I'm sorry for my recent silence. Last weekend I was facing a chapter deadline on the book I'm writing for Candlewick with Julie Danielson of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and Elizabeth Bird, aka Fuse #8 from School Library Journal. Then, after finishing the chapter, I was too tired to blog all week!
Hey, if Julie's blog contains the number 7 and Betsy's features the number 8...maybe I should add the number 9 to the title of my blog, just to keep things nice and sequential.
Speaking of numbers, do you know what today is (besides my mother's birthday)?
Here are TEN children's books to celebrate the day:
TEN LITTLE FINGERS AND TEN LITTLE TOES by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury
TEN APPLES UP ON TOP by Dr. Seuss
TEN BLACK DOTS by Donald Crews
10 MINUTES TO BEDTIME by Peggy Rathmann
TEN KIDS, NO PETS by Ann M. Martin
TEN THINGS TO DO BEFORE I DIE by Daniel Ehrenhaft
THE TENTH GOOD THING ABOUT BARNEY by Judith Viorst
TWENTY AND TEN by Claire Huchet Bishop
ALEX ICICLE : A ROMANCE IN TEN TORRID CHAPTERS by Robert Kaplow
THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN by Herge
DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE TROIKA
I always love getting comments on this blog -- keep 'em coming (well, except for you spammers from gift shops in Malaysia and India.) Last week an anonymous reader left an intriguing comment about a painting that has been referenced in at least four children's books.
Here's the reference in HENRY REED'S JOURNEY by Keith Robertson:
"Have you two children ever seen that painting of the Russians in a sleigh being chased across the snow-covered steppes by wolves?"
"I have," I told him.
"Do you remember what the woman in the back of the sleigh was doing?"
"She was about to toss a baby to the wolves," I said.
"What a horrible idea," Midge said. "Why would she do a thing like that?"
"I always assumed she was sacrificing her baby to the wolves to allow those in the sleigh time to escape."
It's mentioned in two books by Elizabeth Enright, THE FOUR-STORY MISTAKE ("Look, here's a whole story pasted up; illustrations and everything. Pretty nifty, too," said Rush. "It's called 'Pursued by Siberian Wolves!'") and THEN THERE WERE FIVE ("The dogs were loving it. They bounded and snapped and barked their great hollow, brutal barks. Through Randy's panic-stricken mind flashed the image of a picture on the Office wall: an old steel engraving entitled 'Pursued by Siberian Wolves.'")
There is also a possible reference in Arthur Ransome's GREAT NORTHERN:
"They won't kill him even if they catch him," said Peggy.
"We've got to count him as a baby thrown to the wolves," said Dorothea.
Anonymous is trying to track down this mysterious painting -- and now I am too! It does seem like a picture I've seen at some point...but maybe I just conjured it up in my head when I read the above books.
Does anyone know this image?
And can you think of any other children's books that make reference to it?
AND TO THINK THAT I SAW IT IN VANITY FAIR!
Children's books pop up in the most unexpected places. This past week I was reading the new issue of Vanity Fair and came across a squib on Pee Wee Herman's upcoming Broadway show. And in the photo he's shown reading the 1965 picture book PART-TIME DOG by Jane Thayer (pen name of Catherine Woolley, who died a few years ago at age 100.)
I bet the sight of PART-TIME DOG -- a frequent book club selection in the 1960s -- brought back memories for a lot of babyboomers, who probably rushed out to get copies for their own kids.
On second thought, perhaps those parents didn't try to track down a copy. After all, PART-TIME DOG is a picture book. The internet has been abuzz about this article from last Friday's New York Times, which notes a recent decrease in the publication and sales of picture books. The article states:
The economic downturn is certainly a major factor, but many in the industry see an additional reason for the slump. Parents have begun pressing their kindergartners and first graders to leave the picture book behind and move on to more text-heavy chapter books. Publishers cite pressures from parents who are mindful of increasingly rigorous standardized testing in schools.
“Parents are saying, ‘My kid doesn’t need books with pictures anymore,’ ” said Justin Chanda, the publisher of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. “There’s a real push with parents and schools to have kids start reading big-kid books earlier. We’ve accelerated the graduation rate out of picture books.”
