Reading and Literature



Beginning again,
I go to the gym for the first time in over a year.
Scared, I climb aboard the treadmill,
Ignoring the book in my bag,
Too frightened to do anything but
And grasp the sensors
And watch my heart rate rise and fall and rise and fall again.

Stealing a few more minutes,
I sit in the parking lot and open this book,
Filled with poetry
And a family
And dust that fell like snow.


Back at the gym again,
I walk and then I run.

As I embark on this journey of reading all the Newbery winners (and hopefully all the runners up as well!) it occurs to me I should know what, exactly, makes a Newbery winner a Newbery winner.

According to the American Library Association, the Newbery award came about in 1922 and was intended to honor the best children’s book of the year before. The stated purpose of the award is

To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children. To emphasize to the public that contributions to the literature for children deserve similar recognition to poetry, plays, or novels. To give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children’s reading interests, an opportunity to encourage good writing in this field.


Don’t forget to enter the Spring Seasons of Joy Giveaway!

In 2006, when Jersey Boys won the Tony Award, I was greatly annoyed. I was glad it beat The Wedding Singer– my kids singing nursery rhymes could have beat The Wedding Singer– but did not understand how it possibly had more theatrical merit than The Color Purple or The Drowsy Chaperone.

What does this have to do with Newbery Winner When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead? My 12-year-old reading over my shoulder just asked the same thing.

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The world is so full of a number of things,
I’m sure we should be as happy as kings.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Today we celebrated Children’s Poetry Day at our house. We had lots of poetry breaks throughout the day. What is a poetry break? It’s an idea I gleaned from a book by the same title. The idea is that you randomly call out “poetry break!” and take the opportunity to introduce your children/students to some great poetry. Here are some of our favorite poetry books.

Piping Down the Valleys Wild by Nancy Larrick