It happened! A book I had already read won the Newbery Medal!
Unfortunately, my notes about Last Stop on Market Street leave much to be desired: “The grandmother’s relentless positivity was a little much, and the bus riders were awfully social. Still, people are usually nice to little kids on the bus.” My memory of it doesn’t separate out pictures and text, either. (The Newbery is for the text.) But I’m happy for Matt de la Peña — I really liked his YA We Were Here, about four boys breaking out of a group home and heading for Mexico. He’s so good at emotional writing that never turns flowery.
The other award winners I’d read were Rita Williams-Garcia’s Gone Crazy in Alabama (Coretta Scott King Award winner) and Jason Reynolds’ The Boy in the Black Suit (Coretta Scott King Award honor). I liked them both a lot. I don’t think Gone Crazy in Alabama is my favorite of the trilogy– I tend to like middle books, where repercussions of book one play out and things get thorny. That’s P.S. Be Eleven all over, plus it has the most of Big Ma, the character who most intrigues me. Oh, could there be some more novels about the adults? please?
So many books I’ve seen on blogs but not read. I may seek out Newbery honor Echo, by Pam Muñoz Ryan, as an audiobook, since it also won an Odyssey honor.
Here’s the full list of this year’s honorees.
Just finished Dandelion Cottage, by Carroll Watson Rankin. 1904, middle-grade by today’s categories: four girls get to use a delapidated cottage, owned by the church on their block, as a summer play-house. I checked it out because Beverly Cleary mentioned in A Girl from Yamhill that it was a childhood favorite of hers. (And I see, browsing Goodreads, that I’m not the only one who read it for that reason.) There is lots of housecleaning! And entertaining a real live boarder for three weeks, and a culminating dinner party for the kindly landlord and favorite neighbor.
One thing stood out compared to contemporary books: the rotten new girl who steals, wrecks stuff, and otherwise makes things no fun doesn’t get the note of sympathy or redemption that would be required now. Laura’s parents are mean and negligent, and although the four Dandelion Cottage girls keep reminding each other not to sink to her level, no adult or narrator points out that Laura hasn’t really had friends before, has a tough family life, et cetera. I wonder when sympathy for bullies and “bad kids” became de rigueur– sometime before Mary Stolz’ A Dog on Barkam Street led to The Bully of Barkham Street in 1963?
There are two brief mentions of playing Indian, early in the book. No other content warnings that I can recall.
The rest of my current reads: