Monday, January 23, 2017

Mock Newbery 2017

On the night before the ALA Youth Media Awards, I finally remembered that I haven't posted about our annual Mock Newbery program, which doubles as our Book Club's anniversary. It helps us take stock of how our community has grown and changed over the year. It has been a singular joy to have new people join us, especially children who bring a unique perspective to our discussions and provide a constant reminder of why we do this work. It's also wonderful to reconnect with alumni and former classmates, who have brought their children to our book club. (And now I feel old...) From generation to generation, indeed. We were also honored by the presence of my fellow 2015 committee member, Janet Thompson, who always adds so much to our discussions! For this year program, we tried to be a little less ambitious (not that we really know how to do that) and limit the amount of books we would put on our list to allow for more discussion time. We got into some amazing conversations about the importance of access to information, stories within stories, the logistics of drinking moonlight, questions we ponder, and much more! 
Our Mock Newbery is customized to provide more of a booktalk style so everyone can engage in the experience. Our group votes for the books they are most interested in reading next. The winner of our Mock Newbery becomes our first book we read in the spring semester. This tradition helps our participants maintain a sense of ownership and agency. Each year we try to provide John Newbery-style products (like that pincushion of yesteryear) that connect to our list. It's always great fun trying to come up with creative connections to the stories. Here are the products we shared this year:

Booked by Kwame Alexander 
(Soccer-themed pencils for poetry writing & chocolate soccer balls)

The Girl who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill 
(Moonlight vials with warning labels (people really shouldn't drink them), star cookies and candy)

​The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog 
by Adam Gidwitz, illuminated by Hatem Aly 
(That's onion soup with cheese, of course)

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
(Red candy inspired by the Red Stone)

 As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds
(Genie's notebook for recording all of our questions, courtesy of Dr. Roth)

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner 
(Fish candy (thanks to Carrie S.) and hot chocolate)

A Poem for Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney, 
illustrated by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson

(Snowflake lollypops, courtesy of Dr. Roth, made by Illinois Nut & Candy)

Catching a Storyfish by Janice N. Harrington 
(Origami fish)

The Winner of our 2017 Mock Newbery is.... 

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

We will read this book for our first book club in the spring (in February), as is our tradition. 

Our Honor books are: 

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog 

by Adam Gidwitz, illuminated by Hatem Aly 

As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds


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