The YMAs, baby!

So, are you all set for Monday? Got the webcast bookmarked so you're sure not to miss a single moment? Don't forget, it begins at exactly 9:00 a.m., central time!

Wait, what? You have no idea what I'm talking about? It's the YMAs! (Yes, I realize that the all-caps of the post title makes it look like I merely misspelled "yams." Hush.) It's one of my absolutely favorite days of the year! This is the day when the American Library Association (and a number of related groups) announces the winners of the Newbery Medal, the Caldecott Medal, and a host of other awards.

Were you a kid who went right for all those books with a shiny award sticker on the front cover? Or did you stay as far away form them as possible? Do you have a favorite Newbery or Caldecott winner?

While I loved both my elementary school library and my public library as a kid, I didn't care all that much about seeking out books that had won awards. That said, if I had to pick a favorite Newbery winner, it would without question be A Wrinkle in Time. Following that would probably be The Black Cauldron, in Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain series. What about you?

38 thoughts on “The YMAs, baby!”

    1. I don't think we use those for everyone who is deceased--more just for those who have recently passed and are being memorialized. Ms. L'Engle died in 2007.

      Interestingly, two of her granddaughters have just released a biography of their grandmother; I'm curious to take a look at it.

  1. We lived just a block from our public library, so I was over there all the time, usually unsupervised by the time I was in middle elementary. I don’t recall ever seeking out books with awards; I typically had a good sense of what I liked, and judge things based on preference. Or, in the frequent case of books my mom would suggest to me, anti-preference.

    I see a few on the Caldecott list that were favorites in our house when I was a kid, including: Swimmy (1963, Honor), The Little House (1943), Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse (1970, Honor), Blueberries for Sal (1949, Honor), & Stone Soup (1948, Honor). The Snowy Day (1963) is one of the Poissonnier’s favorites, and I’m looking forward to introducing her to the ones above, as well as Owl Moon (1988).

    I can remember reading many of the Newbery winners: Julie of the Wolves* (1973), The Whipping Boy (1987), Hatchet (1988 Honor), My Side of the Mountain (1960, Honor), & Charlotte’s Web (1953, Honor). All were memorable, but I wouldn’t count any of them as a favorite.

    * I think I read this around fourth grade. Wow, that book was something.

    1. Yeah, Julie is pretty harsh. I must have read it around the same age. (Thinking 5th, when the "Newbery Award" crutch showed up.)

      'Spoiler' SelectShow
    2. When I was a kid I thought the hatchet was the most important tool mankind had ever invented. I still have never used one.

          1. NBBW and I got these for each other for Xmas a couple of years ago, and carry them in our glove boxes. I read they were designed by a NYC policeman.

  2. It was a productive month for me, largely because I’ve set a daily reading goal. (Articles & other stuff online doesn’t count — it has to be a book.) So far I’ve read transplanted Bemidjian Sean Hill’s poetry collection Dangerous Goods (Milkweed!), Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax (a biography of one of my favorite poets), and Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (my review). This last is a timely read for anyone.

    As for what I’ve got going now, I’m working on finishing Mutsuo Takahasi’s Sleeping, Sinning, Falling and Marshall & Eric McLuhan’s The Lost Tetrads of Marshall McLuhan. I just started Evgenij Vodolazkin’s Laurus; the comparisons of Vodolazkin to Umberto Eco are interesting.

  3. So much of our reading assignments during middle school were based on Newberies. Like, that was the teachers' proxy for vetting.
    So I picked out the most obscure old ones. Gay-Neck and The Trumpeter of Krakow.
    I still remember "Reading rots the mind" from Rabbit Hill

  4. I've been reading books from the Star Tribune top 40 fiction books. So far, I hate them.

    I read The Sun Also Rises and Metamorphosis.

  5. I loved, loved, loved The Westing Game and probably read it at least ten times going up. I had all the Madeline L'Engle books and read each of them multiple times. I probably also read Maniac Magee at least five times. Those were my favorite Newbery Medal winners, but I cannot stress enough how much more I loved The Westing Game than the others (in fact, I just recommended it to someone last week).

  6. I cranked out a lot of reading in January. I read Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders and found it perfectly fine and creative. I also read Exit West by Mohsin Hamid and it was also perfectly fine and topical. Somehow, I stumbled into Righteous by Joe Ide without realizing it was a sequel. It was good enough that I'll seek out the first book. Finally, I read The Year of the Pitcher by Sridhar Pappu about the 1968 season focused on Denny McLain and Bob Gibson. It was better than most baseball books that try to tie things into a historical perspective.

    I'm halfway through The Republic for Which It Stands by Richard White as the Reconstruction/Guilded Age portion of The Oxford History of the United States. It's excellent and way more focused on the West than any of the other books in the series.

    1. Exit West really worked for me in a way that Lincoln in the Bardo didn't. It was very topical and maybe in a few years it wouldn't have the same immediacy, but I really enjoyed it.

      In the same vein was Street of Thieves by Mathias Enard. I really liked that story of displacement in Europe/Africa as well.

  7. My leisure reading has... not met with my hopes for the new year. But if you want to know more about the Indian Child Welfare Act, I've read some fascinating stuff (including one of the most amazing SCOTUS decisions I've ever seen) on that.

