Picking 2011 Newbery and Caldecott Winners
I think Fuse #8 Production is one of the best children’s lit blogs around. Her predictions for Caldecott and Newbery Winners is usually dead on and I use her list to buy Christmas and birthday books for my kids because the timing of the actual awards comes in early January which is not perfect timing for the holiday season gift buying. Last year based on her list, I bought my oldest a stack of chapter books from her list, and my youngest, a stack of picture books. These are the chapter books my (at the time) 5th grade daughter LOVED:
These she did not care for but I read them and thought they were great:
The reasons were myriad. One Crazy Summer (she doesn’t tend to like historical fiction), As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth (too boyish; saving for my son), Countdown (historical fiction the issue again), The Dreamer (she read most of it but it was so sad), and The Heart of a Samurai (sadly, I do not know a single kid interested in Feudal Japan).
Finally, Newbery Winner When You Reach Me was terrific for me but for my 5th grade daughter, the plot was confusing and she did not have the patience to wait for the plot to sort out the space/time continuum time travel aspect which took nearly the entire book to resolve. When it comes to Newbery books, these are books that are wonderful true, but getting them into the right hands of a child is another story! And they tend to skew on the older side of Middle Grade Fiction which is a shame because quality books for grades 2-4 are desperately needed.
For my (at the time) 6-year-old son, I bought him these picture books:
The first two books I bought on my then new Color Nook. How Rocket Learned to Read is great on the Nook but we either got a bum download for Flora’s Very Windy Day or it’s just not really well done for the Nook. The pages are spreads on the Nook which makes the words too small to actually read. When I am very lazy, I let the author Tad Hills read the book to my son as there is a “Read to Me” button. Art and Max is a huge hit and I need to buy all of David Weisner’s books for my kids.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee is a wonderfully sweet book and the pencil renderings of the Amos’ face is truly outstanding. I think the combination of delicately rendered weathered “old man” faces and block print mixed media is what makes this book a Caldecott winner. I find Fuse #8 Prodution’s predictions to be great even if these books don’t win the coveted awards, because they always turn out to be great reads.
This year, she made Spring and Summer predictions. I was able to read a few of her picks and I’ll leave my two cents on those. I also plan to buy most of her picks so I’ll keep updating as I get the books and read them with my kids.
Fuse #8 Production’s Newbery Predictions
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall I love the Penderwicks series but I have to say that I was a little disappointed by the 3rd installment. I actually thought the second book was the best so far. The plot is a little predictable and unrealistic; I had issue with the big “surprise” neighbor coincidence plus the fact that this revelation wasn’t noticeable until the very end of the book. The book feels like a set up for the last two books in the series.
The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill I can see this book winning as it’s along the lines of The Dark is Rising series which had two nods for The Grey King and The Dark is Rising and The Chronicles of Prydain series with winners The Black Cauldron and The High King. This book weaves in magical realism with a Twin Peaks vibe; there is something dark and wrong about a seemingly idyllic farm town that has to do with magic split into two halves (good versus bad) that has been manipulated by a ancestor of the town for evil commercialism but at a high cost. I could not get my daughter to read the entire book. I think middle school kids who like The Lord of the Rings, The Dark is Rising and The Chronicles of Prydain would love this book. My daughter loves Harry Potter, Charlie Bone, Maximum Ride, Savvy, and other fantasy adventure series that involve magic, but I think this was too dark for her and she did not like The Dark is Rising or The Black Cauldron.
Lunch-Box Dream by Tony Abbott
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente
Here are additional 2012 Possible Newbery Winners are from Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Award
Small Persons With Wings by Ellen Booream
Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider by Jean Fritz
Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition by Karen Blumenthal
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Dogtag Summer by Elizabeth Partridge
Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and its Legacy by Albert Marrin
The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin
Young Fredle by Cynthia Voight
Finally, here are additional possible Newbery Winner not already mentioned from 100 Scope Notes, another fine children’s literature blog.
Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy
The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm
Fuse #8 Production’s Caldecott Predictions
Me … Jane by Patrick McDonnell
Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat by Philip Stead
Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman
Perfect Square by Michael Hall
Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg
A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
Heart & Soul by Kadir Nelson
Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes
Here are additional Caldecott Possible Winners from 100 Scope Notes.
Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes
Where’s Walrus by Stephen Savage
A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmid
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.