While watching the ALA webcast live today, my class kept laughing at me. I would call out my predictions as the awards were introduced- for the awards besides the Newbery because I shared those predictions with them on Friday. Of course, I was wrong more than I was right- but the kids didn’t care. They thought it was hysterical that I yelled “Mo Willems!” before the Geisel Award was announced, and I was right. I was wrong about the Morris Award (I predicted Graceling would get it). I predicted one of the Caldecott honors (A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams), because I am a huge William Carlos Williams fan.
And then we got to the big award- the Newbery. The kids were on the edge of their seat. And so was I!
I do think this will be a popular winner. It’s creepy, well-written, suspenseful, and oozing with kid appeal. My students haven’t read it yet and I am contemplating making it a read-aloud in the coming weeks. But I already know they will love it. I think the committee did a great job with this one!
2009 Newbery Honor Books:
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt- YES YES YES YES! I was so afraid this would get shut out because it seems to be a “love it or hate it” book. When the announcement was made, I literally jumped into the air and so did my students. We were so excited! For those who think this isn’t a kid-friendly book, I say fie on you! It makes kids think and treats them like adults. While my students might not have picked it up on their own, they loved it as a read-aloud. This book screams to be read-aloud and shared. Yay Kathi Appelt!
Savvy by Ingrid Law- I own this one. Does that count? I never made it a priority to finish reading it, but now I will. And another bonafide fantasy? Kudos to the committee!
After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson- I haven’t read this one, and I don’t own it. But I ordered it tonight.
The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarite Engle- And this one came out of nowhere for me. I hadn’t seen it on any Mock Newbery lists. But isn’t that what makes the Newbery great? I can’t wait to pick it up!
I will admit, my class and I were shocked at the exclusion of Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. That was a heavy favorite in my two classes. And I had more than a handful of students who were upset that Diamond Willow by Helen Frost was left out, too. But all in all, I am thrilled with the list! And the reaction of my kids as The Underneath was announced was absolutely priceless. Talk about being engaged with their reading! And when Gaiman’s book was announced as the winner, there was a chorus of, “You read that, Miss M.!” and “Wow! They decided it was eligible!” (we had talked about the eligibility issues in our Newbery unit).
Congratulations to all of the winning authors today and the amazing committees!
*And to complete my bragging, I read and loved The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks back in the spring. And I own The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves, both Printz Honor Books.