Has the Newbery lost its way?

>> Monday, October 6, 2008

Anita Silvey, a wonderful children's book critic and historian, has a fascinating and honest article in the October 1st School Library Journal in which she asks the question that no one in children's books wants to ask publicly but everyone asks privately: Has the Newbery lost its way?

From her essay:

Right before the announcement of this year’s Newbery winner, I had two surprising encounters. First, a librarian at my local public library confessed that she had no interest in learning “what unreadable Newbery the committee was going to foist on us this year.” Then, a few weeks later at an education conference, I was startled to hear several teachers and media specialists admit they hadn’t bought a copy of the Newbery winner for the last few years. Why? “They don’t appeal to our children,” they explained patiently.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.


Anonymous,  October 8, 2008 at 12:03 AM  

I came to your blog through BPR, but I'm staying because of your interesting and diverse posts. I was especially drawn in by this one, as I was thinking just last week "What happened to Newbery books?" When I was middle school-aged in the late 70's, early 80's, Newbery Award winning books held a certain cache' and our teachers always presented them as something extra special. My two older children are 9 and 10, both in gifted classes, and read voraciously, but I'd never heard one of them talk about a Newbery book. I was surprised and pleased that in the article you linked to, three of the books they have been assigned recently are Newbery books: Number the Stars, Holes, and Maniac Magee. The funny thing is that these books are not being hyped as Newbery. This also plays into what the article was saying about recent award winners. All three of these titles won their awards in the 1990's!
Thanks for linking to this. It was very enlightening and thought provoking!


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