We all chose about 3 title that we liked and met at my library this afternoon for a hearty discussion about each. Here is the list of the contenders (my picks are in bold):
- Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown (which is my favorite for the Caldecott!)
- Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli
- The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
- Doll Bones by Holly Black
- The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson
- Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell
- Bo at Ballad Creek by Kirkpartick Hill
- Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
- Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
- A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
- Jinx by Sage Blackwood
- Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
- One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
- The Center of Everything by Linda Urban
- Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco
- Rump by Liesl Shurtliff
- Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington
- The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt
- Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Christ Grabenstein
After we discussed each title we took a short cookie and lemonade break to mull over our thoughts/notes and then voted.
Our winner was (drum roll):
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
I was happy with this pick. I think that it's a great story about a boy going through the usual 2nd grade problems. Henkes' writing style has a lot of appeal for kids. At first, I thought this might a be a little long for a 2nd grader to want to read, but someone pointed out to me that I should think about it as a read aloud and I liked it a lot better. I do still slightly wish though that the book was either slightly shorter (it clocks in at 240 pages) or that Billy was written slightly older. Still, it's a wonderful story reminiscent of Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
Our Honor Books were:
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt
I think that this one has great cover appeal for those middle grade readers. I also think that it's one of those rare books that will appeal to kids and adults alike. The interwoven stories between precocious raccoons, a determined boy, destructive hogs, and a very sleepy Sasquatch add enough complexity for older readers and the language, humor, and tone cater to younger ones. There's a touch of Appelt's award-winner The Underneath that makes the story feel familiar, but it definitely holds its own as well.
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
I was also happy with this pick. While I'm not completely sure about how much this one will appeal to kids, I think the writing style and subject matter alone make it a distinguished work of literature. Willow Chance feels like a real girl going through real life, because of and despite her mental and life challenges. I've seen this title get a lot of buzz on other Mock Newbery lists.
Do you have a Mock Newbery list? What's on yours?