IMWAYR – More Newberys

ItsMondayGraphicThis 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!

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10 thoughts on “IMWAYR – More Newberys

  1. Alright, your pun made me chuckle. But I also enjoyed “The Graveyard Book” and agree, it was a bit slow at times. I find that the books that drag at times are the one’s I’ve liked best though, because they pick it up so well! That is so cool that your mom got a letter from Beverly Cleary, I love hearing about things like that!

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  2. Dear Mr. Henshaw was a great book. I read it when i was a third grader and actually used writing when I was going through some hard stuff in my life. It is a great book for kids who have a hard time venting their emotions effectively.

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  3. Beverley Cleary was probably my favorite author as a kid too. The Ramona books still hold up extremely well. I’ve been wanting to reread Dear Mr Henshaw and your post convinces me that it will hold up well too. I’m pretty sure there’s a sequel…. yep, just Googled. It’s called Strider. So be sure to look for that one too!

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    1. I had totally forgotten about Strider! It’s on my TBR list now.
      I read her bio on Goodreads and found out that we ALMOST share a birthday! Her birthday is April 12 and mine is April 13. (Different years, of course!)

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    1. I read 3 books…but I’m sure it took more than 4 hours! I seem to have issues with book choice. Any suggestions?
      It is hard to pick a favorite. “Dear Mr. Henshaw” is one I enjoyed as a kid and it held up to memory. “The Graveyard Book” was recommended by two different colleagues! It was a bit slow in the middle…but I know a re-read would reveal more.
      “Nothing but the Truth” is probably my favorite though. I really expected to not like it, but it is a quick read that I really could relate to. I really got into Phil’s mind and felt for him.
      I guess a good, strong character will always win with me!

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  4. “Dear Mr. Henshaw” sounds like a good book. It’s cool that Cleary took the time to write a letter back. I read a book by Cleary earlier this semester too, “Ralph S. Mouse.” I thought it told a pretty funny story worth reading. Have you read Ralph S. Mouse?

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    1. I don’t think I have read Ralph S Mouse, but I LOVE “The Mouse and the Motorcycle”! It is on my re-read list. Thanks for your comments.

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