I’m a participant in The Newbery Project, a group collaboration blog with reviews by people who have agreed to read and review Newbery Medal winning books. The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the American Library Association (ALA) for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature in the USA, the prior year.
People who read all the Newbery list books are called Newbery completists. I’ve met a few, at Goodreads.com. I want to be one.
I’ve been reading middle grade and young adult novels from the Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor Book list for a long time now. My desire to read Newbery Medal winning books started because I read children’s novels out loud to my young children while homeschooling them in the 1990’s. We developed a habit of reading Newbery Medal winning books and Newbery honor books together as a family.
I’ve already read many of the titles on the list. I include Newbery Honor Books as well as Newbery Medal winners, and it is a long list, so there’s still a lot of books I haven’t read yet. To see the entire list with the ones I’ve read marked off, visit my children’s literature blog.
Books I reviewed for the Newbery Project blog
1. Secret of the Andes
Secret of the Andes won the Newbery Medal in 1953. The author, Ann Nolan Clark, spent about twenty-five years teaching at the New Mexico Tesuque school for Native American children. After that, she received a grant to travel through South America. This book, one of many she wrote, is intended to teach children about a native culture.
2. I, Juan de Pareja
I, Juan de Pareja won the Newbery Medal in 1966. This is a historical novel told from the point of view of the slave who served artist Diego Velázquez in Spain, in the 1600’s.
3. Adam of the Road
Adam of the Road won the Newbery Medal in 1943. The protagonist in this middle grade middle ages novel is Adam, who embarks on a road trip with his father and his dog. Through many adventures, and misadventures, he learns about the life of minstrelsy. Yes, that’s a word. Minstrelsy means: The art of the medieval minstrel.
4. Crispin: The Cross of Lead
Crispin: The Cross of Lead won the Newbery Medal in 2003. This is another middle ages novel, but this one is for slightly older children in their early teens. Crispin’s mother died sending him into retreat from his village. This book chronicles his travels.
The Newbery Medal list – how it influenced my writing
After reading many of these novels, I set my heart on writing YA and middle grade novels. That started in 2001. My novel, River Girl, is available at Amazon.
I’m editing four other early YA novels, known as the Antediluvian Adventures.
Because I’m writing in this genre, I need to read the type of books I’m working on. So The Newbery Project serves a real need for me, as well as being something that helps fulfill a goal I set for myself years ago.
I’m sorry to say, during my Newbery reading adventure, I was waylaid by a bad relationship. The man immediately attacked my desire to write in the middle grade and young adult genres and objected to my reading of books on the Newbery list. After seven difficult years I had to leave this person in the past. Details here: What Really Happened When I Left Happy Camp and Moved to Idaho.
Now that I’ve recovered from that experience, I’m going back to my love of children’s literature, renewing my website, Literature For Kids, and reading Newbery list books again.
My intention is to read one of these books, each month. I also have a heavy reading schedule for books intended for adults.
This article was originally published on September 9, 2007. I updated it and added new information on April 30, 2016.
— LindaJoMartin (@LindaJoMartin) April 29, 2016