Monday, December 17, 2007

less than a month to go!

How's the reading going? I'm working hard at getting ready on this end! It's too late to add any books to our list, but have you read anything brand new that's worth some attention? Any strong feelings about any of the books on our list? Feeling good? Tired? Ready?

Happy December, all!

Oh, and just to let everyone know, I'll be in Switzerland eating cheese and drinking wine between December 23 and January 3, so don't be surprised if you don't hear from me! But I'll see you on the 6th!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

How the discussion works

For those who are wondering how the actual four hours will be spent during our discussion, here's a little bit of a breakdown:

First, we'll spend a short period of time with introductions.

Then, we'll discuss some background of the Newbery Award and an overview of how the Newbery Committee operates.

After this we'll look look at each book on our list (see the sidebar) and discuss them in terms of the award criteria. We'll each have a chance to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of each book and we'll compare them to each other.

Finally we'll do our balloting. We want to reach a consensus when we pick our Mock Newbery Winner an this process might take some time. Everyone will have a chance to vote (anonymously) on their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice, and these votes will be weighted. After we see what the numbers look like after our initial vote we'll have a chance for some more brief discussion, some elimination, and another vote, if needed.

In the end we'll have chosen our Mock Newbery Winner along with Mock Newbery Honor books!

Please do read all the books if you plan to attend - the voting and discussion is way more fun (and fair) if everyone has come prepared!

The Final List - Finally!

So our last five additions to the Mock Newbery discussion list are:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie
Book of a Thousand Days - Shannon Hale
Elijah of Buxton - Christopher Paul Curtis
Lawn Boy - Gary Paulsen
Red Moon at Sharpsburg - Rosemary Wells

See the sidebar for the complete list with links to the items at one of my favorite bookstores! Hope to see you all on 01/06/08.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Final List

Hi everyone! Just wanted to give a heads up that my intention is to send out full details, including a final list, early next week! I'm gonna read my way through some turkey and stuffing this weekend and return relaxed and ready to go...

In the meantime, everyone have a wonderful week and we'll talk soon!

PS Am finally reading "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" and am pleased that it seems to fit (just barely) into the Newbery age-range. I think it would be an interesting book to discuss. Am also trying to get through Rosemary Wells' "Red Moon at Sharpsburg" and I'll admit it's taking me a really long time, in spite of how good it is. Interesting to see Wells delve into historical fiction in the form of a chapter book. I think it's one of those books where at the end I'll either be like, "eh" or I'll be sobbing into my coffee overwhelmed with how wonderful it is. I have a plane ride this evening across the country, so I hope to find out then. I'll be sure to keep you posted!

Monday, October 29, 2007

newbery faq

the new alsc blog has an interesting new post covering some frequently asked questions about the newbery. for those of you who sometimes wonder about the choices and how much they really relate to what children are reading or who wonder why why why we can't see the short list to help us along in our mock newbery selections, this post gets to the heart of it.

i'd be curious to know how people feel about some of the conventions and rules behind the newbery... is the newbery being kept sacred or is it just being left behind the times?

otherwise, i'm working hard to pick out our last few books for the mock newbery which'll be at the golden gate branch in oakland the first sunday in january! yay! look forward to seeing everyone there....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Date and Location

So, I wanted to let everyone know that we have a date and location for the Mock Newbery. We'll be meeting on Sunday, January 6th at the Golden Gate Branch of Oakland Public Library (on 56th Street and San Pablo Ave in Oakland). We'll meet from 1pm until 5pm.

It should be fun to have our discussion so close to the actual Newbery!

More details as it approaches!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Attendance at Mock Newbery

I'm working on a date/time/location for the Mock Newbery. This is a Bay Area event, so it'll likely be somewhere in Oakland, on a Sunday, and from noonish - 5ish. I thought I'd put this out here as a start to compiling a list of interested persons to whom I can send further details and information.

So, if you're currently reading this blog and think you might like to attend the Mock Newbery, comment with your email address and let me know (or email me directly at dearanxiety at gmail dot com).


Some to start with....

Alright, folks, let's get started. Here are some of the titles that we'll be considering at our Mock Newbery (alpha by title):

Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree - Lauren Tarshis
Feathers - Jacqueline Woodson
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! - Laura Amy Schlitz
The Wednesday Wars - Gary D. Schmidt

There will be more to come, but I wanted to make sure to give people a chance to get started on their reading! So, go go go!

Oh, before you go...please note that these books are also listed to the left, and links to each title on the Books Inc website are provided. Yay Books Inc! They are a wonderful independent bay area bookstore (with an online store as well) that supports children's lit in numerous ways.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Hi there. Sorry for the long break...I was sort of busy reading reading reading and also ajusting to a new position here at work and also just being a bit lazy. But I thought it might be nice to get another little discussion going here.

What do we think of Jacqueline Woodson's Feathers?

On her fabulous new School Library Journalized blog, Fuse #8 talks about not really knowing what to do with this book. What do you think? Newbery worthy material? I thought the writing was beautiful, but everytime I go to talk about the book critically, words like "I loved..." start to come out of my brain and straight through my fingertips. Not very objective or very critical. Thoughts?

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

A couple of commenters have recommended Brian Selznick's beautiful The Invention of Hugo Cabret to be considered for our mock Newbery. I haven't read the book yet, although I've seen it and can't wait to.

For those of you who've read it already - I'm wondering what your thoughts are on it, considering the following Newbery Criteria:

2. Each book is to be considered as a contribution to literature. The committee is to make its decision primarily on the text. Other aspects of a book are to be considered only if they distract from the text. Such other aspects might include illustrations, overall design of the book, etc.

Is it possible to read and consider this book without considering its illustrations and design? I'm sure it is, although I'm also sure it would be a challenge (for me, at least), since these pieces of the book are so stunning. But perhaps the more important question is this: Does this book still seem a good candidate for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature for the year 2007? Based on text alone?

I ask before I have my own opinion. So I'll be able to contribute soon, but not now, to the discussion which will hopefully take place in the comments of this entry.

What do you, readers, think?

Friday, July 13, 2007

My First Post!

Hi everyone! Welcome to my mock Newbery blog. I'm hoping this first post is a way to get things started, especially in terms of book ideas.

Suggestions, please! I'd love to have any and all suggestions for books that would both qualify and have the quality we're looking for, so we can all get started reading! So, any books published this year so far (for children up to the age of 14) that you'd like to suggest might make fine candidates for a Mock Newbery?

Oh! Are you wondering what a Mock Newbery is? Well, it's a chance for a group of people (in this case, it'll take place somewhere in Oakland) to get together and discuss a pre-determined list of books (perhaps 8-10 of them). In this special book discussion the group will be pretending to be the real Newbery committee and will use the same criteria that the real committee uses (although with WAY fewer books) to discuss the books and choose a Newbery winner and honor book(s). It's always fun to have this discussion just before the REAL Newbery winner is announced and see how close our choices lined up with the actual Newbery committee's selections.

You can learn more about how the Newbery is selected here and you can see the winners from the past real Newbery here.

So, please start suggesting books that are worth looking into as potential candidates for our Mock Newbery!