Sunday, January 09, 2011

Update on my Newbery contenders

I want you to know that I did read the books I listed, and be fore any winners are announced I thought I would share my thoughts.  I loved "One Crazy Summer".  Period. The characters were so believable I felt as though I was there in California in the height of the Black Panther movement.  The author did an amazing job of juxtaposing the traditional behavior of the time for African Americans with the attitudes of this "new" group.  Here were 3 sisters swept into the middle of it all.  With this as the setting, the story is actually a quest to connect with the mother who left them right after the youngest sister was born.  This opportunity is ever so slowly developed throughout the summer, leaving the reader to implore the mother to "act like one!"  Excellent book all around, and certainly deserving of the Newbery.
I kept putting "Out of My Mind" to the bottom of the pile.  Hard as it is to believe, I don't always enjoy Sharon Draper's books.Finally it was the last book yet to read, so I picked it up.  Wow! Melody is someone I will continue to think about forever.  She is has Cerebral Palsy, essentially a quadriplegic, and cannot talk.  I know this sounds like a real downer, but talk about amazing character development~I know this girl.  She is in 5th grade, and finally is getting mainstreamed into classes.  This is great because she has a photographic memory and is brilliant.  Melody is also a 10 year old with the concerns and ideas that come with the age.  Definitely not a character to pity, she is feisty, and determined to find a way to have a "voice" to share her thoughts and ideas.  You, the lucky reader are privy to these and so share with her wishes,  dreams, and frustrations.  If this book doesn't win, I will be shocked; but I know that Melody would rise from that disappointment as well, an even stronger character!
Other quick mentions, "The Night Fairy" grew on me.  I really wanted to love it, I'm a sucker for fairies, but initially she was such a self-absorbed creature it was really hard. When disaster strikes, we get the opportunity to see her true character develop.  In much the same way Edward Tulane grows, so does this tiny creature.  A very nice job of describing the setting from the point of view of a tiny protagonist.
More later, and I will share my thoughts about ALA Midwinter .....

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