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Thursday Three: Newbery Contenders

Posted by Pam on January 14, 2010 at 3:31 PM in Middle Grade BooksRecommendations
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Last week I shared three of the Cybils Fiction Picture Book finalists that I believe have a strong chance to win a Caldecott medal. So this week I could complete the list of Cybils finalists, or I can make my best guesses for the Newbery.

Following Susan's wonderful breakdown of the awards, and in the interest of putting you ahead of the library crowd in getting to read them, I'm guessing that one or more of these three books will make the list.

When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead
When You Reach MeMiranda is comfortable with her friends, family, and generally her New York City life. But it feels as if things start to shift when her best friend Sal pulls away from her. Left adrift in sixth grade, she meets new people and tries new things - but is most intrigued by the strange notes appearing for her eyes only. The story is clever, layered, interesting, and intelligent. The buzz is big, the hype is high, and the love is loyal for this title. I won't be surprised to see it somewhere on the list, and maybe even as the winner.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin
Where the Mountain Meets the MoonSeeped in her father's fairy tales and pushed by her mother's sighs, Minli leaves home to search for the Old Man of the Moon to change her family's fortune. Along the way her kindness makes her many friends, who turn out to provide the help she needs. Incorporating Asian fairy tales with her own adventure, this is a beautiful book of love, friendship, and gratitude. The full color panel illustrations throughout add to the astonishing beauty of the book. And just look at the cover! Lots of people are hoping for a Newbery for the delightful book and author too, but it may be too light and happy for another award that tends towards death and calamity.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Jacqueline Kelly
The Evolution of Calpurnia TateThe hardest thing about this book is making the one sentence description sound gripping. It's the story of a girl in 1899 who discovers the world of science under the tutorage of her grandfather. Calpurnia Tate is the youngest of a bunch of brothers, and can sometimes get lost in the shuffle to spend time at the creek looking at plant specimens or holed up in Grandfather's lab, testing the fermentation of pecans to wine. But for all this exposure to science, she's still growing into a woman at the turn of century and wonders when she'll have to put away her magnifying glass for a mop. Wonderful historical fiction that doesn't focus on death, dismemberment, or abject poverty - which is why it may not be taken seriously enough to win the Newbery.

The wonderful children's librarian, and former Newbery committee member has her predictions at School Library Journal with the discussion continuing in the comments. The results will be announced on by American Library Association on Monday.

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site may receive a referral fee.


adrienne writes...

I was not a half hour ago telling a child here at the library that I thought When You Reach Me might be winning a Newbery on Monday. We'll see, though. I've kind of become the Newbery jinx when I say these things aloud.

Michelle writes...

I love, love Calpurnia Tate!! I'll have to read your other two choices to see if they compare!

Paige Y. writes...

My gut is telling me that it will be When You Reach Me, but I'm the world's worst at accurately predicting awards.

The1stdaughter writes...

I would LOVE to see When You Reach Me win! It's by far been my favorite read last year and I think it has the ability to touch a lot of lives. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Susan writes...

Those three are all being talked about pretty heavily... I think you got it right on the money. I also think some poetry or non-fiction may make it on to the list: Crossing Stones or Claudette Colvin. I have a feeling that When You reach me is going to be an honor book, not the winner.

Pam writes...

YEAH! All three made the list with When You Reach Me as the winner.

Carmela Martino writes...

Wow, you sure nailed the Newbery winners!
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