In 1953, the Newbery Committee chose a Newbery winner and five honor books. The winner? Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark. The honor books?
* Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
* Moccasin Trail by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
* Red Sails to Capri by Ann Weil
* The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh
* Birthdays of Freedom, Vol. 1 by Genevieve Foster
Yes, you are seeing correctly. Charlotte’s Web was an honor book.
It is clear which of these books has stood the test of time. While most of us have read Charlotte’s Web, probably more than once, Secret of the Andes is less well-known, and I would venture a guess that it is less often read.
So, I am wondering what it is about the winner that made it THE most distinguished piece of writing that was written for children in 1952. So, I have a proposition. Let’s read it. All of us. And re-read Charlotte’s Web as well and then we’ll discuss. Would you, today, choose the same winner that was chosen for the 1953 award? Without considering popularity, but considering only literary quality as established by the Newbery Criteria, of course.
I’ll come back for a Secret of the Andes – Part II post after Thanksgiving. Give myself, and the rest of us, a chance to get our hands on and read the book. And then I’ll let you know what I think. And I look forward to hearing your thoughts as well.