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Best Books of the Year Lists vs. Mock Newbery Titles

December’s here, which means major review journals are beginning to release their lists of the best children’s books of the year. It’s interesting to compare their choices to the books we’ve been looking at for our Mock Newbery, but we shouldn’t be surprised if they don’t line up neatly. On Heavy Medal and other Mock Newbery lists, we’re using the Newbery Terms and Criteria to guide us in our selection of the most distinguished books of the year. The editors and others who contribute to the journals’ lists can look more broadly, balance the lists between genres and age levels, and highlight common themes that might best represent the year. And of course there’s the constant factor when comparing anyone’s “best of” lists: a different group of people will make different choices.

So far I’ve only seen lists from School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews. Booklist’s “Editor’s Choice” lists, the “Blue Ribbons” from the Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books, and Horn Book‘s “Fanfare” should be out soon [just released] (and I’ll add links to those here once they’re available). Based on the first three lists, here are some random observations:

School Library Journal: Best Books 2020

  • SLJ includes 29 titles on their “Chapter Books” and “Middle Grade” fiction sections, which covers a fairly big chunk of what we’ve looked at on Heavy Medal. 18 of these were either featured or nominated on HM.
  • “Young Adult” is a different story. Except for some comments about CLAP WHEN YOU LAND, none of the 16 titles on SLJ’s top Young Adult list showed up on our blog. 
  • SLJ also has a separate list of 20 “Nonfiction” titles. Of those, just four were either featured or nominated on HM.
  • Under “Graphic Novels” six out of 15 were also HM titles.. 

Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2020

  • PW lists 16 best “Middle Grade” titles, and almost all should be familiar to Heavy Medal readers. 15 were either featured on the blog or received nominations.
  • 5 of PW’s 15 “Young Adult” titles have been nominated here, which is still fairly high considering some on their list are more clearly geared towards older readers. 

Kirkus Reviews: the Best of 2020

  • Kirkus’s lists are much longer. I’m not sure, but I think they may include all starred titles from the year? They group them by category ranging from genres like “Historical Fiction” to more particular topics such as “Young Changemakers” and “Immigration and Refugees.”
  • I only checked the “Middle Grade” section, which includes 98 titles under eleven categories. Overall, 29 HM titles (nominated or featured) are included.
  • The categories that matched up most closely with HM are “Historical Fiction,” where five of eight titles were featured or nominated here, and “Immigration and Refugees,” with five of ten.
  • “Fantasy & Science Fiction” lists 13 titles…and not a single one showed up on HM! I knew we’ve mostly overlooked that area this year, but just didn’t read any titles that stood out. I suspect that’s due to my reading choices rather than the quality of books, though. 

Unanimous So Far

These books made all three lists and have also been featured and nominated on Heavy Medal:

  • CLASS ACT
  • ECHO MOUNTAIN
  • FIGHTING WORDS
  • SKUNK AND BADGER
  • WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE
  • WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER

Surprised Not to See…

Several books received fairly strong HM support from nominations and/or comments on the blog, but do not appear on any of the first three lists:

  • A GAME OF FOX AND SQUIRRELS
  • KENT STATE
  • LEAVING LYMON
  • ON THE HORIZON

I’m not sure what it all means, but it’s sure interesting to see the lists and compare. They always leave me with the feeling that, even though I feel like I’ve been reading so many kids’ books that I can barely keep them straight…I still missed a bunch of really interesting books. If you have reactions to any of the lists, feel free to share below.

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Steven Engelfried About Steven Engelfried

Steven Engelfried is the Library Services Manager at the Wilsonville Public Library in Oregon. He served on the 2010 Newbery committee, chaired the 2013 Newbery Committee, and also served on the 2002 Caldecott committee. You can reach him at sengelfried@yahoo.com.