What a shame. Not only will small kids who bypass picture books miss an important part of childhood (imagine growing up without GOODNIGHT MOON!) but one wonders how many will end up rebelling against reading altogether after encountering a few chapter books that they are too young or unsophisticated to understand.
Of course not all kids will rebel. I have to admit I was raised mostly on chapter books from the time I was born. But every kid is different. I guess the best thing to do is provide kids with every type of book (hey, the library is full of 'em!) and let them gravitate where they will.
And while it's great to challenge oneself with difficult or demanding books, there's also a lot to be said for pleasure reading at any age:
HIGHLIGHTS FOR TEENAGERS
When I was in high school, I was blown away by the Pulitzer-Prize winning book PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK by Annie Dillard. Every line sounded like something you could write on a poster and hang on the inside of your locker door. Trying to be hip and cool and pre-collegiate, I bought a yellow highlighter and went through the book, marking all the "profound" passages. After a couple chapters, I noticed that nearly every page was yellow from top to bottom. So I gave up on that plan. But it makes me wonder which children's books are so quotable that they'd be yellow from cover to cover if we highlighted all the most beguiling passages. ALICE IN WONDERLAND? The aforementioned GOODNIGHT, MOON? Any suggestions?
THE NEWBERY, BACK IN THE DAY
I was thinking about one of my highlighted passages from PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK this morning. In this section, Annie Dillard talks about her fascination with weather:
Any time you care to get in your car and drive across the country and over the mountains, come into our valley, cross Tinker Creek, drive up the road to the house, walk across the yard, knock on the door and ask to come in and talk about the weather, you’d be welcome.
I'm not sure if I'm that obsessed with the weather myself...BUT, any time you care to get in your car and drive across the country and over the flat midwest, come into Farmington Hills, Michigan, cross I-696, drive up the road to the house, walk across the wooden deck, knock on the door and ask to come in and talk about the Newbery Awards, you'd be welcome.
My favorite subject to talk about, think about, and argue about is the Newbery Medal. That's why I'm glad that Nina Lindsay and Jonathan Hunt are back to work at School Library Journal's Heavy Medal blog. Recently, a Heavy Medal reader was concerned that the Newbery committee may not give enough consideration to books outside the category of middle grade fiction. Jonathan Hunt responded:
Sometimes, I wish ALSC would publish all of the books that got official nominations throughout the fall–or all of the books on the final ballot. The Medal and Honors tend to skew toward middle grade fiction (i.e. 4th-8th grade), but I think if we saw these kinds of lists we would be more pleased with the diversity of literature represented. Peter Sieruta told me that back in the day, they *did* publish these lists, but somewhere along the way it changed.
Yep, back in the day the preliminary Newbery and Calecott lists were published -- and they were extraordinarily informative. Everyone in the children's book world has heard me blather on and on (ad nauseum) about what an important role those lists played in my teenage years. I was already a Newbery Nerd at the time, so having access to the lists of nominated titles sent me into maximum overdrive. I obsessively hunted down as many of the books as I could -- buying a handful with my paper route money, but mostly tracking them down at the library. My world got bigger and bigger as I moved beyond my local library to discover other branches of the Detroit Public Library system...ordering books through interloan from the Main Library...and over time even traveling into the suburbs to find these books. It was really a growing up experience. And I'd never been exposed to so many wonderful books and authors in my life. Some of the books on those lists remain favorites to this day. Many of the authors I still follow.
Well, you've heard all this before.
But what you've probably never seen are the lists of titles nominated for the 1973 through 1976 Newbery Medals. To my knowledge, they are not printed anywhere else on the internet...so even though this next section of the blog is going to be lengthy, I think it's important to document this info on the net. Things have probably changed a lot in the Newbery nominating process in the past thirty years, but even back in the mid-seventies, you will get a sense of the "diversity of literature represented" on these preliminary lists. They include poetry, nonfiction, picture books, high-end YA novels, and even a few adult books (LIFE IS A LONELY PLACE; IN A BLUEBIRD'S EYE) that the committee thought deserved consideration for the Newbery.
