Reading is such a wonderful escape from stress and the occasional mundane day to day of things. I grew up preferring nonfiction and realistic fiction to anything else and a few years ago I found that I enjoyed fiction. I have been devouring fiction ever since but I try to mix in the award winners because clearly they won an award for a reason. I have enjoyed some of them and others took forever to get through because I just could not connect with the story. “Has the Newbery Lost Its Way” was a really wonderful article because I found that my outlook on these awards is not a far cry from librarians and critics alike. While I do not think that the popularity of a book should be the only factor in deciding if it should win an award it should be taken into consideration. The point is to get children reading and choosing books that are not selling even with the prestige of the award on the cover is not really doing the job intended.
“What Makes a Good Newbery Novel?” states that the novels must have a truly remarkable character and I agree there are a lot of wonderful characters throughout all of the Newbery winners. My question is are all of these characters fitting for the age group they are meant for or is the board intrigued by what the characters represent, what they could do for children if only they were interested and picking outside the box? I have not read all of the Newbery winners so I can’t say that I agree with either side 100% but I think that it is important to think like the children would, include children in the decision making or include popularity in the decision process. Perhaps poll a random selection of libraries each year for what they believe are the best books for children and why.
I found Dead End in Norvelt to be different and somewhat funny at points but it was a slow story that made it hard to get invested in the characters for better or worse. The characters themselves were not awful it was just a strange story that I think had a lot of plans but kind of fell flat with exciting snippets. The Giver and Holes are also Newbery winners and I could not put them down. They were exciting and creative that every facet of these novels kept me wanting more. Holes had stories within the story that you wanted to hang around to see how the main story would workout, how it would loop back to the other stories and what was going to happen to our favorite characters from each story. The Giver was such a different idea and experience; it was a very short book but Lois Lowry really packed a punch in those few pages. The hint of color here and there, the slow attraction between teens; it was relate-able but in a round about way. I think that there is a Newbery book for everyone but not every Newbery book is a crowd pleaser. I would definitely think that adding more ideas to the rubric for choosing a winner would help ensure that these books relate the best to the audience they are meant to.