Comments

  1. Steven, I find these lists to be interesting, revealing, and frustrating. They are a good resource for finding books which I may have overlooked, but they are also highly idiosyncratic, at best. A list of one person’s favorite books can include anything. However, the choices on a list which purports to represent a major publication or organization devoted to literacy suggest a great deal about which books merit inclusion to a wide audience.

  2. You don’t mention it but The Horn Book’s Fanfare list will be out soon as well.

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

      Thanks Martha! I knew 5 didn’t sound right, and I’m sorry for that oversight. I’ve added Fanfare to the list above and look forward to seeing that list…

  3. I enjoyed reviewing the lists, (and thank you for this overview of them all). Glad to see that The Blackbird Girls did make Kirkus’s list, (and sorry I overlooked it in a previous post). I did find some books that have intrigued me and that I hope to read, including:

    The Water Bears.
    Spindlefish and Stars.

    I do remember thinking about nominating Raybearer for the Newbery but felt it was really more geared toward YA. It is an excellent book, though.

    I have harped on this a lot, I know, and I am sorry. I just want to reiterate how surprised I was about A Game of Fox & Squirrels not making any best lists. It’s truly one of the best books I have read in some time, and it truly stole my heart. Perhaps it’s just a book I needed, so I am definitely appreciative of the author for having the courage to write it. I cannot imagine it not at least being considered for a Newbery. I keep holding out hope because, if I remember rightly, Scary Stories for Young Foxes didn’t make a “best” list last year, and it received a Newbery Honor. We shall see.

    • Meredith, and don’t forget Jonathan Auxier’s SWEEP, which did not win any ALSC awards, in spite of Heavy Medal. That’s the opposite situation. Maybe this year your favorite will be successful.

  4. Oh, I love Sweep! Yes, that frustrated me that year! It’s a phenomenal audiobook, too.

    And, I just heard that AGAFAS was selected as a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book. I need to find out about Chance.
    I forgot to also mention Everything Sad is Untrue, which I was glad to see made some lists.

  5. Julie Corsaro says:

    I like looking at the best books lists for the major library systems, like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, as they appear to keep their clientele firmly in mind; as a result, some titles may show up there that do not appear elsewhere.

    As was previously discussed, informational and picture books may be lacking on Heavy Medal due to a lack of access this year. NCTE did recently announce its Orbis Pictus nonfiction picks, as well as it’s Charlotte Huck fiction selections. Since ALA now announces the Sydney Taylor Book Award, American Indian Youth Literature Award and Asian/Pacific American Awards during its Youth Media Awards webcast, books that may not get a lot of love elsewhere could get deserved attention. One book that got multiple stars, but I haven’t seen on any list, so far, is Julie Lee’s Korean War novel, BROTHER’S KEEPER.

    • Julie, even though it’s very positive publicity to announce the Sydney Taylor, American Indian, and Asian/Pacific American Awards at the ALA meeting and webcast, I have a slight reservation, at least about the Sydney Taylor. In some sense, it may seem to mitigate the general absence of those books from the ALSC awards. I know that people are happy about the change, and it’s great for the authors and illustrators to have the awards announced to a bigger audience, but, especially in recent years, there is little overlap between the Sydney Taylor winners and the mainstream ALSC winners.

      • Julie Corsaro says:

        Why do you think that is the case, Emily? Do you have any suggestions to mitigate it? I attended an excellent session on Jewish literature for children during the ALSC Institute in the fall. The presenters made the case that it’s great to have books about Ann Frank and RBG (they counted something like 18 children’s books about the latter), but made the case that more diverse books about the Jewish experience are needed.

  6. Julie, I agree that there should be a broader range of books about Jewish themes, but there is also a separate issue. Jewish-themed books are of interest to all readers, just like books based on the experience of any other group. Of course, they are also about the human experience of all of us. Relegating Jewish-themed books to occasional pieces or lists about Jewish holidays is not the same as including them on general lists, considering them for mainstream awards, and acknowledging them as part of the movement for diverse books. Some of the “best of” lists do that, but others do not, year after year. Including, for example, the Lindbergh book, a book about non-Jewish resistance during the Nazi era, and two books about the internment of Japanese Americans, but failing to include even a single one of the excellent Jewish-themed books published this year, is really disappointing.

