Annal: 2008 Newbery Medal

Results of the Newbery Medal in the year 2008.

Book:Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village

Laura Amy Schlitz, Robert Byrd

Step back to an English village in 1255, where life plays out in dramatic vignettes illuminating twenty-two unforgettable characters.

Maidens, monks, and millers’ sons—in these pages, readers will meet them all. There’s Hugo, the lord’s nephew, forced to prove his manhood by hunting a wild boar; sharp-tongued Nelly, who supports her family by selling live eels; and the peasant’s daughter, Mogg, who gets a clever lesson in how to save a cow from a greedy landlord. There’s also mud-slinging Barbary (and her noble victim); Jack, the compassionate half-wit; Alice, the singing shepherdess; and many more.

With a deep appreciation for the period and a grand affection for both characters and audience, Laura Amy Schlitz creates twenty-two riveting portraits and linguistic gems equally suited to silent reading or performance. Illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings by Robert Byrd—inspired by the Munich-Nuremberg manuscript, an illuminated poem from thirteenth-century Germany—this witty, historically accurate, and utterly human collection forms an exquisite bridge to the people and places of medieval England.

Book:Elijah of Buxton

Elijah of Buxton

Christopher Paul Curtis

As a first-generation freeborn black, 11-year-old Elijah Buxton had no direct experience with slavery. That changes, however, when a thief steals money set aside for freeing a friend’s enslaved family. Elijah sets off rapidly in pursuit, leaving behind his Canadian home and crossing into dangerous American territory, where he encounters terrifying evidence of the grievous human cost of slavery.

Book:Feathers

Feathers

Jacqueline Woodson

“Hope is the thing with feathers” starts the poem Frannie is reading in school. Frannie hasn’t thought much about hope. There are so many other things to think about. Each day, her friend Samantha seems a bit more “holy.” There is a new boy in class everyone is calling the Jesus Boy. And although the new boy looks like a white kid, he says he’s not white. Who is he?

During a winter full of surprises, good and bad, Frannie starts seeing a lot of things in a new light—her brother Sean’s deafness, her mother’s fear, the class bully’s anger, her best friend’s faith and her own desire for “the thing with feathers.”

Jacqueline Woodson once again takes readers on a journey into a young girl’s heart and reveals the pain and the joy of learning to look beneath the surface.

Book:The Wednesday Wars

The Wednesday Wars

Gary D. Schmidt

Gary D. Schmidt offers an unforgettable antihero in The Wednesday Wars—a wonderfully witty and compelling novel about a teenage boy’s mishaps and adventures over the course of the 1967–68 school year.

Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn’t like Holling—he’s sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation—the Big M—in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.

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