Right before the announcement was made for the 2011 Newbery medalist I was sitting in a house at Cannon Beach with a cup of coffee in my hand and my mom sitting in a chair to my left. I kept repeating to myself: “please let it be one I’ve read, please let it be one I’ve read.” Alas, not only had I not read it but I had never even heard of it. What???!!!! I thought that this year, as opposed to previous years, I was the most well-read and prepared. I have been going to a book club about once a month and the books we read have all been published this year and are possible contenders for either the Newbery, Caldecott, Geisel, etc. I also follow a Mock Newbery blog that discusses a wide array of books that are eligible to win.
The winner, Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, only recently came out (as opposed to other books in 2010 that were published in, say, April). The book was mentioned briefly on the blog I follow, but I had so many other books I was reading that I completely overlooked it. It is obvious that this year’s winner was not really on very many people’s radar by the fact that when I went to Powell’s on Monday night to look at it I couldn’t find it anywhere on the shelf. When Forrest and I asked an employee where we would find it (I couldn’t remember the author’s last name) she said that they actually didn’t have any in stock. What?? So crazy.
At first I was SO disappointed that I didn’t correctly guess this year’s winner, but the more I thought about it the more I was kind of glad that it turned out the way it did – because the Newbery really is all about me and how I feel. I thought you knew that (insert sarcastic tone here). If the Newbery was predictable then there wouldn’t be any anticipation surrounding it. By picking a book so out of left field the committee kept the Newbery award fresh, exciting, and unpredictable. They ensured that it would still be interesting for next year and the year after that and not just a tired old tradition that we do because we have to.
I got my hold in place at the library (#1 of 69 holds) and am pretty excited about reading it.
In other news: I got my first book to read and review for SLJ (School Library Journal) and I am excited/terrified. I’ll let you know if they decide to publish it.
What do you think about the winner? Have you read it?