I believe that within the next 48 hours, I will be completing the Newbery Challenge that started last January under the inspiration of Mr. Schu (John) and Mr. Sharp (Colby).
I just finished Dead End in Norvelt and Monday morning I will discover if I need to purchase a new book or if I have already have this years' Newbery on my shelves. Hopefully it is something that I have already read. Colby is really hoping for The One and Only Ivan which is completely deserving. I have several, including Ivan, that I think are worthy, but will just enjoy the excitement of it all on Monday.
At times, this challenge has been just that -- a challenge. Some of the books in the first decades were bizarre, racist, or just plain boring. There have been many great things about the challenge too. Interacting with people on Twitter about these books made the whole experience fantastic even when the books were less than wonderful. Another fun thing has been the Newbery Challenge Videos that John and Colby have been posting each week. One special memory for me was when I watched the video about The Cat Who Went to Heaven and John even mentioned our Twitter conversation about that book. I was startled to hear my own name.
I kept track of all of the books on my Newbery Goodreads shelf and here are the Newberys that earned five stars from me. I may have to update this on Monday though depending on the announcement.
Besides the Goodreads shelf, I also created a spreadsheet of the Newberys so I could look at trends. It is interesting that the first eight Newberys went to men, but after that, the women seemed to take over. They have won 60 Newberys while only 31 men have so far. Also, if you write historical fiction, you seem to have a much better chance of winning than if you are writing anything else. Another thing I noticed was that I gave five stars to only one book each in the 50s, 60s, 70s, but four in the 80s, five in the 90s, and six (so far) in the 2000s. Children's literature has definitely shown improvement or I am completely biased toward modern books, which is also entirely possible.
The Newbery Challenge has been a fantastic time of learning and also of memories since a little more than half were re-reads for me. I revisited many books from my childhood and adolescence. Thank you John and Colby for keeping us all going over the year and leading the way!