When the 2015 Newbery books were announced, Compass Book Ratings did not have a single one in our database. We have them now, but in January 2015 we were caught a little flat-footed. However, when the 2016 Newbery books were announced, we were already ahead of the game; we already had all three 2016 Newbery Honor books in our database. Plus, we had already fallen in love with all three of them before it was fashionable to do so. The missing book in our database was actually the 2016 Newbery Winner, Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena with illustrations by Christian Robinson. Never fear, we now have that in our database also. So here is the round-up of this year’s Newbery books and what we thought of them.
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2016 Newbery Winner
This is a picture book, which is one of the reasons we didn’t already have a review for the book in our database. The Newbery is “to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” so certainly picture books are eligible, but they haven’t often won in the history of this award. The Caldecott Medal recognizes excellence in illustration so that is typically where picture books get their nod. Last Stop on Market Street tells an important story, teaches a good lesson, and highlights a positive relationship; however, it isn’t a knock-your-socks-off book. This book wouldn’t have been our first choice.
2016 Newbery Honor Books
Loved it! Adored it! Yes, we think everyone should read it. This is historical fiction, and traditionally that has been a favorite genre of the Newbery selection committee so this one isn’t a surprise. Incidentally, the audio version is equally fabulous and received an award also.
The Newbery committee gave another nod to a graphic novel this year, thus further legitimizing this medium’s value for young readers. Even if you aren’t a graphic novel fan, this one is irresistible. Popping illustrations and a narrative that reads like a novel will win over even the most skeptical. Plus, come-on–it is roller hockey! Get excited!
This book captivates with music and magic; multiple stories are cleverly woven together. This was truly one of the stand-out books we reviewed last year. Oh, just read it!