Newbery Picks for 2017

Well, the time has come to reveal my Newbery picks for 2017.  The actual announcement will be on the 23rd of January, but half the fun is guessing how things will turn out.  The Newbery committee changes every year, so past selections are not an indicator of future winners, making this a hard one to call.  But my track record is not too shabby, so let the speculation begin!

For those books that I reviewed, you can simply click on the title and it will take you to my original review.  For those books I have not reviewed you can click on the book photo and it will take you to Amazon.

 

The Winner

 

Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm

This one remains my favorite for the year.  I was blown away by the writing, the humor and the humanity.  This is historical fiction at its best, transcending time to tell a timeless tale.

 

Possible Honor Books

 

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

For a simple book, there are so many layers to this story.  It is a book about how to manage  technology, it looks at how to fit into a new environment, how to adapt when things feel foreign and ultimately how the choices we make affect our survival.  There is even a great fight sequence in the end for action loving readers.

 

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

This beautifully written book will find readers rooting for the protagonist as he literally runs towards redemption.  It shines a bright light on the issues of poverty and the toll it takes.  It also has a protagonist of color which gives a voice to readers who are not represented as often.

 

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin

This is a masterful bit of writing.  The way Grace Lin weaves Chinese mythology within a complex narrative is brilliant.  She received an Honor for her first book in the trilogy, and this book represents a wonderful conclusion to the series.  Perhaps the committee will think an Honor for the first book takes this one out of the running as too much of the same thing, but that would be a shame, because the author’s abilities as a storyteller have only improved.

 

Books I Have Not Reviewed That Have a Shot

 

The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz

This book is by the same author as A Tale Dark and Grimm.  It is brilliantly written and truly an epic tale.  I like to call it the Canterbury Tales for the younger set.  My biggest issue with this book is that I couldn’t define the audience.  My children who love Gidwitz’s earlier books would have listened to this book as a read aloud, but would never tackled it on their own.  I can’t deny the research, adventure and thought that went into this narrative which make it a Newbery shoe in, but I also couldn’t quite define the reader, so it never made it on to my blog.

 

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

This one has been a top pick of most book reviewers since it came out in February.  It has a lot of kid appeal, especially for boys who will love the story about a boy and his fox.  They are separated because of war, but never give up on each other.  As someone who recommends books I read a lot of stories that aren’t up my alley, but that I think will be great for kids.  This one fit squarely in that category and for some reason I just couldn’t get past the first few chapters.  Every once in a great while I struggle through a book that most people love, and for me this year, Pax was it.

 

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

This one sat on my desk untouched for weeks.  I know that extreme bullying and cruelty are a central part of the story.  I haven’t been in a place where I felt I wanted to handle that in my reading choices.  I was an absolute reading wimp when it came to this book. My secret is out. Despite all the accolades bestowed upon it, I haven’t been in the right frame of mind for this story.  If the chatter is correct, this one will definitely be in contention for a shiny sticker and if you can handle it, it appears to well worth your time.  Let me know.

 

Well that’s it for my wrap up.  Are there any surprises or books you expected to see that didn’t make the list?  Let me know.

 

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