Monday, August 12, 2013

You deserve a medal...TOP 10

While I was cleaning out some old nostalgic items today I found a box FULL of trophies! I felt so cool until I realized they were all for being on the Honor Roll my entire life! I love my nerdiness! We are a competitive people! We love medals! They are shiny and make people know you're number 1!!! So it is with books! Have you ever wondered what those medals on books even stand for? Well my darlings you are in luck because today I will reveal one to you! 

It's called a Newbery Medal! What is a Newbery Medal? Well let me tell you! The Newbery Medal was first offered in 1921 as an incentive for better quality in children's books. Named after John Newbery, the famous 18th-century publisher and seller of children's books, it is now donated annually. It is awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published during the preceding year. Runner-up books for the Newbery Medal can be chosen for the Newbery Honor instead. That's a list I'll make later! 

Newbery is the big leagues for children's literature! SO I am going to present you with my top Newbery winners (that I've read so far!) 

#1 The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (winner 1959)

Still one of my favorites! I read this book in the fifth grade and then I reread it in college for a children's literature class I took! When I read it for my class it shot up in my book loving bracket! It's amazing! It's the perfect read for fall when we love witches and all things macabre. Orphaned Kit Tyler knows, as she gazes for the first time at the cold, bleak shores of Connecticut Colony, that her new home will never be like the shimmering Caribbean island she left behind. In her relatives' stern Puritan community, she feels like a tropical bird that has flown to the wrong part of the world, a bird that is now caged and lonely. The only place where Kit feels completely free is in the meadows, where she enjoys the company of the old Quaker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond, and on occasion, her young sailor friend Nat. But when Kit's friendship with the "witch" is discovered, Kit is faced with suspicion, fear, and anger. She herself is accused of witchcraft!

#2 Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (winner 1998)

Written in free verse, this story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma's staggering dust storms, and the environmental--and emotional--turmoil they leave in their path from the perspective of a little girl. This book is unforgettable because it's heartfelt and it's poetry! 

#3 The Giver by Lois Lowry (winner 1994)

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back. I have read this a couple of times over the years and it is still a beautiful book! To carry the past when no one else does makes this book so unique! It'll make you appreciate humanity and all of it's wonderful and terrifying experiences! 

#4 Holes by Louis Sachar (winner 1999)

Stanley Yelnats is a good boy. He just has terrible luck due to his families curse. When he ends up at Camp Green Lake for trouble boys he has to dig holes all day. But things are not as they seem at the camp and as Stanley digs he also digs up the past. This book is BRILLIANT!!!! It entertains you and draws you in to the last page! 

#5 The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (winner 2004)

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other's lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out. This book is an amazing message of light and love and you'll be a better person for reading it! 

#6 A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (winner 2002)

When Min the master pot maker takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated–until he finds obstacles in his path: the backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Min’s irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself–even if it means taking a long, solitary journey on foot to present Min’s work in the hope of a royal commission . . . even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard. This book is a must read for kids! It has the best message of giving your all and doing your best! 

#7 A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck (winner 2001)

Mary Alice's childhood summers in Grandma Dowdel's sleepy Illinois town were packed with enough drama to fill the double bill of any picture show. But now she is fifteen, and faces a whole long year with Grandma, a woman well known for shaking up her neighbors-and everyone else! All Mary Alice can know for certain is this: when trying to predict how life with Grandma might turn out . . . better not. This is a sequel but it is HILARIOUS! Like laugh out loud funny! You will actually LOL not just say you LOL'd! 

#8 Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell (winner 1961)

In the Pacific, there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea. Around it blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea birds abound. Karana is the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Hers is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery. Karana is the original castaway! This story I remember fascinated me as a kid because it's kind of an intense book! But good intense! 

#9 The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (winner 2013)

"I flop onto my back. The cement is always cold, but tonight it hurts. Bob leaps onto my belly. "You are the One and Only Ivan," he says. "Mighty Silverback." He licks my chin, and he's not even checking for leftovers. "Say it," Bob commands. I look away. "Say it, Ivan." I don't answer, so Bob licks my nose until I can't stand it any longer. "I am the One and Only Ivan," I mutter. "And don't you ever forget it," he says." -pg. 119
Ivan is a gorilla. He's been in a cage for a really really long time. But he does have some friends. He has two elephants and a spunky little dog to keep him company. But sometimes cages are too small and stories have deeper meanings. Also we need to realize who we are and realize we are the one and only us. And there is an artist or a mighty silverback in us all.

Finally #10!!!!

#10 The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (winner 2009)

First you should know that Neil Gaiman is an evil genius of a writer! There aren't many writers out there quite like him! He's BRILLIANT! He's like the Tim Burton of writers! But a bit more enchanting!  After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own. Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . . My favorite quote from the book...

"“You're alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you're dead, it's gone. Over. You've made what you've made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.” 

Well my friends there you have it! My top ten Newbery award books! You literally can't go wrong! Just let the shiny medal draw you in and embrace the awesome! Kisses! 

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