Newbery challenge update: A Gathering of Days

Joan Blos’s A Gathering of Days:  a New England Girl’s Journal  sits on our shelves year after year without being touched, but I’ve always been curious about it. (Maybe it’s because I’m a New Englander!)  Because of this challenge I FINALLY read it.

The verdict?  I enjoyed it, but wasn’t blown away.  I do like books with an old-fashioned feel, and this certainly had that.  The language was authentic for the time period and the portrayal of daily life, with all of its ups and downs, was well done.

This being a K-3 school, I can see why I haven’t had too many takers over the years;  the vocabulary and writing style is challenging.  I have an older edition, too, with a cover that isn’t terribly attractive.  Would I recommend it?  To the right girl (yes, I think it’s a girl’s book) at the right time–yes.  To most of my students now?  Probably not.

Newbery Time

There’s been a lot of “best of” lists floating around the blogosphere in recent weeks as we approach ALA’s Midwinter Conference and the annual awards on January 23.  A recent post from SLJ Mover and Shaker Jon Schumacher has me thinking that it’s time for me to re-invest some reading time in past Newbery winners.

Mr. Schu has issued a no-stress challenge.  Read :

a. in chronological order from the award’s inception to the present

b. by decade (one from each;  two? You decide)

c. the winner and one “honor” for the time frame you choose

d. only the ones you’ve never read

e. whatever no-stress way you’d like.

Sounds terrific!  Even though I’m firmly entrenched in a pre-K to grade 3 school and I put more energy into the Caldecott winners, I know there are a lot of great Newbery books to be read and recommended to students, so I’m in!

What are some of your favorite Newbery books?  What title is your choice for this year’s medal?