books, check 'em out

and i need a job, so i want to be a paperback writer

Maniac Magee 05/15/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimbolee @ 3:24 PM

Maniac Magee
Jerry Spinelli
Little, Brown, 1990
Newbery Medal, 1991
Top 100 Children’s Novels Poll, #17

Maniac Magee is a homeless orphan who unknowingly breaks an unspoken rule in his new town: he’s a white boy who wanders into the black part of town, and is taken in by a black family. Even when he finds out what he’s done, he doesn’t care. Because to Maniac, it just doesn’t make sense. (Ain’t that the truth?). He tries his best to bring the two sides of town together, but naturally, learns that some people are just set in their ways, and some kid who can untie a knot better than anyone else ain’t gonna change everything.

Racism. Homelessness. Identity. Pretty heavy for a children’s book, but somehow Spinelli’s story doesn’t seem heavy at all. It’s got great characters: from Mars Bar, the kid who got his nickname from the candy bars he eats, to Amanda, who carries her entire library around with her in a suitcase to protect her books from her younger siblings, and Maniac himself, who is a little Forrest Gump-ish in his naiveté (and his knack for running). It’s one of those rare books that could be handed off to a boy without much complaint, which in my book, is top notch.


Sarah, Plain and Tall 05/11/2010

Sarah, Plain and Tall
Patricia Maclachlan
HarperCollins, 1985
Newbery Winner, 1986
Top 100 Childrens Novels, #90

This is the shortest book I have ever read. Just kidding. There are 5 picture books that are shorter. In all honesty, I finished this book in about 2 hours (2.5 hours total, really — I took a nap about halfway through).

It’s about a family in the Midwest who lost their mother; their father places an ad in a newspaper for a new wife. Sarah, from the sea, introduces herself as “plain and tall” in her first letter. She’s looking for a change. Her brother is getting married, and she feels that the house isn’t hers anymore.

The children, Anna and Caleb, are of course freaked out that they will become attached to Sarah only to have her leave them. (She doesn’t.)

Perhaps what is the most intriguing/fun/interesting aspect of Sarah is her refusal to play by the rules — it’s almost as if in her first letter, she lets Papa know that she is a woman of her own. She’s got a cat who’s coming with her no matter what; she plays in the rain; she goes to town by herself (much to the chagrin of Caleb, who is convinced that she will either die or never return). I like Sarah. She’s the kind of lady I would want to have been in the 19th century.


Challenge: Newbery Winners

Filed under: Books — kimbolee @ 4:06 PM

Okay, the Newbery Award. Given by the American Library Association to the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” for a given year. Pretty heavy, I suppose.

Here’s where I will tick off the titles that I’ve read so far (I’m starting from scratch; anything that I read as a child is going to be reread for this challenge). A tally, if you will. If there’s a line through it, demand that I write about it!! (You don’t really have to do that; it is mostly for me.)

List of Newbery winners, 1922-present (2010): (more…)


Hi there.

Filed under: Books — kimbolee @ 2:12 PM
Tags: , ,

In an effort to keep myself blogging, I’ve decided to set up a few challenges for myself.

I’ll be writing about the following (in no particular order):
My Newbery Challenge: Read Newbery Winners, 1922-present
Top 100 Childrens Novels Challenge: Read winners of the Top 100 Childrens Novel Poll by School Library Journal Blogger Betsy Bird
Top 100 Picture Books Challenge: Read winners of the Top 100 Picture Books Poll by School Library Journal Blogger Betsy Bird

I’ll try to write about these as I go (although I’ve already started), and I’m also planning to re-read books that I read in school. And I’ll be writing about new stuff, too, but mostly stuff I like.

Alright K, start blogging!