Newbery 2013: Checking In
Well, here we are. It’s fall. Two thirds of the year in the bag. I’ve thrown in the towel on any sort of lawn care (let the glorious snow cover all my mistakes). I’d say it’s high time we take stock of the books that the Newbery and Caldecott committees might be pondering. With the help of the 2013 Newbery and Caldecott lists on Goodreads, and a hearty dose of wild speculation, let’s get started. Newbery today, Caldecott tomorrow.
Note: What we have here is more of a general look at some of the talked-about books, be sure to check out For Those About to Mock (still the best blog name for my money) and Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog for specific analysis.
Recent Movements: Liar & Spy has joined the list while Crow has dropped out of the top 10. In books climbing the list news, One for the Murphys is up to #6.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Click here for my review. It’s not surprising to see Wonder at the top of this list. It’s one of the most critically lauded books so far this year and has taken off in terms of popularity as well, currently sitting at #8 on the New York Times bestseller list. Just today I had a teacher contact me about buying a classroom set. In short, it has momentum. This has nothing to do with the Newbery criteria, mind you, but it does show that this is a book that is connecting with readers. With all the good karma, it’s difficult to imagine this book not coming away with some sort of Newbery recognition. Jonathan at Heavy Medal isn’t so sure.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Click here for my review. While both this book and Wonder have received overwhelmingly positive reviews, I was surprised to see that Ivan did not receive starred reviews from Booklist, Horn Book, or Publisher’s Weekly. While it’s not quite bulletproof, it’s endeared itself to even the most critical of readers. Don’t count it out.
The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
This book has slowly crept up the list since early spring, and hasn’t showed any signs of slipping. Although there’s more buzz around the other titles on this list, maybe this is the book that sits right under our noses all year and then nabs top honors.
The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
The latest from Newbery-winner Curtis has a lot of supporters, but some critics as well. Miss Malone has fallen a couple places from earlier in the year – could it be the case of a book that blasts out of the gate but runs out of steam? I’m betting on a late-season resurgence.
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
Click here for my review. Among the other books on this list, this one feels like it requires the most unpacking. The unreliable narrator, the twist endings – there’s a lot to mull over. It clearly one of the most well-written books of the year, but I’m not sure a consensus will form to push it to glory.
What am I missing?
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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