It all started with this announcement in the October 1972 issue of SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL:
For the first time in 50 years, the Newbery-Caldecott Committee of ALA has decided to publish lists of preliminary selections for the awards. The one-year experiment is designed to stimulate discussion of the merits of each title and to allow the membership to become more familiar with the best books published each year. The committee thinks that the experiment will aid the membership when it votes for the winners in December.
Whatever the case, these were the books that were considered for the 1973 Newbery:
COCKLEBURR QUARTERS / Charlotte Baker
ONLY THE NAMES REMAIN / Alex W. Bealer
IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD / Judy Blume
DOODLE AND THE GO-CART / Robert Burch
THE HOUSE OF WINGS / Betsy Byars
THE MOUNTAIN OF TRUTH / Dale Carlson
DELPHA GREEN & COMPANY / Vera and Bill Cleaver
THE YEAR OF THE THREE-LEGGED DEER / Eth Clifford
ME AND THE EGG MAN / Eleanor Clymer
A TRICK OF LIGHT / Barbara Corcoran
FAR IN THE DAY / Julia Cunningham
WHEN THE WORLD’S ON FIRE / Sally Edwards
THIS STAR SHALL ABIDE / Sylvia Louise Engdahl
OH, LIZZIE! : THE LIFE OF ELIZABETH CADY STANTON / Doris Faber
BLACK PILGRIMAGE / Tom Feelings
THE DEATH OF “EVENING STAR” : THE DIARY OF YOUNG NEW ENGLAND WHALER / Leonard Everett Fisher
STICKS AND STONES / Lynn Hall
W.E.B. DUBOIS : A BIOGRAPHY / Virginia Hamilton
THE SECRET OF THE CRAZY QUILT / Florence Hightower
THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE / Isabelle Holland
LONGHOUSE WINTER / Hettie Jones
MOM, THE WOLF MAN AND ME / Norma Klein
FOG / Mildred Lee
THE FARTHEST SHORE / Ursula LeGuin
THE MAGIC MOTH / Virginia Lee
THE WITCH OF FOURTH STREET AND OTHER STORIES / Myron LeVoy
FROG AND TOAD TOGETHER / Arnold Lobel
THE IMPOSSIBLE PEOPLE : A HISTORY NATURAL AND UNNATURAL OF THINGS TERRIBLE AND WONDERFUL / Georgess McHargue
WHARF RAT / Miska Miles
THE TREASURE OF TOPO EL-BAMPO / Scott O’Dell
THE UPSTAIRS ROOM / Johanna Reiss
THE WATCHERS / Barbara Rinkoff
FREAKY FRIDAY / Mary Rodgers
THE WICKED CITY / Isaac Bashevis Singer
BLACKBRIAR / William Sleator
THE WITCHES OF WORM / Zilpha Keatley Snyder
DOMINIC / William Steig
TATU AND THE HONEYBIRD / Alice Wellman
THE FOG COMES ON LITTLE PIG FEET / Rosemary Wells
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A BRAVE BULL / Maia Wojciechowska
In the January 1973 issue of SLJ, the committee published this second list of titles also being considered:
THERE’S A PIZZA BACK IN CLEVELAND / Hope Campbell and Mary Anderson
THE ICE GHOSTS MYSTERY / Jane Louise Curry
PEOPLE OF THE DREAM / James Forman
JULIE OF THE WOLVES / Jean Craighead George
CROSS FIRE / Gail Graham
GHOST PADDLE / James Houston
DINKY HOCKER SHOOTS SMACK! / M.E. Kerr
CHILDREN OF VIETNAM / Betty J. Lifton and Thomas C. Fox
TEACUP FULL OF ROSES / Sharon Bell Mathis
UNDERGROUND MAN / Milton Meltzer
DEATHWATCH / Robb White
You'll note that the winning book, JULIE OF THE WOLVES, appeared on the second list, while all three of the Honors (FROG AND TOAD TOGETHER; THE UPSTAIRS ROOM; THE WITCHES OF WORM) appeared on the first.