    • Julie Corsaro says:

      I bet it is disappointing, Emily. However, CHANCE was just named to the New York Times “25 Best Children’s Books of 2020,” which is a pretty big platform, as, I would argue, is being included in the ALA Media Awards announcements. Of course, it’s even better to be named one of the big winners for Newbery and Caldecott. (CHANCE is also included on Chicago Public’s Best Books of 2020, as is GET A GRIP, VIVVY COHEN). Anything that meets the eligibility requirements will be considered for Newbery and Caldecott. But because the committees’ discussions are confidential, we don’t know what is nominated or included in the deliberations. Yes, definitions of diversity can vary, and lobbying to get Jewish themed books included must take a lot of effort. If you aren’t a member, I recommend joining ALSC and volunteering for a book award committee, as well as applying for the Morris Evaluation Seminar, which is pipeline for award committee service

      • Julie, I agree that there are many other important honors than just the ALSC awards. I was very happy to see CHANCE on the NY Times list, as well as on the other lists which you mention. As for the confidentiality of the discussions, that’s kind of a double-bind. I understand that they have to be confidential; I would not suggest changing that rule. But then we can never know what, if any, discussions have taken place which might reveal the reasoning of the judges. We just have to accept that. I can only go by public statements, or lack of statements, from the ALSC, as well as from other representatives of the children’s book community.

  7. Molly Karene Sloan says:

    This is an important conversation, Emily and Julie. It is akin to the conversation about CSK books also being deserving of Caldecott and Newbery consideration. We can’t just say that “this is a fine book and it should win a CSK.” Just because a book fits the parameters of CSK or Sydney Taylor doesn’t mean it shouldn’t also be considered for Newbery (or Caldecott). I am sure that the worthy books like Sweep were considered by the relevant committees in their years (I remembered some very spirited conversation around The Hired Girl here at Heavy Medal a few years ago). I do agree it is disappointing that Sydney Taylor honorees rarely (ever?) receive ALSC recognition. As a teacher at a Jewish school who leads a Newbery Club, it seems like every year their is a promising book with Jewish themes that we are hopeful will receive some ALSC attention. I am just now reading The Way Back by Gavriel Savit and finding it very distinguished so far. (I am coming in a bit late to our Heavy Medal Conversation this year–perhaps we’ve already discussed that one here?) Anyway, I agree with Emily that books with Jewish (or Indiginous or Asian/Pacific Islander) representation should be part of the conversation if they are deserving under the Newbery Criteria.

    • Molly, you are exactly right, but there is an important distinction. Deserving books have won both the CSK and the Newbery, Caldecott, or honors. My main point is that the Sydney Taylor and NJBA have little overlap with the ALSC awards. As for The Hired Girl, it won both the Sydney Taylor and the NJBA. It seemed to be getting a great deal of acclaim, but an invented controversy brought negative attention to it. So I would contend that books with Jewish themes are categorized in a different way from books which would be eligible for the CSK, Asian/Pacific, Pura Belpré, or other group-specific awards. It’s also important to point out that neither the Sydney Taylor nor the NJBA require that the author be Jewish; the award is for a Jewish-themed book. Neither Jonathan Auxier nor R.J. Palacio (White Bird) are Jewish and their outstanding books won one or both of these awards.

      • Emily, I you implying that The Hired Girl did not, in fact, portray Native Americans several times in a negative and/or stereotypical light? Because, as much as I truly adored that book, I definitely saw the sections that caused that controversy. Those parts were definitely there. If members of the Native American community are telling me that that content is potentially harmful and hurtful to read, I’m not going to tell them that it isn’t – that’s not my place. Calling it an “invented controversy” seems very, very harsh. I’m glad The Hired Girl won some acclaim – it was an excellently well-written book that, as a Catholic who reaffirmed her faith as a late teen, resonated strongly with me – but to say that the controversial parts didn’t exist at all is to shut down yet another marginalized community. This is meant to be an open forum, where all members of all communities should feel free to voice their interpretations of and reactions to different works of literature for children, regardless of whether those views are popular, mainstream, or frequently heard.

