Great summer reads

July 14, 2008

by Jenni Sebora

Are you looking for some good summer “reads” for your children this summer?

How about some Newberry and Caldecott book award winners to entertain, educate and fascinate your children for the lazy days of summer?

The Newberry Medal was named for the eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newberry. This special honor is awarded yearly by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American Literature for children.

Drum rolls, please . . . The 2008 Medal winner:

“Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village” by Laura Amy Schlitz

The 2008 Honor Books:

• “Elijah of Buxton” by Christopher Paul Curtis

• “The Wednesday Wars” by Gary D. Schmidt

• “Feathers” by Jacqueline Woodson

Here are some other great books that were awarded the Newberry Medal:

2007: “The Higher Power of Lucky” by Susan Patron

2006: “Criss Cross” by Lynne Rae Perkins

2005: “Kira-Kira” by Cynthia Kadota

2004: “The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread” by Kate DiCamillo

2003: “Crispin: The Cross of Lead” by Avi

2002: “A Single Shard” by Linda Sue Park

2001: “A Year Down Yonder” by Richard Peck

2000: “Bud, Not Buddy” by Christopher Paul Curtis

I will list the 1990–99 award winners in next week’s article.

I recently read “Ruby Holler” by Sharon Creech, who was a winner of the Newberry Medal for “Walk Two Moons.”

It was a wonderful book about “trouble twins,” Dallas and Florida who are orphans who give up believing that there are such things as loving homes until they meet a very eccentric older couple who live in Ruby Holler. The couple and orphans unite and change each other’s lives forever (Harper Trophy).

“Ruby Holler” also was the winner of the Carnegie Award for Children’s Literature.

There is another medal that is awarded annually for children’s books. The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott.

The medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Drum rolls please . . . The 2008 Medal winner:

“The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick.

Other 2008 Honor Books:

• “Henry’s Freedom Box: a true story from the Underground Railroad” by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

• “First the Egg” written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

• “The Wall: Growing up Behind the Iron Curtain” written and illustrated by Peter Sis

• “Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity” written and illustrated by Mo Willems

My four-year-old daughter and I were recently entertained at the beautiful Dassel-Cokato Performing Arts Center at the school.

The Children’s Theatre Company performed “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” at Dassel-Cokato as one of its touring locations.

The play was based on the book by Laura Joffe Numeroff, adapted for the stage by Jody Davidson and directed by Peter C. Brosius. The play consisted of two cast members, the Boy and the Mouse.

It was absolutely entertaining, humorous, and wonderful for both young and old alike.

I enjoyed it as much as my daughter and as much as the two female senior citizens we were sitting next to, who laughed throughout the play and made the experience even more enjoyable for me. (It is always fun to listen to other people laughing and truly enjoying the entertainment.)

The setting of the play, Dassel-Cokato Performing Arts Center, is gorgeous and provides no bad seating in the house. I recommend for anyone to attend a performance at this fine theater.

Seeing a theatrical performance this summer, or participating in a reading program at a local library or just enjoying some engaging books with your children (or all of the above) are all very worthwhile ways to stimulate your children’s minds (not to mention ours, too) during the summertime.

Enjoy this time to connect with your children.