On January 27, 2014 the ALA announced the 2014 John Newbery Medal and Honor Books. Sadly, our nomination was not named. Joyfully, we can say that we have no major complaints about the books that did receive a nod.
2014 Newbery Medal
Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (Candlewick) by Kate DiCamillo.
Ms. DiCamillo is no stranger to the Newbery. In fact, she seems to be becoming a standard. Her first book, Because of Winn-Dixie, was a 2001 Newbery Honor book and was a very typical selection by the ALA. In 2004 she was again recognized for The Tale of Despereaux with the Newbery; this book was a not so typical selection by the ALA as it was more fanciful, but it is truly a fabulous book.
Flora & Ulysses doesn’t look like the run-of-the-mill Newbery. (This isn’t an inherently bad thing, but rather a little surprising.) First, the novel is whimsical and not historical fiction. Second, it incorporates comic book-like illustrations throughout. Third, it uses a variety of fonts in a creative manner. The tongue-in-cheek humor and hefty vocabulary may be above some younger reader heads, but the precocious reader will enjoy and appreciate.
2014 Newbery Honor Books
Doll Bones by Holly Black (S&S/McElderry)
Another somewhat fanciful pick by the ALA was Doll Bones. This book sometimes feels a little gothic and has plenty of atmosphere. Holly Black is one of the authors of the popular Spiderwick Series.
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow)
Kevin Henkes, a veteran writer and illustrator, has received many awards including a Caldecott for his picture book Owen and Newbery recognition for Olive’s Ocean. Nothing is surpising in this selection by the ALA. This book is a particularly good fit for readers at the younger end of the reading spectrum, as it follows a second grader, Billy Miller.
One Came Home by Amy Timberlake (Knopf)
Ms. Timberlake is a relative newcomer with One Came Home being her third book. This is a historical (yes, ALA loves those!) mystery.
Paperboy by Vince Vawter (Delacorte)
This is a book that looks like a typical ALA selection: historical fiction with plentiful themes. What is great about this selection is that it is the debut novel of Vince Vawter and draws upon his personal experience. It is a great guy read and an important look at the challenge of stuttering.
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