This week I have been reading more Newbery Winners and Honors. I had two of these on my shelf, while the other jumped into my hands from a middle school Language Arts teacher. Here are the books I read this week!
Nothing But the Truth, by Avi, was a Newbery Honor book in 1992. This book, with the tag-line A documentary novel, was one that I had picked up at book fair, but had not yet read.
Phillip Malloy is a high school student who just does not seem to get along with his English teacher. Spurred on by Ms. Narwin’s co-workers, and by Mr. and Mrs. Malloy, a small incident of classroom subordination becomes a huge issue. The book is told through a series of letters, journal entries, memos, and conversations – something entirely novel to me. (haha…novel!! I love puns!)
When I read the “After Words”, by Avi and others, I learned that Avi has had people all over the country ask if he based this book on a situation that happened at their school. In fact, I had a hard time remembering that it was fiction because the high school in the book (Harrison) has the same name as my high school!
The second book I read this week was Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. The 2009 Newbery Winner is the one that was recommended by not one, but TWO, middle school Language Arts teachers!
Nobody Owens is a baby who has escaped being murdered by the man named Jack. The baby ends up wandering into a local graveyard. Master and Misses Owens, along with the other spirits in the graveyard, decide to protect and raise this little baby.
Gaiman explores Nobody “Bod” Owens’ life and adolescence through a series of incidents. Life growing up with the protection of the graveyard is fun and dangerous for young Bod. Yet, he manages to have some interesting interactions with the people in the town.
I enjoyed this book. I felt like the middle couple of chapters just dragged. But, I couldn’t put it down in the last half of the book. All in all, a very good read!
My final Newbery this week is Dear Mr. Henshaw, by Beverly Cleary. This is a book I know I read when I was younger, but I didn’t remember much about it.
This book is a series of letters, and journal entries, from Leigh Botts (a boy) to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw. Leigh uses his writing to explore the things that happen to him – his parents’ divorce, a broken TV, and the lunchbag thief!
Told through this young man’s eyes, we learn about Leigh, about his family, and about the things that are important to him. It was a quick read, and I’m glad I had a chance to re-read it!
My mom told me recently that Beverly Cleary was her favorite author. Apparently Ms. Cleary wrote my mom back after my mom sent her an “author letter”. My mom still has the letter somewhere at her house too!
Well, that’s it for this week. What did you read? Did I miss an important or exciting Newbery winner? Let’s talk below!