Wed Dec 17 2008
Are recent Newbery Medal--winning books too challenging for kids? According to an article in the Washington Post, some critics believe that they are, even going so far as to say that reading books they can't relate to could put kids off reading entirely. One title cited for its inaccessibility is this year's Newbery winner, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village, a beautifully illustrated but text-heavy series of monologues inspired by an illuminated 13th-century manuscript. Of course, every kid is different, and what's a snooze to one might be catnip to another. Check the complete list of Newbery Medal and Honor Books and you're bound to find some old favorites, as I did. 1968 was a very good year for the great E.L. Konigsburg, who won the medal for a book with a very long title and was honored for a book with an even longer title. And though I wasn't smitten with Good Masters!, I remember liking the 1950 winner, which also is set in the Middle Ages. Of course, if you ask the kid reviewers on Amazon, I was probably a big dork who liked boring books.