Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Not boring at all

There's this negative thinking about Newbery winners: that they're boring reads. Some would even say that these books have been picked by the judges because no one would really bother to read them if they didn't win. (But is that such a bad thing? I certainly don't think so.)

But let's get to the point, shall we, and find out if there's any truth to the apparent ennui that one experiences when reading Newbery winners. Was anyone bored with Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book? I don't think so. It's one of the most exciting titles in children's literature lately. Boring books do not usually stay on top of the bestseller lists for a long time.

How about the last 3 winners? Well, I've read them and I found these novels truly enjoyable. I loved the time travel element of Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me. The historical aspects of Clare Vanderpool's Moon over Manifest were fascinating. And Gantos's theme of boyhood in Dead End in Norvelt is funny. These novels are anything but boring.

What do you think, dear reader? Have you read any Newbery winner recently? Here's a link for all Newbery winners since 1922.


Kaz said...

Hi Peter,

Well, I own seven of the winners - not a huge number out of the many since 1922, but many more from in amongst the honors list...

A standout for me - must re-read the series and write about them... - is the 1983 winner, Cynthia Voight's 'Dicey's Song.' It's the second of a remarkable American series about the Tillermans - a family of four children abandoned by their mother when the eldest, Dicey, is just 13 - and what happens to them.

One of my other particular favourites is the 1968 winner, 'The Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler' - argg, somebody Konig, I think... It's the most delightful romp, with two runaway children taking up residence in the Metropolitan Museum of Art - as you do. There have been a number of film adaptations - one with ingrid Bergman, and the one I've seen with Lauren Bacall as Mrs Basil - great fun.

So, no. Not boring at all!


Peter S. said...

Hello, Kaz! Oh, I've heard so much of The Tillerman Cycle so I'll definitely check that out. Also, I think they issued new covers!

Yes, that novel by Konigsburg is wonderful! I just read it this year. Which reminds me, I have yet to post my thoughts on it.

Kaz said...

Weirdly - I'm putting it down the the housemoving book thieves - of all my Tillerman books, it is Dicey's Song that's gone missing, so if they've recently been reissued, I'll have to go find me a copy!

They are truly magnificent.

Portobello's coffee said...

You know a book is really good if it's effects still linger with you MONTHS after finishing it. "When You Reach Me" is an example of such book. It's so brilliant!

Peter S. said...

Indeed it is, Portobello's coffee! And it makes you want to read A Wrinkle in Time.