Monday, February 2, 2015

2015 Newbery Winners

It's one of my favorite days of the year! The Newbery winners for 2015 are out, and the winner sounds really, really good. Actually, they all sound fantastic. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: middle school literature is some of the best written literature out there. I prefer it to young adult literature any day of the week. I'm on my way to Barnes & Noble to pick up copies of each for the library.

2015 Winner: The Crossover

"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander (He Said, She Said 2013).

   Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.

2015 Honor Book: El Deafo

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid.
The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn’t—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.

2015 Honor Book: Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. 

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.



  1. I'm the Education Coordinator in a residential treatment facility for kids and teens who have histories of trauma, and I've been spending grant money on new books for our library. I love your book updates and recommendations - they have been so helpful as I determine my purchases. As for YA, I'm discovering that a lot of the books contain material that seems like it would re-traumatize my students. I am all for books that mirror real life situations, but I also want the book to be redemptive in the end, and without too much gratuitious subject matter. It doesn't seem like that's asking for much, but apparently so. I'm finding that the books geared toward a younger audience are more intriguing stories. Thank you for reviewing them!

  2. Thank you so much, Julie! That means a lot to me. :)


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