Although originally intended as a "one-year experiment," the preliminary list for the 1974 Newbery was also published:
AMERICAN GHOST / Chester Aaron
THE CAT WHO WISHED TO BE A MAN / Lloyd Alexander
MILLS OF GOD / William Armstrong
IN THE COMPANY OF CLOWNS / Martha Bacon
THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS / John Bellairs
THE WINDS OF ALTAIR / Ben Bova
GILDAEN : THE HEROIC ADVENTURES OF A MOST UNUSUAL RABBIT / Emilie Buchwald
THE 18TH EMERGENCY / Betsy Byars
ME TOO / Vera and Bill Cleaver
THE WHYS AND WHEREFORES OF LITTABELLE LEE / Vera and Bill Cleaver
THE WAYFARERS TREE / Ann Colver and Stewart Graff
DREAMS OF VICTORY / Ellen Conford
THE DARK IS RISING / Susan Cooper
SHE, THE ADVENTURESS / Dorothy Crayder
NA-NI / Alexis Deveaux
BEYOND THE TOMORROW MOUNTAINS / Sylvia Louise Engdahl
UNDER THE HAYSTACK /. P.A. Engebrecht
GORILLA GORILLA / Carol Fenner
THE WOLF / Michael Fox
GOOD ETHAN / Paula Fox
AT THE MOUTH OF THE LUCKIEST RIVER / Arnold Griese
TIME AGO LOST : MORE TALES OF JAHDU / Virginia Hamilton
HEADS YOU WIN, TALES I LOSE / Isabelle Holland
CHILDREN OF MORROW / H.M. Hoover
GUESTS IN THE PROMISED LAND / Kristin Hunter
THE ENDLESS PAVEMENT / Jacqueline Jackson and William Perlmutter
IT’S NOT WHAT YOU EXPECT / Norma Klein
A PROUD TASTE FOR SCARLET AND MINIVER / E.L. Konigsburg
ZOO CONSPIRACY / Betty Levin
A WIND IN THE DOOR / Madeleine L’Engle
I WILL GO BAREFOOT FOR YOU ALL SUMMER / Katie Letcher Lyle
THE HOUSE ON PARCHMENT STREET / Patricia McKillip
SNOWBOUND / Harry Mazer
THE CRYSTAL NIGHTS / Michele Murray
FREDDY’S BOOK / John Neufeld
THE CRUISE OF THE ARCTIC STAR / Scott O’Dell
A DAY NO PIGS WOULD DIE / Robert Newton Peck
PATH OF HUNTERS : ANIMAL STRUGGLE IN A MEADOW / Robert Newton Peck
CALL ME HELLER, THAT’S MY NAME / Stella Pevsner
RASS / Bernice Rabe
IN SEARCH OF A SANDHILL CRANE / Keith Robertson
THE TRUTH ABOUT MARY ROSE / Marilyn Sachs
THE GENIE OF SUTTON PLACE / George Selden
THE MAGICIAN / Uri Shulevitz
RUN / William Sleator
TASTE OF BLACKBERRIES / Doris Buchanan Smith
THE VISIONARY GIRLS : WITCHCRAFT IN SALEM VILLAGE / Marion Starkey
THE REAL THIEF / William Steig
THE MALDONADO MIRACLE / Theodore Taylor
OPPOSITES / Richard Wilbur
WALKING AWAY / Elizabeth Winthrop
TAKERS AND RETURNERS / Carol Beach York
The second preliminary list was brief, but it had the eventual winner on it:
THE COURT OF THE STONE CHILDREN / Eleanor Cameron
A HERO AIN’T NOTHING BUT A SANDWICH / Alice Childress
THE SLAVE DANCER / Paula Fox
SUMMER OF MY GERMAN SOLDIER / Bette Greene
SWEETWATER / Laurence Yep
My head is still reeling with the thought of FREDDY'S BOOK (otherwise known as "that book about a kid trying to find the meaning of the F word") was ever given serious consideration.
