Box of books is a treasure trove

I am so predictable. A box arrives at my school library and I become a kid in a candy shop with an open account.I had the great pleasure of ordering a backlog of Newbery Award books and they arrived this week. I have been reading ever since. The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

I have to say that being a Newbery winner does not automatically make for a great read. Some of them have heavy, almost grim morals attached, which sometimes put me off. But it is worth the occasional clinker to wade through books that are more often charming, captivating literature.

Never mind that they are aimed at 10-year-olds. I enjoy the heck out of the opportunity to sample them. This most recent collection was supplemented by some other award winners given to the library from our recent book fair. For me, that’s just like B’rer Rabbit in the briar patch, folks.

And what have I been reading, like bon-bons, almost one every night? Well, I have only scratched the surface, but so far I recommend every one I’ve read. This week included “Turtle in Paradise” by Jennifer L. Holm, “One Crazy Summer” by Rita Williams-Garcia and “The Friendship Doll” and “Nubs” by Kirby Larson.

“Nubs” is rather special, because it is the inside story about the dog brought back here to San Diego from Afghanistan. It sounds like a simple tale. It is actually quite extraordinary and wonderful.

My list of treats lined up for the next few weeks, includes “Moon over Manifest” by Clare Vanderpool , “Heart of a Samurai” by Margi Preus, “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” by Grace Lin, “Savvy” and “Scumble” by Ingrid Law, “Penny from Heaven” by Jennifer L. Holm, “Hattie Big Sky” by Kirby Larson and “Criss Cross” by Lynne Rae Perkins. These are far from all the ones I’d like to curl up with, but they are the ones handiest for the moment. And I love nothing better than to be able to recommend to my young book fans.

How do I decide which ones to read? I am a sucker for the cover-flap summary, combined with the book’s subject matter, historical setting and, yes, I’ll admit it, cover art. Upon hearing this, one precocious fifth-grader quipped, “You can’t judge a book by its cover!” My response was that I am more than willing to risk it.



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