,” said Newbery Medal Committee Chair Cynthia K. Richey.

2011 Honor Books

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm, published by Random House Children’s Books, a div. of Random House, Inc.

Sassy eleven-year-old Turtle finds her life turned on end when she is sent to live with her aunt in Depression-era Key West. With vivid details, witty dialogue and outrageous escapades, Jennifer Holm successfully explores the meaning of family and home… and lost treasures found.

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus, published by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams.

Shipwrecks, whaling, a search for home and a delightful exploration of cultures create a swashbuckling adventure. This historical novel is based on the true story of Manjiro (later John Mung), the young fisherman believed to be the first Japanese person to visit America, who against all odds, becomes a samurai.

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen, published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Welcoming her readers into the “wild, enchanted park” that is the night, Joyce Sidman has elegantly crafted twelve poems rich in content and varied in format. Companion prose pieces about nocturnal flora and fauna are as tuneful and graceful as the poems. This collection is “a feast of sound and spark.”

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

The voices of sisters Delphine, Vonetta and Fern sing in three-part harmony in this wonderfully nuanced, humorous novel set in 1968 Oakland, Calif. One crazy summer, the three girls find adventure when they are sent to meet their estranged poet-mother Cecile, who prints flyers for the Black Panthers.

Surely you noticed the multicultural vibe, here non?

Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you think!

award winners Diversity

I Love Sharon Creech!

“Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.” (Walk Two Moons)

So in the midst of all I’ve been doing (prepping for new job and getting number 1 son ready to leave home for college) I’ve been reading The Wanderer by Sharon Creech.  While I was reading The Wanderer I was reminded of another of Creech’s books called Walk Two Moons.  Walk Two Moons is a Newberry Medal winner and The Wanderer is an Honor book, so you can’t go wrong reading either one.

Walk Two Moons by Sharon CreechWithout giving too much away, I realized the stories are similar because of their characters.  The main The Wanderer by Sharon Creechcharacters are young teenage girls.  Both come from “interesting” households (SPOILER: each child has lost at least one parent in the story) that make the story quirky, heartwarming and bittersweet.   Creech has found a way to discuss death and dying and grief and loss in a way that isn’t creepy but that is kind of introspective and sometimes humorous.  The stories are more about how the girl’s carry on with their lives that are quite unique.  In The Wanderer, the main character, Sophie, sails across the ocean with her uncles and cousins.  In Walk Two Moons, Sal rides across the country with her very odd, but loving, grandparents.

Naturally, in the end, each girl learns and grows from her journeys.  I guess you could say that the journeys they take are not only physical but spiritual, as well.  I really like how an active fantasy life helps the characters cope with their losses.

The main characters are not of any particular ethnicity, although Sal claims to be part Seneca Indian.  But, I like how every character in the stories are quirky and have their own problems (loss of a parent, loss of a job, parent remarrying) which some do well and some not so well.  It is these types of situations that feel like they fit the multicultural litmus test.

I give BOTH books 3 paws!


Are you a Re-reader?

Are you a rereader? The case for re-reading books.

I’ve been blog hopping a lot lately and have come across a discussion topic that I have mixed feelings about: rereading books.  Specifically, fiction. As a child and a teen, I re-read books all the time: Willie Wonka, Judy Blume, How to Eat Fried Worms, Nancy Drew, Free to Be You and Me, Beverly Cleary, and countless others.  I reread books for two reasons that I can remember:  one, because I ran out of books to read and two, because they were old friends and comforting. My 13 yr old daughter also rereads books, but I’m not sure if it’s for the same reasons.

As an adult, I’ve tried rereading two books and I was completely disheartened by the experience.  I tried to reread Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott and Franny and Zooey, by JD Salinger.  These stories were not as enchanting as I remember them being, which broke my heart.  To be sure, I have revisited old movies ( any Shirley Temple, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and Harvey) and old toys (Slinky and Candyland) and have enjoyed them. But the magic was missing from my former literary best friends.

My new friend Howard at Howard Sherman, Implementor,, during the Book Blogger Hop, engaged me in a discussion of rereading books.  His comments to me personally were that rereading an old book is like visiting an old friend.  I will agree that that was what my intentions were, however, the visit was un-enjoyable.

So…I am wondering if anyone else is a re-reader and what their experiences are? Loved it? Hated it? Ambivalent?

Tell me!

A book is good company.
It is full of conversation without loquacity.
It comes to your longing with full instruction,
but pursues you never.
~ Henry Ward Beecher ~


How I Choose Books

How I choose books, the uncomplicated version.

I read books according to what interests me.  Looking back on my reading history I tend to read books that:

  • Are on the Newberry list or any other award list
  • Are about to come out as a movie
  • My kids read and look interesting
  • Other people have suggested
  • Just look interesting

I am constantly on the prowl for a new book to read and I scour garage sales, thrift stores, used book stores, and other people’s bookshelves for books.  I am not against approaching a stranger and asking them about the book they are reading. Don’t be alarmed, I’m harmless, just a book lover! Anyway, I’ve decided to come up with a plan for my reading for the next few months.

My (tentative) reading plan is as follows: through the end of summer I will continue to read award winning authors.  In the fall I think I will attempt the banned books list. Meantime I may toss in an odd book here or there based on other book lovers.  I also read adult fiction and have a big stack of those to read too. One day, one day (sigh).

Here is what I’m planning to read next, in no particular order:

  • The Road to Paris, Nikki Grimes
  • The Silver Chair, CS Lewis (working my way through this series)
  • Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech (I think this is a re-read)
  • The Wanderer, Sharon Creech

Remember, I am ALWAYS open to suggestions so please send some my way!