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Newbery Award Books- Which Ones??

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

 

Basically we are straddling the unschooling fence around here.  Unschooling for somethings and not for others.

 

Literature is being straddled.  I need help.  DS 11 is a voracious reader.  He reads upward of 1000 pages a week. (fully printed pages- not picture book pages).  Part of this years 'plan' is to cover some of the Newbery and Caldecott Award books.  Our year goes by calendar year for this project so all of 2012.

 

Right now we are finishing 'From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler'.  Next is 'Alice in Wonderland'- which really isn't an award book but is equally important.

 

So wise mama's how do I select books for 'literature'.

 

Right now this is so overwhelming.

 

Thanks

 

 

**I posted on Unschooling as well but after 24 hrs realized I am shifting away from unschooling toward something assignment based this year and need HELP!

 

 

These books would not be all that DS reads in a week, nor would they be a significant amount of what DS reads in a week but I feel the Newbery list is very important and I do want to touch upon them this year.  How do I begin to narrow down such a stellar list into something manageable?    

 

Do I first cross off the ones I know neither of us 'like'?

post #2 of 16

Check out the book lists at www.sonlight.com  There are many award winning books listed there.  Check out the readers and the read-alouds. They have some good stuff.

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Forgot to add,  secular homeschooling.  DS is 11 but working at high school level.

I've been homeschooling for 6 years, very comfortable with our choices, just really stumped with how to narrow down the Newbery list (which is what I've decided on for Literature)

post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post

Forgot to add,  secular homeschooling.  DS is 11 but working at high school level.

I've been homeschooling for 6 years, very comfortable with our choices, just really stumped with how to narrow down the Newbery list (which is what I've decided on for Literature)



Sonlight is a Christian curriculum, but I encourage you to take a look at their book selections anyway.  Many of their book selections are Newberry winners and not religious book.  Take a look at this link:  http://www.sonlight.com/award-winning-books.html

post #5 of 16

I happened to see this in New Posts. 

 

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (1985 Newberry Winner) is my favorite book of all time. I must have read it 20 times when I was a teen. If your son balks at reading a book with a female main character first give him the old stink eye from me and then tell him the she kills a dragon. 

post #6 of 16

Are you looking for recommendations for specific books on the list, or a method for narrowing down the list?  You could check out this list on Amazon with links to all the books.  I'd just scan the list, randomly clicking on links for any titles that sound interesting or that you remember hearing good things about, and when you've found a dozen or so that sound promising, then go look for them at your library.

 

There are several by Zilpha Keatley Snyder on the list.  I loved her books when I was a kid, so I'd recommend them.  My teacher read us Rifles for Watie when I was in 5th grade, and I liked it.  It seems like a good choice for an 11 year old boy.  I'd also recommend My Side of the Mountain, The Westing Game, and (if he doesn't mind books about girls) Julie of the Wolves and the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.  There are a bunch of Eleanor Estes books on the list, and it's probably worth trying at least one of them if he hasn't read any before.  As an adult, I've really enjoyed the Eleanor Estes books I've read to my kids, but I don't think I liked them quite as much when I was a kid as I do now. 

post #7 of 16

I think the oldest one I've read was from 1927-- Smokey the Cow Horse. I re-read it recently and was surprised by the overt racism. Having said that, I would alternate books, and take from the early end of the list and then from the more recent ones. It would contrast so many things, and really show how writing for children has changed over time.

 

The Graveyard Book is fairly recent, and I quite enjoyed it. It's an adaptation of The Jungle Book, which while not on the list is actually a very good read, too.

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post

Are you looking for recommendations for specific books on the list, or a method for narrowing down the list?  You could check out this list on Amazon with links to all the books.  I'd just scan the list, randomly clicking on links for any titles that sound interesting or that you remember hearing good things about, and when you've found a dozen or so that sound promising, then go look for them at your library.

 

There are several by Zilpha Keatley Snyder on the list.  I loved her books when I was a kid, so I'd recommend them.  My teacher read us Rifles for Watie when I was in 5th grade, and I liked it.  It seems like a good choice for an 11 year old boy.  I'd also recommend My Side of the Mountain, The Westing Game, and (if he doesn't mind books about girls) Julie of the Wolves and the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.  There are a bunch of Eleanor Estes books on the list, and it's probably worth trying at least one of them if he hasn't read any before.  As an adult, I've really enjoyed the Eleanor Estes books I've read to my kids, but I don't think I liked them quite as much when I was a kid as I do now. 


I think I need a way to narrow down the list.  I probably just need to take the time, research this like anything else and see what books are going to be the best fit for our situation.

