Every Friday I interview a reader about the Newbery Medal. I ask them a series of questions around their thoughts of this amazing award.
I am very excited to interview Adam Shaffer on the Newbery Medal today.
Click on the image below to check out Adam’s site.
My questions are in red, Adam’s Responses are in black.
What is your favorite Newbery Medal winning book?
Bud, Not Buddy
What do you love about Bud, Not Buddy?
There isn’t a book by Christopher Paul Curtis that I don’t love. I think what I really like about Bud, Not Buddy is that it is very accessible for middle grade students (who doesn’t enjoy those “Rules and Things”?), but also has plenty of history. I’ve also seen Christopher Paul Curtis talk a couple of times, and hearing about authors’ writing processes always increases my appreciation for the story. Plus, it’s a great read aloud.
What is your earliest memory of the Newbery Medal?
I don’t really know when I first heard of the Newbery Medal. I know I read some Newbery winners in elementary school (Dear Mr. Henshaw; Mrs. Frisby), but I have no recollection of teachers or librarians referring to the award. I don’t think it was something I really thought much about until college, when my English-elementary education professor, Nancy Johnson, assigned us a Newbery project. I had Dicey’s Song. Even now, I don’t think about it much.
The Newbery Medal is …not the last word on quality children’s literature. It’s not even the first word. It’s just A word. Winning the Newbery Medal does not guarantee student (or teacher) enjoyment. It is important to the history of children’s literature, but it is not something I consider at all when selecting books for myself or my students (unless they’ve told me that they like “award winners”). And, while it’s nice for authors to receive recognition for their achievements, it doesn’t bother me when my favorite books don’t win. For me, the true measure of a book’s quality is how many of my students are loving it, and I’ll always recommend my favorites, regardless the shiny sticker on the front.
A bio from Adam: I teach 5th grade in Everson, Washington. I run a Guys Read Book Club for 4th and 5th grade boys. This is my 11th year teaching, but my first full year under the powerful, positive, encouraging influence of the #nerdybookclub, which has transformed my teaching and my life.