This past fall, the Columbia Public Library hosted its fourth season of the Heavy Medal Mock Newbery program. Youth in grades 4-8 were invited to join us twice per month to discuss possible Newbery Award contenders for 2015. The John Newbery Medal is an award given annually for the most distinguished contribution to American Literature for children. At these interactive sessions, we discussed six Newbery contender books, and kids were able to defend the book they felt deserved the Heavy Medal Mock Newbery Award.
This year we read the following books:
What could be better than a book with a digger? A book with bigger and BIGGER diggers!
The last of our featured Missouri Building Block nominees, William Bee’s “Digger Dog,” fits that bill. Youngsters love the repetitive phrases and will be “reading” along as Digger Dog strives to unearth the world’s biggest bone with his fleet of diggers. The book’s surprise ending will have them asking you to read it again and again. Continue reading
Attention dog lovers! The tough little bulldog in David Ezra Stein’s “I’m My Own Dog” will grab your heart, and its inner monologue will tickle your funny bone. This pooch is quite content to curl up at its own feet and fetch its own slippers, until that tricky itch that can’t be reached sneaks up. Then the bulldog finds a human to train. You’ve got it: “I’m My Own Dog” comically turns traditional pet and human roles on their heads.
Once you’ve read this book several times and your kiddos have named the dog and learned half the sassy dog’s lines, you may be ready to branch out. We would suggest you try the activities on Candlewick Press’ Publisher site or The Missouri Building Block Award activity sheet. Continue reading
In “Down by the Barn” by Will Hillenbrand, a dog happily drives a clunky blue tractor around a farm. Hitched to the tractor are two wagons, which the dog uses to collect a scarecrow and an array of baby farm animals. When the wagons are packed full of critters, the dog makes a stop at a school bus full of excited children. The story ends on a sweet note, with the scarecrow reading a book aloud, sharing a story with all of the children and animals.
The text is simple and contains repetitive phrases (Puff puff, clank, clank, moo, moo, and OFF WE GO!), adding new sounds to the end of each phrase as baby animals hop into the wagon. “Down By the Barn” is bursting with cheery art and onomatopoeic text that begs to be orated by all, making it a wonderful read aloud.
Dragons are fierce and mighty and SCARY- or are they? The lovable red dragon in David Kirk’s “Oh So Brave Dragon” is the scared one. Afraid of what terrible beasts might lurk in the woods, the dragon roars his loudest roar. Frightened by the ferocious sound he hears, the dragon bands with the little forest animals to roar back and scare the beasts away. Only the little yellow bird and the readers recognize that there is no monster; little dragon is making the entire ruckus and scaring himself. This is NOT a quiet read. Your young ones will be roaring along in no time.