Newbery Contenders

Having finished three of the most talked about Newbery Medal Contenders of the year, my vote for the Newbery Gold Medal would go to Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk.

Wolf Hollow is another historical fiction/mystery that I couldn’t put down. With three unforgettable characters, Annabelle, Toby and Betty and a plot that will keep you flipping the pages to find out what happens next, this is a must read. Annabelle tells lies to protect Toby, a World War I veteran, when Betty, the bully extraordinaire not only targets Annabelle, but accuses Toby of horrible acts.  When Betty disappears, the tension in this story climaxes and makes this read impossible to put down.  It is one of those books that is sure to become a classic and will be perfect for a fourth or fifth grade classroom read aloud.  If you loved One Came Home by Amy Timberlake as much as I did, then you must read this book!

Pax by Sara Pennypacker is a heart-warming animal story that is also a Sakura Medal Nominee this year. The writing in this book is absolutely beautiful.  It reminded me of the classics Owls in the Family, Rascal, Sounder and Where the Red Fern Grows.  This book alternates between the voice of  Peter and Pax, Peter’s pet fox. Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens…Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes Peter return Pax to the wild.  Peter runs away and sets out on an unforgettable journey to find Pax. Meanwhile, Pax sets out on a journey of his own.  Will the two reunite in the middle of a war zone?  So far, the students who have read this book, tell me they love it!

Raymie Nightingale was recently voted a National Book Award Finalist, but will Kate DiCamillo win her fourth Newbery?   Raymie Nightingale reminded me of Kevin Henke’s, Olive’s Ocean, which won a Newbery Honor in 2004. There are three main characters, Raymie, the girl who wants to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition in hopes her father will come back home, and her competitors, Louisiana Elefante and Beverly Tapinski. As the competition approaches, the three girls strike up an unlikely friendship that leads to unanswerable questions, loss and loneliness. The ending is worth the read! This book will definitely be a winner with fans of realistic fiction tear jerkers and DiCamillo’s award-winning book Because of Winn-Dixie.

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