Newbery Award Book Review

This page is dedicated to the teacher in me!

I've gotten a bit farther on my Newbery Award review page! Just know that I can't vouch for the ones I haven't read yet. There are some discrepancies in the interest levels, or even appropriateness of some. As I read them, at least I can warn you before your kids read them. For the Reading Levels I'm going by the DRA Level. I believe when they say it's level 5.4, it's basically 5th grade, 4th month.

This is really fun!! I have to make another trip to the library. Last time was quite an ordeal...

Newbery Award Review


Winner: Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool               Looks sweet...can’t wait to read!
                  Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction
                  Reading Level: 5.3
                  Interest Level: 4-8
                 Topics: Overcoming obstacles, parents

Honor:Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
            Genre: Animal Stories, Realistic Fiction
                Reading Level: 6.5 (DRA 30-34??? I haven’t read, so I don’t know                                                          which is more accurate)
                Interest Level: 9th-11th
                Topics: Animals, courage, families and social structure, overcoming                             obstacles, and travel

Honor: Heart of Samurai by Margi Preus
            Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction
                Reading Level: 4.6
                Interest Level: 6th-8th
                Topics: Geography and map skills, heroism, Japanese, World History

Honor: Dark Emperor and other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman            Genre: Poetry
               Reading Level: 8.6
               Interest Level: 3rd-6th
              Topics: Nocturnal Animals

Honor: One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
This is a sweet story of three sisters sent to spend the summer with the mother who abandond them while the youngest was a baby. Besides the issues of race, sisterhood, and having a mother who could win the worst-mother-of-the-decade award, this is a historical piece about the Black Panther Movement in California, 1968.  It was very engaging, told from the view of the eldest sister, and it was beautifully poetic!  

I'm not sure I would suggest a 3rd grader, or even a forth grader read this.  In my opinion, the subject matter, and the emotions in this book are more appopriate for 5th-7th grade children.                  
            Genre: Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction
              Reading Level: 4.6
              Interest Level: 3rd-5th (See above)
              Topics: African Americans, New Experiences, City  life,families,social structure, people, places, environment


Winner: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Sweet, intriguing story of a twelve year old girl, whose friendships are changing, and who is receiving mysterious notes. After being punched on the street, her best friend Sal no longer wants to talk to her. She is forced to embrace other new friendships, including the strange boy who punched Sal. I loved this story. The characters are wonderfully developed and the strand of science fiction is weaved lightly throughout.
               Genre: Science Fiction
               Reading Level: 4.6
               Interest level: 6th-8th grade
               Topics: Adolescence, Friendship, supernatural

Honor: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
           Genre: Biography
               Reading Level: 6.8
               Interest Level: 6th-8th
               Topics: Civil Rights Movement, Prejudice and Racism, Women’s Experience
                      ***Warning: Adult Content, Objectionable Language, and Violence

Honor: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate By Jacqueline Kelly
              Genre:Realistic Fiction
              Reading Level: 5.4
              Interest Level:6th-8th
              Topics:Grandparents, Parents, Siblings


Honor: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

              Genre: Adventure, Science Fisction, Fantasy
              Reading Level: 5.4
              Interest Level: 3rd-5th
              Topics:Asia, determination, magic, parents

Honor: The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick
I wasn't sure if I enjoyed this book or not...It may have something to do with the fact that I listened to it, rather than reading it myself.  The narrator had an extremely annoying voice.  At any rate, little Homer is a funny kid, who lies all the time, but he tries to be a good person, which makes him endearing.  The book takes place during the Civil War and mentions quite a few hardships of the war and some of the evils of slavery. Throughout the book Homer is on a mission to find his older brother who was illegally signed up to fight in the war.  On his journey you meet all sorts of characters and learn a bit about the war at the same time!
          Genre: Historical Fiction
             Reading Level: 7.4
             Interest Level:3rd-5th
             Topics:Civil War, Determination, Siblings

Winner: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Okay, I have to admit, I started this book in 2009 and I have not finished it. I was bored out of my mind. But, I will go back to it at some point, just give it the chance I'm sure it deserves. I mean at first glance it seems so mysterious and intriguing...a boy, the only living resident of a graveyard, raised by ghosts and werewolves...How could it NOT be awesome??? Well...I'll say no more until I complete the story!
               Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery and Suspense (or Not!!)
               Reading Level: 5.4
               Interest Level: 6th- 8th grade
               Topics: Ghosts, Parents, Supernatural

Honor: The Underneath By Kathi Appelt
Looks to be about cats and dogs, and there is a sensitivity issue about violence...I haven’t read it yet.