Another year passed and the committee posted their 1975 nominations:
I’M NOBODY, WHO ARE YOU? / Mary Anderson
THE DEVIL’S STORYBOOK / Natalie Babbitt
THE SPIRIT IS WILLING / Betty Baker
HOW MANY MILES TO SUNDOWN? / Patricia Beatty
JENNY’S CORNER / Frederic Bell
BRIGHT CANDLES / Nathaniel Benchley
BLUBBER / Judy Blume
HUT SCHOOL AND THE WARTIME HOME-FRONT HEROES / Robert Burch
SOMEBODY GO AND BANG A DRUM / Rebecca Caudill
THE WORLD OF SAMUEL ADAMS / Donald Chidsey
I TELL A LIE EVERY SO OFTEN / Bruce Clements
GREENWITCH / Susan Cooper
WINDS OF TIME / Barbara Corcoran
THE CHOCOLATE WAR / Robert Cormier
THE SON OF THE LEOPARD / Harold Courlander
THE LOST FARM / Jane Louise Curry
FIDDLESTRINGS / Marguerite DeAngeli
WHERE THE ROAD ENDS / Ella Thorp Ellis
DUFFY’S ROCKS / Edward Fenton
GREENHORN ON THE FRONTIER / Ann Finlayson
WARLOCK OF WESTFALL / Leonard Everett Fisher
RETURN OF THE GREAT BRAIN / John Fitzgerald
WHY DON’T YOU GET A HORSE, SAM ADAMS? / Jean Fritz
PHILIP HALL LIKES ME. I RECKON MAYBE / Bette Greene
SISTER / Eloise Greenfield
M.C. HIGGINS THE GREAT / Virginia Hamilton
SLAKE’S LIMBO / Felice Holman
GLORY IN THE FLOWER / Norma Johnston
THE SON OF SOMEONE FAMOUS / M.E. Kerr
CONFESSIONS OF AN ONLY CHILD / Norma Klein
RATTLESNAKE CAVE / Evelyn Lampman
GOODBYE TO BEDLAM / John Langone
JASON AND THE MONEY TREE / Sonia Levitin
MAMA’S GHOSTS / Carol Lorenzo
FAIR DAY, AND ANOTHER STEP BEGUN / Katie Letcher Lyle
FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD / Patricia McKillip
DRIFTER / Daniel Mannix
LISTEN FOR THE FIG TREE / Sharon Bell Mathis
POOR JENNY, BRIGHT AS A PENNY / Shirley Murphy
THE JARGOON PARD / Andre Norton
LAVENDER-GREEN MAGIC / Andre Norton
CHILD OF FIRE / Scott O’Dell
SOUP / Robert Newton Peck
THE PERILOUS GARD / Elizabeth Marie Pope
FIGGS & PHANTOMS / Ellen Raskin
WINGS / Adrienne Rich
A BILLION FOR BORIS / Mary Rodgers
TRYING HARD TO HEAR YOU / Sandra Scoppettone
HOUSE OF STAIRS / William Sleator
TOUGH CHAUNCEY / Doris Buchanan Smithh
THE HAYBURNERS / Gene Smith
THE TRUTH ABOUT STONE HOLLOW/ Zilpha Keatley Snyder
WITCH OF THE CUMBERLANDS / Mary Jo Stephens
JOHN, COME DOWN THE BACKSTAY / Caroline Tapley
NONE OF THE ABOVE / Rosemary Wells
THE GIRL WHO CRIED FLOWERS / Jane Yolen
THE MAGIC THREE OF SOLATIA / Jane Yolen
MY GRANDSON LEW / Charlotte Zolotwo
Second preliminary list:
WHIRLWIND IS A GHOST DANCING / Natalia Belting
ME AND THE TERRIBLE TWO / Ellen Conford
THE OSTRICH CHASE / Moses Howard
THE SYCAMORE YEAR / Mildred Lee
CITY / David Macaulay
THE DOLLAR MAN / Harry Mazer
THE REAL ME / Betty Miles
C/O ARNOLD’S CORNERS / Suzanne Newton
OF NIGHTINGALES THAT WEEP / Katherine Paterson
DARK DREAMS / C.L. Rinaldo
KICK A STONE HOME / Doris Buchanan Smith
I just love those 1975 lists. The winner and all the Honors appear on the first preliminary list though, intriguingly, one honor MY BROTHER SAM IS DEAD by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier appears on neither list. But look at all the treasures here: M.E. Kerr and Sandra Scoppettone and Robert Cormier...an early book by Norma Johnston...TWO nominations for both Andre Norton and Jane Yolen (you'll note that it's not unusual for authors to have two noms in one year back then; nowadays few authors even published two books in a year)...a serious nonfiction book about mental illness (GOODBYE TO BEDLAM)...our first Katherine Paterson sighting....plus those always-fascinating titles by authors who got nominated for a Newbery with their very first book (hello, C.L. Rinaldo!) and then never published another. Who knows how their fortunes would have changed if they'd actually won?