 

 

 

post #9 of 16

I would try for a variety of genres (fantasy, dystopic, historical fiction in different eras, sci-fi, adventure stories, mysteries, family stories, animal stories, eg.). I guess if you aren't familiar with the books already, that would require a fair bit of research. Here are some suggestions that I think would appeal to an 11-year-old boy and have depth of thematic material and character development:

 

"A Door in the Wall" de Angeli (1950) medieval historical fiction

"A Wrinkle in Time" L'Engle (1963) sci-fi

"The Giver" Lowry (1994) dystopic fiction / sci-fi / futuristic

"From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" Konigsburg (1968) Mystery

"Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH" O'Brien (1972) Animal story, sci-fi

"Bud, Not Buddy" Curtis (1990) depression-era historical fiction

"Island of the Blue Dolphins" O'Dell (1961) survival

"The Bronze Bow" George (1962) historical fiction from the time of a historical Jesus

"Holes" Sachar (1999) contemporary, surrealist adventure

 

I imagine if he's a voracious reader he's read a bunch of these already, but maybe there are a couple here that are new. HTH!

Miranda

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by momtokea View Post

Check out the book lists at www.sonlight.com  There are many award winning books listed there.  Check out the readers and the read-alouds. They have some good stuff.



I agree! The books they choose are excellent.

post #11 of 16

What else are you doing this year?  If you'll be covering certain topics in history or your son has an interest in a particular topic, that might help you narrow things down.  

post #12 of 16

I am assuming since you are partially unschooling this interest in the Newbery list is accompanied by a discussion of how books end up on the list? Newbery recommendations are often politically motivated or selected for unusual qualities outside of what many would consider the criteria for "good" books. A lot of them range from forgettable to downright poor. It is certainly worth talking about and selecting the best ones for your family, and perhaps looking at some of the generally disliked selections and evaluating them for yourselves. It is also good to talk about the downfalls of selecting a single book out of each publishing year and what happens to other good books that year, or how extra honor is given to a poorer selection in a slow publishing year. 

 

The book lists on amblesideonline. com are a really good list of classics if you are looking for more literature selections -- start right at year 0 and skim through because many of the books are pure classics and important cultural works. Ambleside Online expects a high level of literacy and suggests a many books from highschool and college lists as read-alouds for kindergarten and first grade. 

post #13 of 16

Have you investigated the Junior Great Books program at all?  Not Newbery focused but might give you another framework.

 

I like the idea of a PP's of focusing on your books based on other areas of study.   

 

However, if he really is that advanced a reader, I would be focusing more on things "beyond" Newbery (some of the "more fun" Dickens -- Oliver Twist, Tale of Two Cities, Dumas -- Three Musketeers, the Count of Monte Cristo, etc., RL Stevenson -- Kidnapped, etc.) with Newbery winners as pleasure reading.

 

 

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by xekomaya View Post

I am assuming since you are partially unschooling this interest in the Newbery list is accompanied by a discussion of how books end up on the list? Newbery recommendations are often politically motivated or selected for unusual qualities outside of what many would consider the criteria for "good" books. A lot of them range from forgettable to downright poor. It is certainly worth talking about and selecting the best ones for your family, and perhaps looking at some of the generally disliked selections and evaluating them for yourselves. It is also good to talk about the downfalls of selecting a single book out of each publishing year and what happens to other good books that year, or how extra honor is given to a poorer selection in a slow publishing year. 

 

The book lists on amblesideonline. com are a really good list of classics if you are looking for more literature selections -- start right at year 0 and skim through because many of the books are pure classics and important cultural works. Ambleside Online expects a high level of literacy and suggests a many books from highschool and college lists as read-alouds for kindergarten and first grade. 


Where do you get that Newbery books are politically motivated?  They are selected by committee and the voting process (unless it has been changed in the last decade or so) is interesting.  A friend has been on the committee before.  She had literally TONS of books sent to her from various publishers.  She read as many as possible, phones/emailed back and forth with other committee members regarding good reads, was able to quickly put aside many books, and of course the committee met.

 

I am sure that some committee members had their own "agenda" and I haven't liked all the books. . . but I am curious to what prompted your take on the selection process.

 

Amy

 

post #15 of 16


I don't mean the books are politically motivated, I mean the selections are. Exactly as you said, committee members have their own agendas and often have admitted to choosing books for a variety of reasons outside of finding the best books for kids. The 1953 and 1954 selections are always top examples. They tend to favor underrepresented cultures or a variety of obscure and unique qualities over books that will become classic and enduring favorites. The Newbery award certainly has a long and honorable history, but my opinions are not particularly unique -- this is the common refrain of teachers, librarians and library board members I have heard over the years. A lot of people just plain don't care for Newbery books, at least not on the merit of the selection itself. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AAK View Post

Where do you get that Newbery books are politically motivated?  

...

I am sure that some committee members had their own "agenda" and I haven't liked all the books. . . but I am curious to what prompted your take on the selection process.

 



 

post #16 of 16

Ok, I get what you mean.  

 

But, now to the OP. . .  Newbery books that I have enjoyed:

Ginger Pye

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

A Wrinkle in Time

The Westing Game

 

I enjoyed all from the nineties, but would expect

 Maniac Magee, Shiloh, The Giver, The View from Saturday, and Holes to appeal to boys

 

And, for some reason, I haven't cared for many since the 90s.  I have liked:

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village (because it was unique -- I felt)

When you Reach Me  (which I really enjoyed)

 

I haven't read all of them and there are some that I really disliked that others seem to LOVE ("A Year Down Yonder" is one of those).  And, there are times that I have liked the honor books much more than the winner. 

 

Amy

 

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