    The Lion Who Took My Arm is a short junior fiction chapter book that Aquinas picked out of the library that he asked me to read when he was done, so we could talk about it. That made me super happy. It was actually an interesting look at life in a rural African community, and I was really impressed my kid wanted to read a book from such a different perspective (but still about a young boy out in nature dealing with animals).

  8. A Wrinkle In Time would be my favorite too. I've read it a number of times, and figured I would do so again with my kids, after we finish our reread of The Trumpet of the Swan. I also read all of the sequels to A Wrinkle In Time and would heartily recommend them.

    My Side Of The Mountain was the first chapter book I ever read. Aquinas finished it not long ago too, at maybe a little before the age I was when I read it. I also remember having read The Whipping Boy, Ramona Quimby, and Number The Stars. One of my elementary school teachers definitely read us Dr. DeSoto.

  9. I'm getting super excited for the film, so it's about time to crack out a copy of Wrinkle to re-read for the first time in 40+ years.

    re: the awards -- controversy!

    In October 2008, Anita Silvey, a children's literary expert, published an article in the School Library Journal criticizing the committee for choosing books that are too difficult for children.[3][8] Lucy Calkins, of the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University's Teachers College, agreed with Silvey: "I can't help but believe that thousands, even millions, more children would grow up reading if the Newbery committee aimed to spotlight books that are deep and beautiful and irresistible to kids".[3] But Pat Scales said, "The criterion has never been popularity. It is about literary quality. How many adults have read all the Pulitzer-prize-winning books and ... liked every one?"[3]

    John Beach, associate professor of literacy education at St. John's University in New York, compared the books that adults choose for children with the books that children choose for themselves and found that in the past 30 years there is only a 5% overlap between the Children's Choice Awards (International Reading Association) and the Notable Children's Books list (American Library Association).[3] He has also stated that "the Newbery has probably done far more to turn kids off to reading than any other book award in children's publishing."[3]

    Erica Perl responded that "For starters, the real reasons kids don't read doesn't have anything to do with the Newbery medal—or any award. It has to do with the declining role of the book in our streaming-media culture and with socioeconomic realities."[9]

    I know I must have read many of the winners (e.g., "Johnny Tremain," "Daniel Boone," "Amos Fortune, Free Man," etc.), but don't remember a whole lot of them specifically. Along with Wrinkle, I would specifically cite From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH as ones that still hold a place in my heart.

    Also, I very much remember Incident at Hawk's Hill. I remember writing a report on it. It came out in 1971, the year I turned 8 (winter/spring of 2nd grade). So, obviously, it made an impression on me. I particularly remember the boy eating eggs with partially formed bird embryos in them. Eww.

    1. Looking at the list of past winners, I read Island of the Blue Dolphins, Johnny Tremain, Onion John, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, The Whipping Boy, and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler for school without any of them really engaging me too much.

      Of the others I read growing up on my own, the only one I apparently didn't read multiple times (as mentioned above) was Number the Stars. I was a little too old to read Holes (a junior in high school when published it looks like), but I loved other, earlier Louis Sachar books, so I look forward to reading it in a few years when it's more in The Valet's wheelhouse.

  10. Gave, The One and Only Ivan andThe Girl Who Drank the Moon to my niece last Christmas. My sister said she loved Girl, made no mention of Ivan...

    I purchased The Graveyard Book after working my way through Gaiman's adult novels (it was awesome) and repurchased My Side of the Mountain last year; one of my favorites. Like Beau, growing up, I thought a hatchet was an essential tool.*

    Jacob Have I Loved, Bridge to Terabithia**, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, The Whipping Boy, A Wrinkle in Time,

    *Unlike Beau, I have used one as recently as November.
    **Part of me loved Leslie. When she dies, the way Paterson handled it, man ... I was heartbroken.

    1. I had seen the Don Bluth NIMH movie before I read the book and I really was surprised at how different it was, and I much preferred the book.
      IIRC, the author died shortly after its publication. I don't recall if he had any plans on making a sequel or series out of it, but I was disappointed that such continuance of the story was precluded.
      I've more recently seen that one of his heirs has written a sequel (or maybe there are competing sequels?) and from what I saw, they weren't well-reviewed.

    2. I'm super late to this conversation, but as a kid I read and loved Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I've heard wonderful things about The Westing Game from a bunch of different people, so I really need to read that one.

      I read Bridge to Terabithia once, but I don't know that I could ever read it again. Ooof. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is another one I don't think I could reread.

  11. Halfway through Winston Graham's Poldark series. Basically, things Cornish.

    Also started Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens, interesting parallel to the 1843 post I did yesterday on language.

    Not sure if this counts as reading, but am on lesson 8 of Pimsleur's German - getting In den Geist for Berlin trip in Sept (NBBW doing the Marathon).

  12. More awards than I know what to do with.
    Crown gets the double-honor of Caldecott and Newbery. That's like losing the World Series and the Super Bowl! (I recently had to teach the kids about Bo Jackson.)

    1. Ha! Crown is really something. This Tweet with all the stickers on the cover brought me much joy.

      (I'll be shocked if I manage to embed this tweet correctly.)

Comments are closed.