The "one-time experiment," stretched to four years, but unfortunately ended after the publication of these preliminary lists for the 1976 Newbery:
WIZARD IN THE TREE / Lloyd Alexander
TO NOWHERE AND BACK / Margaret J. Anderson
REBELLION AT CHRSTIANA / Margaret Hope Bacon
THE FIGURE IN THE SHADOWS / John Bellairs
THE TERRIBLE THING THAT HAPPENED AT OUR HOUSE / Marge Blaine
JOHNNY MAY / Robbie Branscum
YEAR WALK / Ann Nolan Clark
RAMONA THE BRAVE / Beverly Cleary
THE GREY KING / Susan Cooper
THE CLOWN / Barbara Corcoran
BERT BREEN’S BARN / Walter D. Edmonds
THE GREEN HERO / Bernard Evslin
A PRIVATE MATTER / Kathryn Ewing
WHERE WAS PATRICK HENRY ON THE 29th OF MAY? / Jean Fritz
LIFE IS A LONELY PLACE / James Fritzhand
RUMBLE FISH / S.E. Hinton
NEW LIFE : NEW ROOM / June Jordan
IS THAT YOU, MISS BLUE? / M.E. Kerr
THE SECOND MRS. GIACONDA / E.L. Konigsburg
A GRIFFON’S NEST / Betty Levin
FUNNY BANANAS : THE MYSTERY IN THE MUSEUM / Georgess McHargue
STONEFLIGHT / Georgess McHargue
THE HUNDRED PENNY BOX / Sharon Bell Mathis
SATURDAY, THE TWELFTH OF OCTOBER / Norma Fox Mazer
A HEART TO THE HAWKS / Don Moser
GARDEN OF BROKEN GLASS / Emily Cheney Neville
Z FOR ZACHARIAH / Robert C. O’Brien
FROGS, TOADS, SALAMANDERS, AND HOW THEY REPRODUCE / Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
THE GHOST BELONGED TO ME / Richard Peck
FAWN / Robert Newton Peck
MADE IN WEST AFRICA / Christine Price
NAOMI / Bernice Rabe
THE TATTOOED POTATO AND OTHER CLUES / Ellen Raskin
LONG MAN’S SONG / Joyce Rockwood
HENRIETTA, THE WILD WOMAN OF BORNEO / Winifred Rosen
THAT WONDERFUL PELICAN / Jack Denton Scott
BELOW THE ROOT / Zilpha Keatley Snyder
CAT IN THE MIRROR / Mary Stolz
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GATE / Yuri Suhl
JENNIE JENKINS / Mark Taylor
SONG OF THE TREES / Mildred Taylor
THE DARK DIDN’T CATCH ME / Crystal Thrasher
THE FRIGHTENED FOREST / Ann Turnbull
A LITTLE DEMONSTRATION OF AFFECTION / Elizabeth Winthrop
Second preliminary list:
TUCK EVERLASTING / Natalie Babbitt
HOSEA GLOBE AND THE FANTASTICAL PEG-LEGGED CHO / Grayden Beeks
TO THE GREEN MOUNTAINS / Eleanor Cameron
TITANIA’S LODESTONE / Gail Hamilton
OF TIME AND OF SEASONS / Norma Johnston
IN A BLUEBIRD’S EYE / Anita Kornfeld
PYRAMID / David Macaulay
FAST SAM, COOL CLYDE, AND STUFF / Walter Dean Myers
THE WITCHES OF BARGUZIN / Kyra Wayne
DRAGONWINGS / Laurence Yep
People often gripe that TUCK EVERLASTING didn't win the Newbery. Well, there's the list of its competitors. THE GREY KING won and THE HUNDRED PENNY BOX and DRAGONWINGS were the Honors. But that year the winner could also have been a nonfiction volume (FROGS, TOADS, SALAMANDERS, AND HOW THEY REPRODUCE -- can you imagine that one winning?), a picture book (HENRIETTA, THE WILD WOMAN OF BORNEO), a second undeserved title by Ann Nolan Clark (can you imagine the griping if she'd won: "It was bad enough that she won in '53, but then she turned around and got another in '76!"), or one of several titles that are now completely forgottten, such as HOSEA GLOBE AND THE FANTASTICAL PEG-LEGGED CHO or THE WITCHES OF BARGUZIN.
