Monday, January 26, 2009

Newberry Winner 2009

If you've been following FunSchooling for a while, you'd know that I've compiled a To Read List of historical fiction, fiction and sci-fi books for my print-thirsty son.

Well, thanks to a timely update from my friend Susan at Chicken Spaghetti, I've just added to my list this year's Newberry Medal winner: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, who also wrote Coraline.

Although the premise (a boy growing up in a graveyard with ghosts and ghouls--the book is targeted at 9-12 year olds after all) may be a little eerie and possibly above the sensitivity level of an almost 6-and-a-half-year-old, DS has surprised me before now by taking stuff like murder, death and loss in the books he reads in his stride. And the coincidence of it all is that just yesterday he asked if we could visit a cemetary!

I've just experimented with A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book 1) and he's been fine. We may try The Graveyard Book if I can get it from the library. Maybe he will be ready for Harry Potter in a couple of months? He's been dying to raid my collection and I've been holding him back. Anyone have experiences to share regarding HP and their younger ones?

Anyway, here are the four 2009 Newberry Honor winners. Please note Amazon's age recommendations.
  • The Underneath by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by David Small (9-12 yrs)
  • Savvy by Ingrid Law (9-12 yrs)
  • The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle (young adult)
  • After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson (Definitely young adult! Emphasis mine)

To read more about this year's ALA Youth Media Awards winners, click here.


  1. I loved the Graveyard Book - I bought it for my teen sister for this past Xmas. There are a couple of profoundly scary scenes and real writing about loss - at the end when he grows too old to stay and has to leave the graveyard, there is real emotion - alot like in Peter Pan. It is beautiful and it hurts. Pathos.

    I think it is maybe not too scary, but I would hope this book will be revisited by a young reader when they grow older, as it has layers that will become evident as a person matures.

    Enjoy - I wish I hadn't read it yet so I could read it all over again and it would be new to me! A Series of Unfortunate Events is a pale pale rag compared to the Graveyard Book. Now I must find Coraline and read it. . .

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough review Georgiaberry. I will keep this in mind when it's time for him to read it. It's the pathos that might affect him more than anything ghost-y.

  3. I just wanted to add that I've finished reading The Graveyard Book. It was beautiful, stark, deep, moving and memorable. I didn't want it to end. I could picture it being turned into a dark movie.

    I have read better books of course but this has a very well written plot and I think I will read it again in a couple of months. I think I'll leave off introducing it to DS for now and explore the possibility the next time I read it.


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