Monday, January 18, 2010

And the Winner Is...

When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead

That's right! The 2010 Newbery Winner is When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead!

Did you hear me squeal?! Did you hear me scream?! I had my fingers crossed! I am thrilled that we shared this book together in class this year. I will forever remember reading to you about Miranda and Sal...Sal and Miranda...and the Laughing Man...and watching your faces twist and your minds boggle as you attempted to fit the mysterious pieces of this story together. LOVE this book!

The FOUR Newbery HONOR books this year are...

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

I read The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jaqueline Kelly this summer. This is her first novel. The book takes place in 1899. The protagonist is Calpurnia Virginia Tate but everyone calls her Callie Vee. The book is a collection of experiences that Callie has during the last half of that year before a new century begins. Callie's mom spends her time in the book trying to make Callie into a respectable lady. Callie, however, befriends her grandfather and would much rather be outdoors. She is very interested in science and discovery and animals and plant life. Oh...did I mention she has to deal with six brothers? No wonder her mother wants her to become a proper lady!

I think the reader who likes this book will enjoy historical fiction. It somewhat reminded me of Caddie Woodlawn, a well-known historical fiction book about a tomboy who would much rather be scouting Indians and playing in the creek than doing lady-like things. If you like science--animals, insects, plants--this would be a great novel for you to read as well. With 340 pages, this book was a very good read. I enjoyed getting to know Callie Vee.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick

Want a GREAT historical fiction book to read? I read this book over the summer as well and LOVED IT!! This book has it all...adventure, action, humor, gut-wrenching description of battle in the Civil War.

This book follows the story of Homer whose older brother Harold is illegally sold into the Union Army. Homer escapes the grasp of his mean guardian to find Harold before he is killed in battle. Along the way, Homer has adventure after adventure. And in each adventure, Homer cannot help but to stretch the truth to get him further along in his journey.

Homer and his tale reminded me some of Tom Sawyer...telling tall tales...a likeable fellow...plenty of mischief. I enjoyed this character and his courageousness in the search for his older brother. I was cheering him on even when his situation looked hopeless.

I don't want to give too much away in this book. Just know that if you want an adventure--action--humor--and you like historical fiction, then you should read this book.

Claudette Colvin Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
I have not read this book so here is a summary from Amazon..."On March 2, 1955, an impassioned teenager, fed up with the daily injustices of Jim Crow segregation, refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of being celebrated as Rosa Parks would be just nine months later, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin found herself shunned by her classmates and dismissed by community leaders. Undaunted, a year later she dared to challenge segregation again as a key plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.

"Based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others, Phillip Hoose presents the first in-depth account of an important yet largely unknown civil rights figure, skillfully weaving her dramatic story into the fabric of the historic Montgomery bus boycott and court case that would change the course of American history."

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Here again is a summary from Amazon..."In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.

"Grace Lin, author of the beloved Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat, returns with a wondrous story of adventure, faith, and friendship. A fantasy crossed with Chinese folklore, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a timeless story reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz. Her beautiful illustrations, printed in full-color, accompany the text throughout. Once again, she has created a charming, engaging book for young readers."

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

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