These lists really do show the wide net that is cast by the Newbery committee -- and the broad diversity of titles that are considered for the award. Reading these lists of books, even now, can be a real education in children's books. Reading them "back in the day" (i.e. 1972-1975), when the awards had not yet been decided, trying to figure out which books might win, and developing a critical voice of my own, was a life-changing experience for me.
Bring back these preliminary lists, Newbery committee!
A whole new generation of critics, teachers, librarians, and kids should have the same experience of discovering the books -- and with the internet, there could be nationwide discussions about the Newbery nominees!
Lists of Caldecott nominees were published for 1973 to 1976 as well, but I am not sure I have the complete lists here...nor the energy to type them all up. I'll leave that for a Caldecott enthusiast. What I did find in the file folder holding my old Newbery lists was a 1972 SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL called "Victim of Success? : A Closer Look at the Newbery Award" by Peggy Sullivan, an assitant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences. I remember seeing Ms. Sullivan's name on several articles "back in the day," but reading her article again today I found it dull and rather uninformative.
Two lines toward the end of her piece really stand out though:
Surely by this time, someone has noted that the Caldecott Awards have not been mentioned. I do not consider them similar to the Newbery in terms of controversy, even in terms of prestige.
Was that just Ms. Sullivan's personal view -- or did the Caldecott actually have less prestige than the Newbery back in 1972?
Do you think the Caldecott and Newbery are equally prestigious today?
FOR LITTLE HOUSE FANS
A couple weeks back, I blogged about some comments that Rebecca Webb posted regarding real-life locations from Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books. Her original remarks appeared on a children's book listserve way back in 1999.
I was delighted to get a note from Rebecca Webb the other day, stating that she's still alive and well and "had another nifty Laura adventure recently." You can read about it right here.
HARPERCOLLINS LIBRARY EDITIONS
Does anyone remember the old days of Harper books?
They were published in two editions -- a trade edition with a cloth cover and a "Harpercrest" library edition that had a shiny paper cover, often imprinted with the cover illustration on the binding. The library edition also had an ugly gold band around the spine, identifying the book as a HARPERCREST LIBRARY EDITION. The library editions were supposed to be sturdier, so they'd hold up better over many readings...but book collectors like me always hated those shiny covers and obtrusive gold stickers on the spine.
I'm not sure if the Harpercrest stickers are still used on the spine...or if the binding is much different from the trade editions. But I do know that library editions are still published. The other day I tried to purchase Terry Pratchett's new YA novel, I SHALL WEAR MIDNIGHT, but when the bookstore owner started to ring it up, she noted that the price ($17.89 instead of $17.99) indicated that this was the library edition. I looked at the binding, which was cloth and even had the title embossed on the front cover; the spine of the dj did not have the gold seal either. Yet the dustjacket said this was the library edition. Has anyone else run across this problem with the Pratchett book or any other recent Harper title?
I recently blogged the following:
or Tom Angleberger (AKA Sam T. Riddleburger) of the Berger and Burger blog recently sent me a challenge. He asked: "Which current day kidlit author (not illustrator) was an animator on Nimh? Hint: his main character is rather loud."
I didn't know the answer, so asked for another hint.
