When I was in elementary school, I received a boxed set of Newbery Award-Winning books that I read over and over. I've been thinking about those books recently and was surprised to learn that at least two of those books in the set were older than I thought. Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski won in 1946 and Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer in 1937. I read them long after they were first published (I'm younger than I look!), but they didn't strike me as particularly old-fashioned. I also was surprised at some of the runner-up titles that didn't quite make the cut: On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1938), Charlotte's Web by E. B. White (1953), and Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel (1973). It made me wonder how the most recent crop of books stacked up. Will they have staying power? What kinds of themes, settings, and characters populate the newer titles?
My 2016 Project
Each week I'll post about one book from the last 50 years of the Newbery Award and make a mixed media project inspired by it. Each week I'll start with the same small (about 2 x 3 inches) rectangular aluminum base. Why did I choose to do that? I know that I work best if I have a few creative limits, plus the small size is very manageable for a weekly project. One of my goals for 2016 is to step outside my artistic comfort zone this year and experiment with all sorts of mixed media materials and techniques. I will still blog on other days about other topics, but this project will be my focus for the year.
What Is The Newbery Award?
Since 1922 the Newbery Award is given annually by the American Library Association to "the most distinguished American children's book published the previous year." It includes all types of books (poetry, historical fiction, science fiction, suspense, nonfiction) with suggested ages for readers ranging from 8 to 14. The award, which was the first children's book award in the world, was named after Joan Newbery, an 18th century English bookseller. In addition to the medal-winning title, one or more runner-up books may be recognized as an "honor book." You can see the full list of Newbery Award Winners, plus the selection criteria, committee members, and award history on the American Library Association website.
You Are Invited
If you want to join me any week, it's easy! No need to commit to the entire year; share your ideas or work whenever you can.
- If You're a Reader ...
I'd love to hear your comments each week about the book. Did you love it? Hate it? Did you have a favorite line or character? Would you recommend this book? Why or why not?
- If You're an Artist ...
Create something inspired by that week's book. (Make a necklace, a note card, a scarf, a drawing ... anything goes!) You'll need to post a photo of your project online somewhere (your blog, Instagram, Flickr, etc.) where we can all see it. Each Tuesday you'll be able to share your link.
Blog Post Schedule
If you want to read short summaries of nearly all of these books, check out The Newbery Project, a group devoted to reading all these award-winning books. I'm also sharing my work and related links on my Pinterest page.
Project Introduction [January 5] - YOU ARE HERE
2015 - The Crossover by Kwame Alexander [January 12]
2014 - Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo [January 19]
2013 - The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate [January 26]
2012 - Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos [February 2]
2011 - Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool [February 9]
2010 - When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead [February 16]
2009 - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman [February 23]
2008 - Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz [March 1]
2007 - The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron [March 8]
2006 - Criss Cross by Lynee Rae Perkins [March 15]
2005 - Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata [March 22]
2004 - The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo [March 29]
2003 - Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi [April 5]
2002 - A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park [April 12]
2001 - A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck [April 19]
2000 - Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis [April 26]
1999 - Holes by Louis Sachar [May 3]
1998 - Out of Dust by Karen Hesse [May 10]
1997 - The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg [May 17]
1996 - The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman [May 24]
1995 - Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech [May 31]
1994 - The Giver by Lois Lowry [June 7]
1993 - Missing May by Cynthia Rylant [June 14]
1992 - Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor [June 21]
1991 - Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli [June 28]
1990 - Number the Stars by Lois Lowry [July 5]
1989 - Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman [July 12]
1988 - Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman [July 19]
1987 - The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman [July 26]
1986 - Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan [August 2]
1985 - The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley [August 9]
1984 - Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary [August 16]
1983 - Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt [August 23]
1982 - A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard [August 30]
1981 - Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson [September 6]
1980 - A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-1832 by Joan W. Blos [September 13]
1979 - The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin [September 20]
1978 - Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson [September 27]
1977 - Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor [October 4]
1976 - The Grey King by Susan Cooper [October 11]
1975 - M.C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton [October 18]
1974 - The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox [October 25]
1973 - Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George [November 1]
1972 - Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien [November 8]
1971 - Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars [November 15]
1970 - Sounder by William H. Armstrong [November 22]
1969 - The High King by Lloyd Alexander [November 29]
1968 - From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg [December 6]
1967 - Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt [December 13]
1966 - I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino [December 20]
Project Conclusion [December 27]
Let's Get Started
I'm so looking forward to this project! I've been feeling the need for a large project to give my year some structure and this one feels like a good fit. Of course, there's no guarantee that I'll love every book or project, but I'm still excited about all the possibilities: well-written books and new-to-me materials and techniques. It's both exciting and scary to not know what will happen each week. The one thing I can absolutely promise is that this won't be one of these "look at how perfect I am" blog projects; you'll definitely see the good, the bad, and the ugly as I haven't scheduled time for do-overs. See you soon!