Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nice Newbery!

The Newbery winner this year was Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. Now the Newbery is awarded "to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." (ALSC website) I love that it says, "most distinguished" because it sounds so fancy. However, I guess winning the best book for children is a pretty fancy and distinguished award to receive.
I don't always love the Newbery award winners, I didn't love last years, but I do love the Newbery award winners much more often than the Printz (YA equivalent) award winners. All in all, this year's winner is a fabulous read! I actually want to buy this book because I truly felt it was so well written and a fabulous story line.
Moon over Manifest is set in Manifest, Kansas (a made up town based on the town Frontenac) during WWI and 1936. The story flips back and forth between the two time periods through stories and letters that Abilene Tucker reads and hears. Abilene and the characters learned through the stories and letters become well loved, and seem to have really good depth and development. Not only will you feel for the characters, but you will be sucked into the story. Abilene gets sent to Manifest for the summer by her father Gideon. Abilene has heard a lot of stories about Manifest from her father, however, she learns more about herself and her father through the stories Miss. Sadie, the diviner, tells her.
The very first page of the story overwhelms me because there is a list of characters like in a play script. I felt like I needed to study these so the story would make sense. However, the first page of characters isn't even necessary. Just like with any other well written book the characters and their character traits become well known throughout the entire story.
This book would be fabulous for a class read aloud, or a book to enjoy with your family. They way Vanderpool wrote reminds me of the smoothness of Kate DiCamillo. I would say Vanderpool isn't as "pretty" of a writer like DiCamillo, but the smooth flow of the story and details felt very natural.
Well done to Clare Vanderpool for a fabulous book! If you haven't read this one I highly suggest you pick a copy up. As always, let me know what you think.

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