500by12

Chronicling the books we read to our children (and perhaps the books they read themselves). Can we read 500 before they turn 12? Only time will tell.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Newbery Award winners

I'm about halfway through The Silver Chair with Jaymie. She's very anxious to finish it -- she asks every day if we're going to have time to read. Unfortunately, we were very busy today, and didn't have a chance to read tonight.

On Sunday I started a little project. The family of one of my college roommates had a big chart hanging in their kitchen listing all of the Newbery award winners, and who in the family had read which of the books. I decided to try this for myself. Unfortunately, it turns out that there aren't any convenient tabular lists of Newbery award and honor books to be found using Google, so I spent an hour and made one myself. If you're interested in a copy, let me know how to contact you in a comment or an email, and I'll send it to you. I've got it in an Access database, but I can send an Excel spreadsheet, a tab-delimited text file, a .csv file, or any other format you can imagine.

I've read surprisingly few of the Newbery award winners. I suspect this has something to do with the fact that award-winning children's books are not necessarily the most fun books for kids to read. They may be great literature, but they may not be great reading. I think I'll try using the Newberys as a source for read-alouds. One thing I notice in looking at the list is that most of the books deal with themes and issues that are worth talking about with my children, and reading these books with them will create opportunities to have discussions about them.

I read Robert Lawson's The Great Wheel (1958 Newbery Honor book) last week, and I may try it as a read-aloud. It tells the story of the first Ferris wheel, which was also the largest ever built (I believe this is still the case). The story focuses on an Irish immigrant who comes to America to pursue his dream -- along with the detailed descriptions of the building of the Ferris wheel, which was an engineering marvel, there is much discussion of immigrant life, the American dream, and class mobility. I think the subject matter is just about right for Jaymie, but the level at which the story is told is probably too difficult for her to handle on her own, so reading this book aloud seems to make sense.

I gave Jaymie The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli (1950 medal winner) to read this morning. We'll see if she makes it through. I remember starting this book several times as a kid and never making it to the end.

6 Comments:

  • At 12:00 PM, April 26, 2005, Blogger Jill said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 4:47 PM, April 27, 2005, Blogger Bryce said…

    Jill --

    I deleted your comment so your email address wouldn't be hanging around.

    Let me know if you had any problems with getting the file.

    As you can see, I've linked to your blog in my sidebar.

     
  • At 8:38 AM, April 28, 2005, Blogger Marie said…

    I am new to your blog, but absolutely LOVE the newberrry list idea. Could you send a copy to me? I can do excel spread sheet, pdf or word doc whatever works for you.

     
  • At 12:46 PM, April 28, 2005, Blogger Amira said…

    I'd love to get the list, Bryce. amiralace@juno.com

    I started working through some Newberys a few years ago. Some were excellent.

     
  • At 10:12 PM, May 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Bryce,

    Look for the book Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray. It is also a Newberry Award Winner. I bet Jaymie will enjoy it more than A Door in the Wall. I think they are set in about the same time period.

    Heidi

     
  • At 6:58 PM, January 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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