Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Book Awards

For those who don't know or don't follow those kinds of things the Caldecott and Newbery Awards for children's books have been awarded. As a lover of books, especially children's books, I am always interested in seeing what wins. Often I find they are books I don't know yet or that I know and don't like or know and find too politically correct for my taste. So I was very excited this year to find that I already knew and loved the two top choices. Those who know my personal preferences will also know I am excited that both are also historical fiction!!!

The Caledecott winner (for children's picture book) was The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick set in a 1932 Paris train station. There was apparently some controversy/discussion over the selection of this book since it is not a traditional picture book and is not aimed at the preschool/K set. It weighs in at 544 pages (most of them are beautiful black and white drawings) and it is listed as intended for the 9 to 12 crowd. Victoria read it easily over the summer and really enjoyed it. I may try it with Andrew this summer, we will see, some of the story line about an orphan can be just a bit scary.

The Newbery Winner was Good Maters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz. It is a beautifully illustrated book that captures a feel of Medieval life. It is not really a novel/chapter book but rather a series of short poems, dialogues or prose pieces about different children in a medieval village. The author is a librarian in Baltimore and wrote it to be used as preform aloud pieces for the sixth graders studying Medieval history because they were having trouble with finding resources they could relate to. I found it at a used book store this fall and picked it up to use as review for the medieval history we had just finished studying since I too had found grade school level things hard to find for that time period.
I think it is especially cool that she is a school librarian and went into work on the day she won where the students gave her a plastic tiara to wear. Ok, I am a total nerd who was good friends with all my school and local librarians and still think it would be a cool job to have.

In linking Amazon to this book I noticed she has also written a picture book on the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann that I will have to check out.

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