      • Tenisha McCloud says:

        I think “invented controversy” is far too strong; however, in hindsight, the way that this discussion was handled on this blog essentially damned The Hired Girl from contention. The expectation that a character cannot be portrayed as having those unseemly perspectives has been explored in the intervening years as being prescriptive and wrong, and censorious.
        The person who started the concerns about The Hired Girl has since been discredited herself, so that should be kept in mind as well.

  8. ESE Librarian Bob says:

    I can agree with that, Emily. Though I hope Gidwitz’s The Inquisitor’s Tale was awarded on all sides. And please don’t neglect the Schneider Family Book Award–I can’t recall any ALSC overlap and the rules don’t require the author is disabled, or even that the MC has a disability! I quote: “The book must portray some aspect of living with a disability or that of a friend or family member.” That’s a low bar which IMO doesn’t encourage exceptional representation for kids who are often severely marginalized.

    • Bob, thanks for bringing up the Schneider Award. I’m not sure if you are implying that the author of books about disabilities should be a person with a disability. I think it is positive that the Sydney Taylor award is not based on the author’s identity. As for the award description, I see your point that it appears to be a “low bar.” I’m not sure why it is worded that way. Maybe it’s just assumed that excellence would be part of the criteria for any award, but it would certainly be helpful to add a phrase making that explicit.
      The Inquisitor’s Tale was the notable exception in recent years; it’s a terrific book. I would like to point out that I think the plot, which involves the positive interaction among Jewish, Christian, and Muslim characters might have seemed particularly welcome. I know that in theory that should not have entered into the decision. By comparison, here are some books which were recognized by the Sydney Taylor and/or NJBA only: SWEEP, WHITE BIRD, SOMEDAY WE WILL FLY, THE BOOK RESCUER, GITTEL”S JOURNEY, THE HIRED GIRL, ANYA AND THE DRAGON, and several outstanding picture book bios of Ruth Bader Ginsburg which highlight the importance of her Jewish identity. Of course, there are numerous excellent Jewish-themed books which did not win the Sydney Taylor or the NJBA; awards always leave out many great books.

  9. Susan Northsea says:

    Steven, thank you for this informative, thought-provoking post among many!
    I understand why you are focusing on major review journals. But it’s interesting to note that the six titles that have already been chosen for Heavy Medal discussion appear on NPR’s Book Concierge’s ‘Kids’ Books.’ With one notable exception– FIGHTING WORDS doesn’t appear but THE GAME OF FOX AND SQUIRRELS is included. https://apps.npr.org/best-books/#tags=kids%E2%80%99+books&view=covers&year=2020
    That may mean nothing at all– just something I noticed. Thanks.

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

      Thanks for the Concierge list, Susan! Though I started with the major journals, it’s great to learn about other lists. And Julie mentioned the lists from library systems too, that are also good to look at. The more the better…

  10. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    It’s interesting and kind of confusing how all of the awards and lists fit together…because mostly they really don’t. They all have different goals and criteria, sometimes overlapping, sometimes not. With the Newbery, though, it’s important that Committee members pretty much ignore the rest of the awards. This year’s Committee, for example, can’t assume that EVERYTHING SAD IS UNTRUE will win the Printz or that ALL THIRTEEN will win the Sibert, since those committees are deciding at the same time, in secret.

