December is a time for family, Christmas trees, baking and eating, right? And it's followed by (my least favorite holiday, really) New Year's Eve and those dreaded resolutions.
But to me, January will forever be the time of Newbery and Caldecott Awards. And December the time for reading lots of new books.
At the last two schools where I was the librarian, we focused much of January on these award-winning books. For the younger children, it was all about the best picture book of the year. While the 5th graders read new, potential Newbery contenders. Having spent a lot of time reading and discussing past winners and the criteria for the award, and even having guest speakers who'd been on the committee, my students voted on their favorite and listened with great interest to the announcement from the American Library Association's Mid-Winter Conference.
Once they even traveled to D.C. from our school in Baltimore, dressed in costume and wearing signs supporting their choice, to be present at the actual announcement. Now, traveling would not be necessary! I think the announcement is streamed live for schools to hear.
And now, instead of discussing our favorite choices, together with young readers, I follow blogs and email fellow writers about our favorite books. Here's the original Newbery Blog, picking its shortlist.
FORGE by Laurie Halse Anderson
KEEPER by Kathi Appelt
SUGAR CHANGED THE WORLD by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos
THEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE KKK by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
SIR CHARLIE by Sid Fleischman
THE KNEEBONE BOY by Ellen Potter
THE DREAMER by Pam Munoz Ryan
DARK EMPEROR by Joyce Sidman
A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS by Megan Whalen Turner
COUNTDOWN by Deborah Wiles
CITY DOG, COUNTRY FROG by Mo Willems
ONE CRAZY SUMMER by Rita Williams-Garcia
Remember, that's just one blog's opinion!
Although there is no nominated list, and only the committee knows what books are truly under consideration (anything nominated must have been published in the previous year and published in the U.S.), bloggers don't let that stop them! It's fun to speculate. Let the games begin!
Any favorites of your own so far?