            Genre: Adventure
              Reading Level: 5.4
              Interest Level: 5th-7th
              Topics: Friendship, Survival
The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle For Freedom by    Margarita Engle
I’m not gonna lie...this book sounds terrible, just from the title. I’m not looking forward to reading this one. I all.
              Genre: Poetry, Historical Fiction?
              Reading Level: 5.2
              Interest Level: 6th-8th
              Topics: Compassion, equality, human rights, kindness, Latin America
                          (Okay! So MAYbe I should read it...)

Honor: Savvy by Ingrid Law
I haven’t read this, but both of my nieces have. One is in 7th grade and the other in 5th. They both loved it. My niece, Annabelle started reading me the second book, Scumble, in the car one day and it was pretty darn funny, so I imagine Savvy is too!

                Genre: Fantasy
                Reading Level: 8.5
                Interest Level: 6th-8th (or 5th)
                Topics: Adolescence, family, individuality, magic


Reading Level:
Interest Level:


Honor: Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis (l-o-v-e, love him!!!)
Elijah was born free in Buxton, a free slave settlement in Canada. One of his neighbors was tricked out of the money he was saving to buy his family, so Elijah sets out to get it back. He needs to cross over into Detroit, where he learns about and sees some of the horrors of slave trade, things he has been sheltered from in Buxton. This is an excellent story, but I would recommend reading it with your child so you can discuss some of the rather difficult topics. Some of history is heart-wrenching.
                Genre: Historical Fiction
                Reading Level: 7.8
                Interest Level: Scholastic says 3rd-5th, but I would say 5th-7th (parts are very graphic)
               Topics: African Americans, courage, and slavery


Winner: Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
Criss Cross is a gentle and whimsical tale of adolescence. Perkins uses humor and art to chronicle a group of teenagers in the 1970's. I love the relationships with friends, parents, and neighbors that she develops. She changes fonts and point of view at various points of the novel. In one chapter she parallels two narratives in columns. It is very interesting, though not exciting, to read. A great book for literature circles!
                Genre: Realistic Fiction
                Reading Level: 5.4
                Interest Level: 5th-7th
               Topics: understanding self, relationships, emotional and social development,   life experiences

Honor: Lizzy Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
Precious story about a minister’s boy who just moved to a new town in the early 1900’s. He doesn’t seem to fit in, he doesn’t particularly like the men of the town, and he is always getting in trouble. The light of his life happens to be a little black girl who lives with her people nearby on Malaga Island. While the elders of the town try to remove all the inhabitants of Malaga Island, Turner tries to save them. This book is based on some true events, which makes it hard to read at times. There are a few deaths in the book. You may want read this first before your child. If nothing else, to be able to discuss the history and sensitive parts.
                Genre: Historical Fiction
                Reading Level: 7.2
                Interest Level: 6th-8th
                Topics: African American History, Equality, Justice, Friendship, loyalty, Prejudice and Racism

Winner:The Tale of Despereaux: Being a Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo
Easily one of my favorite children’s books. This book is split into parts: one staring a pitiful,tiny mouse who doesn’t follow the mouse code, one staring a rat who has a twisted heart, and one of a poor servant girl who isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. All the stories have a common theme and all the characters come together near the end. This is a very sweet, very funny, very engaging story that kids LOVE to hear. It is way better than the movie!!
                    Genre:Fairy Tale, Fantasy
                    Reading Level: 4.8
                    Interest Level: 3rd-5th
                    Topics: Courage, Pride, Self-esteem, Forgiveness

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