Choosing a Newbery for Your Summer Reading

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Let a summer read take you to a new place—a new place in history or a new place of knowledge or a new place in your imagination !

One way to do this is to choose books that have been chosen before . . . by “experts.” Newbery Award winners are proven to be high quality and stimulating reads. The American Library Association has chosen these books over all others published in the same year, as the very best for children. You can trust that the author will take you on a special journey.

Don’t know where to start? Give one of these a try:

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A Wrinkle in Time (Madelyn L’Engle, 1963) The beginning of science fiction for many kids, A Wrinkle in Time is an incredible story of family love in the backdrop of multiple dimensions. Every world proves to have its unique challenges, but Meg will find her way through them because of her family. This is a book every 12-yr-old girl should read--and it’s great for boys, as well!

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (O’Brien, 1972) My favorite read aloud is also a wonderful journey for the imagination for reading silently. Just the cover and title alone give enough info to make the reader ask lots of questions! In this very realistic story, rats have built a sustainable community under a human farm. Mrs. Frisby needs their help to move her very ill son from their home among the crops before the farmer comes in with the tractor and tills them under. Reading about her story and the evolution of the rats is very adventurous!

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Wilma Taylor, 1977) This historical fiction novel will feel particularly relevant to this summer’s events and give young readers a lot to mull over. What is “equal”? What is “fair”? What is “just”? Watching the experiences of the Logan family will stir up empathy for readers.


The Giver (Lowry, 1994) The beginning of dystopian literature, this book is an amazing look at a futuristic society where “sameness” is valued and emotional connection is more than discouraged. Readers will empathize with Jonas, as he learns about the history of emotions and has to decide what to do with his new knowledge.

Tale of Despereaux (Kate DiCamillo, 2004) In the framework of a fairy tale, readers are guided through this fantasy in four parts. The characters, both animal and human, are rich and the perspectives varied. Readers will learn to understand loneliness and differentness from this story.

There are gobs more Newbery Honor and Award winners at Once Upon a Storybook. Always look for the silver or gold sticker on the cover to be assured of the quality of a purposeful and absorbing story!

Mike ButlerComment