Last month the Newbery Awards were announced and I have finally gotten around to reading the Medal and Honor books for this year.
The Newbery Medal winner this year is Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. I really enjoyed this book as it was about kids who are a little different and the struggles that they go through. In this book we have a great story where the three ‘good’ kids bond together against a bully. It is a great story about friendship and also overcoming racial differences and embracing disabilities. I believe that this was a great choice for a Newbery Medal.
I can once again say that I have read all the Newbery Medal winners, and this one is definitely in the top group of winners.
There were also three Newbery Honor books this year. Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson is about an intelligent African American girl who is piecing together her life. Jade lives in a poor neighborhood but attends a prestigious private school on a scholarship. Jade is an artist who specializes in collages which is where the title of the book comes from. The book is well written and really gives us a great picture of a young girl as she overcomes adversity and builds friendships and relationships that will help her through life.
Some of the subject matter may be a bit too much for younger readers and I am a bit surprised that it was considered by the award panel. However, it is a really great book for older teens.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds is definitely not my idea of what a Newbery Honor book should be. The book is too intense for the age group that the Newbery should be for. This book is not a book for children. Multiple instances of substance abuse, profanity and violence should have ruled this out for consideration.
This book is richly illustrated by Gordon C. James. It tells the story of a young boy getting a hair cut and how it makes him feel. We find that a good hair cut can give you confidence and make you feel alive.
“A Fresh Cut Makes Boys Fly.” is from the text and is prominent on the back cover of the book. This book brought back memories of hair cuts through the years and yes they can definitely make you feel empowered and give you a sense of confidence.
For younger kids I definitely recommend Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut and Hello, Universe. For older teens I definitely recommend Piecing Me Together.
What do you think of the winners for this year?