    And in practice, those Newbery discussions become so focused on the books in front of you and the Criteria and the words on the pages that it becomes difficult to factor in all of those other possibilities even if you wanted to. At least that’s how it was for me…

  11. Susan Northsea says:

    The patterns and seeming exemptions are thought-provoking, but I’m sure what you’ve described is standard. Following the Criteria and focusing on the nominated books must be very engaging!
    Just out of curiosity, in your experience, how much overlap is typical? It seems unlikely that 105 books are brought to the table.

    In reference to EVERYTHING SAD IS UNTRUE and the Printz, I was quite surprised to see Nayeri’s and Woodson’s books listed under Young Adult on the NYT list. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/02/books/review/best-childrens-books.html That’s not how I read them and shelve them, or, I believe, how they’ve been marketed. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    As a teacher of many decades with seasoned colleagues, I can sometimes feel the tides turning in terms of favor up till the end. My colleagues thought I was nuts to cast my mock ballot for THE CROSSOVER over BROWN GIRL DREAMING. I’m sure people in different children’s literature-related professions have their own barometers. But the Committee must do its job.

    Cheers!

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

      Good point about EVERYTHING SAD/Printz, Susan. Probably not the best example to use as a Newbery/Printz crossover. It is shelved as children’s in most libraries I’ve seen, though at least in my library that collection runs through 8th grade or so, and the Printz age range is 12-18. Still, CLAP WHEN YOU LAND would have been a better example…

  12. Aud Hogan, there is a difference between descriptive and prescriptive. The protagonist of The Hired Girl is portrayed as naive, uneducated, even ignorant. Her characterizations of Native Americans, as well as her severe prejudices about Jews, are entirely consistent with her time, place, social class, background, and level of education. If characters in historical fiction, or nonfiction for that matter, can only use language which would be acceptable today, then we really cannot have discussions about these books based on literary quality or historical accuracy. What would critics of the book suggest as a substitute for its language? How can an author possibly create works of fiction if making a novel accurate for its time and place is forbidden? In no way did this novel suggest that the author herself would apply such words today to Native Americans, or harbor any of the prejudices of her young protagonist. So I used the term invented controversy quite deliberately, because of the context of this particular book. In another work of fiction, the terms which she uses would definitely be offensive, but not in this one.

    • Aud Hogan says:

      Emily, I respect that Steven would like us to keep this conversation more relevant to this year, and so I pose you a question. You and I have very different readings of the book The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh. If I’m following your arguments correctly, you believe that her goal in writing this book is to portray him as a flawed “hero,” and you do not feel that he – a Nazi sympathizer and white supremacists to the end – deserves the term. I don’t think he deserves that title either. He sounds dreadful. You are basing this reading, in part, from what I understand, on interviews Fleming has conducted. I have not seen/read those interviews, and am only familiar with the book. I didn’t read him as any kind of hero in the book, just a flawed and human individual who was greatly lead astray by propaganda and the biases of the time, in a way that was very, very ugly. I thought the book was downright bone chilling. So. We have very different readings of this book. We are approaching it from different backgrounds, and with different amounts of outsider knowledge. Should I then say that you were “inventing a controversy” when you were advocating against this book so vehemently, simply because I didn’t understand your position on a personal level and because my reaction to it differed from yours? If a book hits a marginalized population (or individual) in a way that leaves bruises, I think it’s best, in good faith, to believe the marginalized population that the bruises are there, even if we don’t understand how and/or why the bruises are forming because it’s outside of our personal experience. Especially in a public forum such as this, that is open for everyone to express their opinions about the books released in a given year, and that is striving for equity. Saying that people are “inventing a controversy” makes it sound like they are just stirring up trouble for the attention of it, and that is a hurtful thing to say. We should be respecting our kidlit colleagues and fellow readers more than that.

      For the record, I do not think you were inventing a controversy about Rise and Fall. I simply could not think of a better example. I thank you for understanding my hypothetical.

  13. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    There was an extensive discussion about THE HIRED GIRL, by Amy Laura Schlitz, on Heavy Medal in 2015. It is a relevant example to use for our current discussion of the various end-of-the-year lists, but I assume some readers may not be familiar with the book and/or the discussion around it. We won’t revisit it all here, but if you want to dig into the full discussion, you can see it all in the archives with this post and this one.

