Tag Archives: Mock Newbery

2017 Mock Newbery – RESULTS!

We did it. Almost 30 students and 3 teachers took part in our Mock Newbery book club. This morning’s penultimate meeting: VOTING and the announcement of the WINNING and HONOR titles!

We had 11 titles on our ballot: the ten from our original list, and one mid-year addition.

Similar to the real Newbery Committee, students had three votes: a first place, second place, and third place. Ballots were handed out. Points were assigned. Numbers added and compared. And now: our 2017 Mock Newbery winner and four 2017 Mock Newbery honor titles.

#mtigerslibrary 2017 Mock Newbery Honor Titles

  • When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano
  • Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
  • Pax by Sara Pennypacker
  • Maxi’s Secrets by Lynne Plourde

#mtigerslibrary 2017 Mock Newbery Winner

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

We are eagerly anticipating next week’s Youth Media Awards. As we’re on the West Coast, I’m begging students to not look at the results before arriving for our final gathering – when we watch the tape-delayed 2017 Newbery announcement as a group. I cannot wait to see their reactions!

Mock Newbery Book Club: a how-to

This is my year of TRY. As often as possible, I’m trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone.  In that vein I endeavored to start a Mock Newbery Book Club (M.N.B.C.) for my 4th and 5th graders.

Why? Because new books are exciting. Because anyone in grades 4 and 5 can participate. Because reading to answer rote questions is boring but reading and thinking and reading and conversing and reading is FUN. Because creating and defending opinions while conversing is a powerful tool.  Because I love talking new books with students…and they like reading and talking about new books, too. BECAUSE IT WAS TIME TO TRY SOMETHING NEW.

How it is working, in a timeline-style of way:

Research Mock Newbery and think of your school. (Aug/early Sep)

Our nominees:

Create a spreadsheet of titles/authors/prices. (mid-Sep)

  • Make it easy for people to say YES. Have a detailed budget. Plan for the cost at many levels (1 copy vs 4 copies). Here’s our Excel spreadsheet: mock-newbery-budget
  • Start thinking of how to pay for the books. DonorsChoose and PTA grants are two ways to get funding.
  • Start thinking of what you’ll do with the books after voting. Donate them to teachers? Giveaways for student readers? Something else?

Start building interest! (mid-Sep)

  • Write a Mock Newbery interest letter. Here’s mine: mock-newbery-interest-letter-generic
  • Send an overview email to teachers. Invite them to participate! Include your principal, too! (mid Sep)
  • Advertise upcoming interest meeting to students during library class. (mid Sep)
    • In my building, I hold interest meetings in order to informally assess the dedication students have to a club. They can only receive the sign-up form by attending the interest meeting.

Hold interest meeting. (mid-late Sep)

  • I hold mine during recess. Spending 15 minutes to hear about a book club has not been an issue in my school.  This year, over 60% of attendees ended up joining the club. The #1 reason for who didn’t join: the early 7:15am start time…but that wasn’t to be helped due to teaching/scheduling issues.

Buy the books and consider circulation. (late Sep)

  • By waiting to see how many students show up (and return) the interest letter, I can estimate how many copies we’ll need. This year, with 30 students and 4 teachers, I bought 4 copies of 10 books. Everyone is reading something at any given point in time.
  • How will the books circulate? I honestly didn’t know what to do here, so I gave this task to my students at our first meeting. They came up with a sign-out sheet idea and found a good space to store the M.N.B.C. titles in our library…all without using the computer. I wanted the books to be without barcodes (to facilitate donating / gifting) and the system to be very easy; hence, old-fashioned paper and pencil.

Now, it’s time for the meetings…and what is causing me some panic. Here’s what we’re doing each week. Note: in a perfect world, the start date would’ve been Oct 5…

  • Week 1: Oct 19, 2016
    • Overview of Newbery Medal from http://www.ala.org. I asked students what they knew about the medal and filled in from there.
    • Show M.N.B.C. titles. Booktalked Raymie Nightingale and Pax. Showed the book trailer for Some Kind of Courage. Thanks to Mrs. Hembree for the great trailer!
    • Come up with way to circulate/store M.N.B.C. books.
    • Hand out books to student readers!

