Annal: 1996 Newbery Medal

Results of the Newbery Medal in the year 1996.

Book:The Midwife's Apprentice

The Midwife's Apprentice

Karen Cushman

From the author of Catherine, Called Birdy comes another spellbinding novel set in medieval England. The girl known only as Brat has no family, no home, and no future until she meets Jane the Midwife and becomes her apprentice. As she helps the sharp-tempered Jane deliver babies, Brat-who renames herself Alyce-gains knowledge, confidence, and the courage to want something from life: “A full belly, a contented heart, and a place in this world.” Medieval village life makes a lively backdrop for the funny, poignant story of how Alyce gets what she wants. A concluding note discusses midwifery past and present.

Book:The Great Fire (Jim Murphy)

The Great Fire

Jim Murphy

A vertible cinematic account of the catastrophe that decimated much of Chicago in 1871, forcing more than 100,000 people from their homes. Jim Murphy tells the story through the eyes of several survivors. These characters serve as dramatic focal points as the fire sweeps across the city, their stories illuminated by fascinating archival photos and maps outlining the spread of fire.

Book:The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963

Christopher Paul Curtis

A wonderful middle-grade novel narrated by Kenny, 9, about his middle-class black family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Kenny’s 13-year-old brother, Byron, gets to be too much trouble, they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the one person who can shape him up. And they happen to be in Birmingham when Grandma’s church is blown up.

Book:What Jamie Saw

What Jamie Saw

Carolyn Coman

When Jamie saw him throw the baby, saw Van throw the little baby, saw Van throw his little sister Nin, then they moved.

So begins one of the most compelling novels for young readers published in recent memory. It is a story of survival—how nine-year-old Jamie, his mother, and his baby sister Nin leave an abusive situation, move to a small trailer in the woods, and slowly learn how to trust the people around them—and each other.

Book:Yolonda's Genius

Yolonda's Genius

Carol Fenner

Yolanda is a great big girl and strong for her age, bigger and stronger and smarter than anyone else in the fifth grade. She is cool and streetwise, too, and afraid of no one. It’s easy for her to watch out for her little, first-grade brother, Andrew. But their mother, a legal professional and a widow, is concerned about crime and drugs in her children’s Chicago school. She moves them all to a smaller and, she hopes, smaller town.

Yolanda, at first, is scornful of her new town. And Andrew, who never talks much, is having trouble learning to read. What he loves to do is play on the old harmonica given to him as a baby by his father to teethe on and which he’s kept blowing ever since. He can imitate any sound he hears, like bacon sizzling, or express any mood he feels, like the freshness of an early morning. Yolanda understands that that’s the way he “talks.” She is convinced Andrew is a true genius with a great musical gift.…[more]

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