Newbery Predictions 2009

When I first began blogging I was inspired by Franki and Mary over at A Year of Reading.  Like them, I wanted to be able to read the Newbery before it was announced.  Little did I know that this endeavor would lead me to the kidlitosphere and a broader blogging spectrum of reviews, middle school language arts, and teaching.  But deep down, I still compete with myself, trying to predict the Newbery winner.  So here is my annual list, my picks for 2009!

(In no particular order, as I feel these are all distinguished and could take home the medal or an honor).

Newbery 2009 Predictions:

  • The Underneath by Kathi Appelt- Distinguished? Check. Gorgeous? Check. Phenomenal writing? Check. Appelt’s book absolutely stunned me when I first read it. With an unassuming cover, I figured it was nothing more than another animal story. I could not have been more wrong. The Underneath was my first read-aloud of the year and my 6th graders were totally engrossed in the story. Check out my review here.


  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson-  Historical fiction that kids actually want to read?  What more could a teacher ask for!  When I first read Anderson’s latest middle grade novel, I knew I wanted to share it with my students.  We just finished reading it together a few days ago and they loved it.  Living in NJ, they had tons of connections to the battles mentioned and the Revolutionary War in general, so they loved the setting.  And Anderson’s meticulous research makes this novel even better.  Check out my review here.  


  • Diamond Willow by Helen Frost- If distinguished writing and a unique style are what the committee is looking for, then Diamond Willow is the Newbery winner for 2009. A phenomenal story and a style that I haven’t seen anywhere else! Another one that my students loved (and the one that seemed the most accessible to all levels of readers). Check out my review here.


  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman- For some reason, I never got around to this one. Then a few weeks ago I saw it at the library and decided to give it a try. Wow, am I glad I did! A creepy story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Check out my review here!


  • Tennyson by Lesley M.M. Blume- I know this is a title that hasn’t been mentioned on many prediction lists, but I am trying to be its personal champion! Tennyson is a lyrical, poetic story that is dark and gothic. I read it back in May and it’s still on my mind. I would be thrilled to see it take home a medal on Monday, because I think it so deserves one! Check out my review here.


I know where I will be on Monday morning.  My class and I will be listening to the announcements over the web, with my cell phone nearby (t0 receive the Tweets in case we have any technical problems!)  Regardless of who wins, there are a few authors across the country who will receive a life-changing call on Monday morning.  I can’t wait to find out who those authors are!


(And I still have more reading to do before Monday!  On my pile? Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka, The Porcupine Year, and Bird Lake Moon.

4 Responses

  1. We’re honored to have inspired you to the fun and lunacy of trying to have read the winner and the fun (and lunacy?) of blogging about that reading journey (with side trips into the classroom and teaching).

    Knucklehead should take you about 20 minutes to read, and you’ll be laughing the whole time. This book should go straight into your classroom library. Hand it to a kid with a couple of brothers and you won’t see it again for awhile! I didn’t like Bird Lake Moon as much as Henkes’ earlier book Words of Stone (almost the same story). And I guess I better get to the bookstore and buy Porcupine Year so that I at least have it in the house on Monday!

  2. I love your blog! Thanks for providing info about current, quality literature. I am always on the look-out for books to engage “less-eager readers” in grade five and up and to use as classroom read-alouds. Today I’m headed to Borders with my wish list of books and looking forward to the Newbery announcement tomorrow.

  3. I’m looking forward to hearing about your students’ reactions to the announcements! The Underneath and Chains are on my guess-list, too. I wish I’d picked Knucklehead up at the library when I saw it a couple of days ago–I decided it was a long-shot and I didn’t have time… I didn’t know it was such a quick read. But just today I’ve heard speculation about it in a couple of different places.

  4. You or the librarian may want to be ready to look up the winner on a bookstore website, so you can show the kids in case it’s something they’ve never heard of (which may be a bit of a letdown, but at least gives an answer to “what to read next”).

    I’m reading Chains right now, partly because of your students’ enthusiasm. I look forward to sharing it with my middle schoolers.

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