Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thursday Three: Newbery Honor Favorites

I didn't realize until I picked my three Newbery Honor books that all of them follow a strong female character.  I suppose these selections may not be for everybody, boys especially.  They are still fun books, but boys don't always want to read about girls, so sorry for all you with a house full of boys.
2428581.  The Great Gilly Hopkins (1979)
This book (by two-time Newbery winner Katherine Paterson--Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved) also won the National Book Award.  I read it for the first time as an adult and I just loved it.  Gilly is such a fun, spunky character.  Trying to survive the foster system, she puts on a tough front.  Her antics and feisty personality had me laughing out loud.  All she wants is to be with her mother, Courtney (great name, but horrible person).  She ends up placed in the house of an old widow, with a younger foster brother.  They live next door to an old blind man.  Gilly fights every step of the way, but she may just end up finding the family she has always wanted.  The transformation she makes throughout the book is fun to watch.
3101464091842.  The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1991)
This was the only Honor awarded in 1991.  It follows the adventures and troubles of a young, upper crust girl, on a voyage from England to America.  Her character evolves from looking down on the crew to actually joining them.  The book is a high seas adventure with mutiny, murder and mayhem.  I love pirate/sailor adventures set in the 1800s.  They are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me.  So, of course I loved this book.  I heard Avi read a climatic scene at a Children's Literature Conference I attended years ago.  It made me fall in love with the book all over again.  Some people dislike the book because they think her character transformation and her actions are too unrealistic, especially because of the time period it takes place in.  I say, "Posh."  I think it is a fun book that is worth reading. 
3. Our Only May Amelia (2000)
This book connects with my inner tomboy.  May Amelia is the only girl in her pioneer settlement (in Washington state around the turn of the century).  She has seven brothers and can't help but give in to her own adventurous spirit and yearn to join them in all they do.  Her parents want her to be a proper young lady, cooking, cleaning, and worst of all wearing dresses.  I just love the way this book is written.  The characters draw you right in.  The very unique May Amelia is the narrator.  She is so full of life.  You can't help but be dragged in to all her adventures right along side her.  I highly recommend this book, even if you are not generally an historical fiction fan.

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