What About this Newbery Winner?

Today I am answering the question “what about this Newbery winner?”  Every year the prize is given out and some years I am very happy, think The Crossover by Kwame Alexander and some year not so much (not going to throw a book under the bus here … a big hint for those who follow such things!)  So I have now read the most recent book to get this shiny gold sticker and my thoughts are below.  Happy reading.

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Title: Hello, Universewhat about this Newbery winner hello universe

Author: Erin Entrada Kelly

Target: Grades 3-6

Series: No

What this book is about:

This story is told from the point of view of four characters. Virgil is shy and struggling to find friends. Valencia is stubborn and hearing impaired. Kaori is a savant of sorts who can read the universe. She also has a soft spot for Virgil. Chet is a bully who picks on others. One day their worlds collide in an unexpected way when Chet causes Virgil and his pet guinea pig to get stuck in an abandoned well. Kaori, her sister, and Valencia go on a quest to find Virgil and the universe brings them many unexpected gifts.

Why I love this book:

  • This one sat on my “to be read” pile for weeks. However, when it won the Newberry award, it moved up pretty fast. I can see why it won. It is just thoughtful enough, just quirky enough, and with just enough folklore to charm any reader.
  • I saw qualities of myself in most of the characters, which is probably what drew me into the story. The author does a really good job of creating four distinct voices so the reader is caught up in each person’s narrative. My favorite characters were Kaori and her “conversations” with the universe and Virgil’s grandmother and her fables which always ended up in a child getting eaten .. yes eaten.
  • While I never doubted that Virgil would get saved from the well, what kept me reading was to see if the experience changed him and his relationships with the other characters in the story. I was rooting for Virgil to grow throughout the story and his development and courage kept me turning pages.

Who this book is for:

Great for kids who like realistic fiction Kids who like the Wild Robot should like this one.

Final thoughts:

A sweet story with just enough quirks to avoid being too predictable.

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Hello, Universe.  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.