I have all kinds of self-imposed rules when it comes to my novel reading. During a given year I try to read as many novels from that year as humanly possible. Any time I see a new mock Newbery list, I quickly check to see how many of those books I have read, and I add the ones I haven’t read to my to-read list. The only novels that I read that are not published in the current year, I read because of the Newbery Challenge. I am lucky enough to every once and a while receive advanced copies of books. I currently have 5 books that will be published in 2015 that I am dying to read. To be fair to all those 2014 books out there, I decided not read any 2015 books until it snows. In the end what it comes down to is my intense fear of missing out on reading the Newbery winner and all the honors. I really want to have read the Newbery Medal winning book and all of it’s honor friends before they are announced in January.
My plan seems to have been working. Last year I read over 1,000 books, including the 2014 Newbery Medal winning book and each one of the honors. This year I was plugging along, reading as many 2014 books as I could. I’m pretty sure that I’ve already read the 2015 Newbery Medal book, and I’ve been working hard to make sure that I read all the honors. Everything was hunky dory, until I found myself without a book. I have lots of books to read at home, but none of them meet my criteria. I have a few holds at the library, but I can’t check those out until I find the overdue picture books hiding in my children’s bedrooms. Enter a 2012 novel with a cool cover.
I had never seen Prairie Evers. It came in the mail in a package of books I received from a friend. After doing a little bit of research I learned that the author was from Michigan (w00t!). Then came some shocking news: Prairie Evers was published in 2012. What? I read 1,100+ books in 2012 and I had never even seen this one. This could only mean one thing: the books probably isn’t very good. I went to Goodreads to see if anyone of my friends had heard of it. Turns out that 41 of my Goodreads friends have either read it or have it on their to-read shelf. The ones that had read it absolutely loved it. Most gave it 4 or 5 stars. Verdict: I missed this one.
I had a decision to make. Do I take time out of my reading plan to invest in a 2012 book? Do I risk missing reading a 2015 Newbery honor to dedicate time to a book published 2 whole years ago. The fact that I didn’t have much of a choice, overdue and missing library books, helped me decide to give Prairie Evers a read. WOW! I absolutely loved it! Prairie Evers is an AMAZING books. I loved Prairie’s spunk, and watching her raise chickens, make a friend, and attend school for the first time made Prairie Evers one of my favorite reads of 2014.
The reading rules that I have for myself are a little dumb. At times I need to check myself and remember whey I try to read 1,000 books a year. It isn’t so that I don’t feel left behind. It isn’t so that I can read all the award winning books before they win. The reason we read is because we love it, and because we want to be able to put great books in the hands of young readers. Thank you, Prairie Evers for reminding me of that.