It's that time of the year - Newbery Predictions

On Monday, January 10, 2011, the American Library Association will announce all of their Youth Media Awards at their Midwinter Conference in San Diego.  Last year, the announcements were made from Boston and I woke up at 5 a.m. (on my day off) to listen to as they were reported as well as watch the Twitter feed.  I was thrilled to have read WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead prior to the announcement of it's selection as the Newbery Medal winner.  And I was shocked that I actually recognized the winner of the Caldecott Medal - Jerry Pinkey's THE LION & THE MOUSE.  However, I have to admit that I hadn't paid much attention to what might end up on the short list for the awards that year.

This year, I started paying attention to the buzz around mid-year as to what books might be considered.  As a result, I started reading several of these much discussed books.  And thanks to the Midwinter Conference being closer to home, I am hoping to be present for the Award's Press Conference.

Here are the five books that I expect to be walking away with the prestigious John Newbery Medal or one of the Newbery honor medals given "to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children".

ONE CRAZY SUMMER by Rita Williams-Garcia
This coming of age, historical novel set in 1968 in San Francisco tells the story of Delphine and her sisters as they spend the summer with their mother who abandoned them 7 years earlier.  A powerful look at a time filled with protests and social turmoil through the eyes of a young girl. ONE CRAZY SUMMER is a beautiful story which I am excited to say recently received the Scott O'Dell Award for best historical fiction. 

 OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon M. Draper
This touching story of a 10 year old with severe cerebral palsy who discovers her voice through the use of an assistive communication device is my personal favorite for an award.  I would be super thrilled if it received both a nod for a Newbery as well as a Schneider Family Award. 

COUNTDOWN by Deborah Wiles
This seems to be the year for 1960's historical fiction.  Whereas, One Crazy Summer is looking at Civil Rights in San Francisco in 1968, Countdown is set in 1962 in Washington D.C. during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Countdown is told through the eyes of a 12 year old girl living in Washington, D.C. at the time.  It also is filled with amazing photos and media images from that time period.

THE DREAMER by Pamela Munoz Ryan
Told in a poetic and lyrical manner portrays a young boy (Neftali) who overcomes shyness and a harsh life under the rule of his father to become the widely known poet, Pablo Neruda. Though a fictional portrayal of Neruda's childhood, this book is filled with the poetry of one of the world's most famous poets.

MOCKINGBIRD by Kathryn Erskine
This story of a young girl with Asperger's who after a tragic event must learn to deal with the loss of her brother and how to navigate her world has already been awarded a National Book Award for Young People.  As a result of the significant interest in this book, I expect that this will be a strong contender.    

For another peek at several of the books listed above, click here to check out Mr. Schu's, a K-5 Librarian, post on his Newbery Predictions.