  • Week 2: Oct 26, 2016
    • Review circulation of M.N.B.C. titles.
    • Review Newbery criteria from ALA.
    • Break out into small groups. Start discussing titles and noting opinions via informal rating form. mock-newbery-rating-sheet-generic Maybe one day, this’ll be organized on OneNote.
    • Hand out M.N.B.C. bookmarks!
  • Week 3: Nov 2, 2016
    • First book discussion and rating. Break apart into 3 groups. Talk/listen about each title. Compare reading to ALA’s standards.

Our principal even got in on the reading and discussing!

  • Week 4: Nov 9, 2016
    • More small-group book discussion. Prepare for next week’s Skype visit by brainstorming questions.
  • Week 5: Nov 16, 2016
    • Skype author visit! This year: Dan Gemeinhart talked about Some Kind of Courage.
      • Notice the stacked chairs? We did this during Book Fair week! And I’m holding my phone – my laptop wouldn’t connect to Skype, so my iPhone (and a Smartboard adapter) to the rescue!
  • Week 6: Nov 23, 2016
    • Book discussion
    • Thankful For Books – notes to Mock Newbery authors for Thanksgiving
  • Week 7: Nov 30, 2016
    • Online research: what does the Internet have to show for 2017 Newbery contenders?
    • Choose 1 additional title to add to Mock Newbery List (for us: The Girl Who Drank the Moon)
  • Week 8: Dec 7, 2016
    • Host guest from local library – Cecilia McGowan, 2018 Newbery Chair
  • Week 9: Dec 14, 2016
    • More book discussion!
  • Week 10: Jan 4, 2017
    • Book discussion
  • Week 11: Jan 11, 2017
    • Last week of discussion – write 1 sentence to persuade someone to read the book you like best
  • Week 12: Jan 18, 2017
    • VOTING WEEK!
  • Week 13: Jan 25, 2016
    • Final recap. Watch tape-delayed announcement. Be prepared to talk about winner that we didn’t choose 🙂

Mock Award Season: 2016 Mock Newbery

Ever since working at the children’s department in South Carolina, I selected titles that I hoped would be honored by the various committees…but never shared them outside of conversations with other kidlit fiends & friends.  This year, I’m sharing my choices with all of you. And similar to the official (secret) voting in the ALA committees, I’ll select three titles for each award: a 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice for the award.

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The Newbery. The granddaddy of ALA Awards, given “to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”. Even as a child, the gold sticker on the cover of a book was a visual promise of an excellent story. From the fantastical Terabithia to the letters to Mr. Henshaw, I read and re-read Newbery titles with fervor. These are the three from 2015 that I think deserve similar adoration.

My 2016 Mock Newbery Awards:

First Choice: Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

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Echo has been my Newbery front-runner since early summer. Prompted by editor Tracy Mack to move the 592-page behemoth to the top of my to-read pile, it’s a choice that I didn’t regret. Ryan lyrically weaves together three stories – one of a young boy in pre-WWII Germany, one of a poor orphan in Depression-era Philadelphia, one of a migrant girl in 40’s California – with a seemingly common harmonica. It’s the final story, the utter brillance of the novel, that deftly, amazingly, ties the three stories together in unimaginable ways.

Second Choice: Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

goodbye-stranger-stead

The initial stiltedness of the novel – three stories (and points of view) colliding – aside, this is a story of friendship, loyalty, and growth is one for the ages. Focused on the life of Bridget, a seventh-grader attending school for the first time, Stead effortlessly infuses boys, body awareness. family rifts, and social faux-pas. And while it may feel as though there is one too many bits to the story, fear not: all storylines intersect in a skillful, satisfying ending.

Third Choice: The War the Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

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Long has Dahl’s Matilda had the worst mother in children’s literature. No longer. Meet Ava: a prisoner in her home due to an club foot, her abusive mother keeps her under lock and key…literally. Often beaten and locked under the sink, Ava is cowed. But when her brother and other children are to be evacuated from London to the countryside in pre-WWII, she demonstrates an iron will, learning to walk so that she won’t be left behind and escaping her berating mother. She and Jamie are ultimately taken in by solitary Susan, who has no inkling toward raising children. That’s fine with Ava, who is jumpy toward any perceived touch from Susan and prefers to spend time with her horses. The tender growth of relationships and steps toward healing make for a wholly satisfying novel.

Mock Award Season: my 2016 Mock Caldeccott

Mock Award Season: my 2016 Mock Geisel

Mock Award Season: my 2016 Mock Printz