Tom wrote back to add: "He wrote a bunch of funny poem books and more recently a series if graphic novels for kids. Also worked on Mulan, All Dogs Go to Heaven and Rockadoodle!"
Gregory K. responded with the correct answer:
For your trivia question, I'm going with David J. (D.J.) Steinberg, whose "loud" character is Daniel Boom.
Thanks for the answer, Gregory K!
FROM ENGROSSING TO GROSS
We've all had the experience of getting so engrossed in a book that the real world just fades away....
The other day I had some heavy reading to do, so stopped at 7-Eleven on the way home from work and got a Diet Coke with lots of ice from the pop machine. Then I started reading WICKED GIRLS, a novel-in-verse about the Salem witch trials by Stephanie Hemphill. As I read, I nursed my Diet Coke along, occasionally chomping on the ice (yes, I know that chewing ice is terrible for your teeth; yes, I know that diet soda is terrible for you in general) as I grew increasingly engrossed in the story.
When I finally set the book down, I looked into my paper cup and noticed one particularly large piece of ice that, unlike the rest, had not melted at all.
I fished it out and examined it:
It was the plastic spout from the pop machine.
Have you ever been so engrossed in a book that you've not noticed a hunk of plastic paraphernalia in your Big Gulp? Have you ever let dinner burn or the bathtub overflow because you've been so involved in a novel?
Do you have any stories to share about being too engrossed in a book?
Share them here!
Thanks for visiting Collecting Children's Books. Hope you'll be back!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
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Speaking of nines, I'm a fan of both the title and the content of Nine Kinds of Pie!
I skipped over picture books because our public library had a six-book checkout limit and I wanted my books to last all week. I definitely missed out. Now I love seeing kids and parents in line at the library with a BIG stack of picture books. Even if they are in front of me.
the best info i can find on the picture is here:
"This alias refers to the image of a sled, drawn by three horses (hence, a "troika"), being pursued by wolves. The passengers of the troika elect that one of their number be thrown to the wolves, in hopes that the rest might escape."
it even includes this tantalizing comment:
"Anyway, it wouldn't be such a cool painting if they did it right."
but alas none of the images there seem to depict the incident described
if you do a google images search for 'wolves troika' there is an amazing number of results, but again none of them seem to be the one described
I love the Newbery lists. You and I are just about of an age, so reading them was like a return to my mid-teen years. So many friends, so many memories. Thanks.
Adolf Schreyer (German, 1828-1899)
A Troika Pursued by Wolves
Seems like a good bet.
I don't see a baby in that one hschinske
Peter, a million thanks to you. I had no idea until you posted these lists that my first two novels were considered for the Newbery. What a lovely piece of my own publishing history you've just given me.
Congrats, Elizabeth! And I was also delighted to see C. L. Rinaldo's first and only novel on the list. I was its editor at Harper & Row --it was an unsolicited ms.
The wolves-and-troika thing forms a whole chapter of My Antonia also (as a story, not a picture.) Perhaps it was a late nineteenth century thing.
The list brought back a lot of memories for me as well. I can't understand how I went from SOMEBODY GO AND BANG A DRUM to A PROUD TASTE FOR SCARLET AND MINIVER in the space of a few years, but I loved them both. I still think MINIVER is one of the unlikeliest historical novels ever written.
I'm sure this has been brought up, but I am struck by how little fantasy there is on those lists (Susan Cooper and LeGuin being obvious exceptions.) One of the reasons I secretly enjoy YA fantasy today is because there was so little of it around when I was growing up.
Wasn't 1977 the first year that the Newbery and Caldecott committee were separated? That is, prior to 1977 one big supercommittee of, like, 23 members picked both the Newbery and Caldecott?
On the question of library editions - boy, do those old ones hold up! I don't think they make them like they used to, because our newer library eds don't seem quite as sturdy. We order them when they're available (public library) and I haven't noticed the gold on any newer titles (although we have a lot of older books that do have that gold sticker that sort of wraps around the spine onto the front).
Unfortunately, a lot of new library eds come without a dustjacket, and with no plot summary on the back, which drives me bonkers (and makes it hard for kids to browse).
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