Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Children's Classics

A friend of mine blogged today about 5 Minutes for Books. First of all, I had never visited this site and already, I love it. They state on their site, "At 5 Minutes for Books, we hope to build a community of people who love books and reading." What a great hope!

Currently, they are discussing
Children's Classics — Newbery Medal Winners. They are asking bloggers to review one of the Newbery books. My friend posted about her favorite Newbery Medal Winner, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch. This is a book that she had given me as a gift and I loved it. It is a great book and I would highly recommend it.

As I looked at the
list of Newbery Medal Winners, it made me itch to read them. I've read quite a few but I would love to read them all. Wouldn't that be wonderful?!?!?

As I looked through the list I tried to decide which is my favorite. That is hard!

When I was teaching, I had a goal of reading all of the Newbery winners and honor books. I never made it. Here are the books that I have read:

  • A Year Down Yonder by by Richard Peck
  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
  • Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  • Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff
  • Wringer by Jerry Spinelli
  • A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer
  • Moorchild by Eloise McGraw
  • The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
  • The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Crazy Lady by Jane Leslie Conly
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery by Russell Freedman
  • Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
  • Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  • Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples
  • Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
  • On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  • Like Jake and Me by Mavis Jukes
  • Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
  • The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt
  • Doctor DeSoto by William Steig
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
  • Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
  • The Fledgling by Jane Langton
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
  • Abel's Island by William Steig
  • A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond
  • The Hundred Penny Box by Sharon Bell Mathis
  • Dragonwings by Laurence Yep
  • Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  • Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
  • Incident At Hawk's Hill by Allan W. Eckert
  • Sounder by William H. Armstrong
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
  • It's Like This, Cat by Emily Neville
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  • The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
  • The Cricket In Times Square by George Selden, pseud. (George Thompson)
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen
  • Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
  • Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh
  • ...And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold
  • Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
  • Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
  • Kildee House by Rutherford Montgomery
  • Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
  • Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
  • Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater
  • Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
  • Calico Bush by Rachel Field
  • The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth

So, which is my favorite? That is not hard at all. My all-time favorite Children's book is Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. I love this book. It was recommend to me by a good friend of mine while I was a senior in college. We had been Elementary Education majors together at the same college and he had already graduated and was in his first teaching job. He thought I would like the book and he was correct. I was so enthralled with the story that when I finished reading it, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. I threw the book across the room and called my friend to tell him how deeply the book had moved me. It was the first book to ever make me cry and it is the only book that I have ever thrown across a room. (Something that I would not normally advocate!)

If this friend of mine and I had met when we were much younger, I envision that we would have been very much like the two main characters in Bridge to Terabithia, Jess and Leslie. It is a story of a very unlikely friendship and the bond that develops between these two friends. Together, they create their own magical kingdom where they let their imaginations soar. In the Kingdom of Terabithia, they learn to overcome fear and free themselves of the cares of life. In Terabithia they gain inner strength and learn how to be carefree. As in any friendship, there are highs and lows. Jess and Leslie experience both of these and the reader experiences joy, hope, sadness, anger, and frustration. There are points in the story where I hated Paterson for choosing to take the story into some unexpected twists. I felt let down as the reader and wondered if the book could even be salvaged. In the end, Paterson closes in a way that makes the reader feel a deep connection with the characters. It left me feeling warm and uplifted. It's a story that celebrates friendship and love despite differences and challenges.

Because of some deeply troubling events, I would not recommend this book for younger children...not even as a book read to them by an adult. I would recommend it for upper elementary or junior high children.

My least favorite book from the list of Newbery's I've read would have to be Missing May and Shabanu. I just simply did not like either of these stories at all.

I'll close by sharing my top five favorites under Bridge to Terabithia...The Giver, Wrinkle in Time, Number the Stars, The Bronze Bow, and Because of Winn Dixie.

1 comment:

  1. This was a fun post to read!

    Ok...I now must read Bridge to Teribethia. Your review has made me intrigued. I remember seeing it as a CYT production and even though the play was good it did not intrigue me to read the book. Actually, the opposite occurred. Your review has reversed that feeling.
    A certain 11yo that I know says that it is a good movie.

    Yep...I must get going on my Newbery Medal Award reading challenge.