    • Julie Corsaro says:

      I agree with Steven that THE HIRED GIRL is a relevant example as we look at end of the year lists, as well as discuss 2020 historical novels here. In addition to the Heavy Medal examples that Steven cites, SLJ did an article when THE HIRED GIRL won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction (the award is for historical fiction set in the Americas). SLJ cites the book passage in question, and includes the following quote from Deborah Stevenson, an O’Dell Award committee member and Editor of the Bulletin of the Center Children’s Books. “We liked that Schlitz kept her heroine of her time. That’s less common than you might think. A lot of historical fiction is really disguised time travel, where somebody with contemporary sensibilities appears in an earlier period and wants to progressively make everything the way it is in our era. A book like that can be wonderfully readable in its way, but it distorts both history, by suggesting it was more like the present than it was, and the reading of history, by suggesting that our own time’s views are the correct ones that everybody in the past should have been working toward.” Given the current assault on facts and evidence, history and accuracy, I appreciate Stevenson’s perspective.

      • Aud Hogan says:

        I agree that keeping the characters of historical fiction books “of their time” is incredibly important to the setting and overall tone of a book, to be sure. As someone who studied history in college, I do think that it’s imperative that we keep contemporary biases in mind when evaluating historical fiction and nonfiction. That’s part of what I really appreciated about Hana in Prairie Lotus. She’s starting to form her own opinions about race, particularly about Native Americans, that are flavored in part by her own experiences and observations, and, to me, it felt very organic. Likewise, the main character’s observations about the local Native Americans and African Americans and how they fit into white-dominated society in Show Me A Sign were handled exceptionally well, too, without feeling out of place or too “modern.” These were young girls, of their time, who were developing their own moral compasses based off of what was in front of them. That those compasses align a bit more with modern views when those views were more of a minority did not detract from the books at all, in my opinion.

      • Leonard Kim says:

        Oh Aud, you lost me with Prairie Lotus. Though I admired things about the book, I described Hanna on Goodreads as “a paragon of 21st-century virtue” and to me that was the most false thing in the novel. I was actually a little offended by it, especially because the book did allow for Hanna’s mother to be less than perfect (as astutely observed by Hanna herself.)

  14. Aud Hogan says:

    Leonard Kim, regarding Prairie Lotus, I think we’ll just have to disagree about this one. I think, because of Hana’s own experiences with racially-based micro and macro aggressions, it makes total sense that she’d be able to take a step back and re-think her opinion about Native Americans. She kept thinking to herself, “They’re women and children, and they’re out looking for food. On land that used to belong to them. They’re not hurting anyone. Why is this against the law?” And that’s why she didn’t want them to be reported. I thought that whole bit was really well done and made a lot of sense. She knows that white people’s opinions about those from other cultures often aren’t accurate, so she’s willing to think outside their box. I also didn’t read her as a paragon of virtue, so much as a girl who’s forced to think very, very carefully about the things she says and does, and about how she carries herself in the world. She is simultaneously very brave and very timid, due to her caution, and her own natural bent towards introspection. She’s maybe a bit of a goody-two-shoes, but she doesn’t really have a lot of other people to rely on, not even her own father in a lot of ways. Her struggle to get her father to take her seriously I would say is one of the main plot arcs. As such, she can’t really afford to mess up, so she has to tread lightly. But I thought she was very much a product of her time and place, and fairly nuanced at that.

  15. I think this is a worthy subject, and I thank you all! Some people who don’t make their career as a historian or history teacher believe there’s one big historical truth out there. There is also the belief that people in the past were naturally more bigoted than we are today. I talk about these subjects with my 6th- 8th grade history classes.

    Aud, you’re clear-minded and passionate about so much. I think the comparison with objections to the Lindbergh book are fair. I love what you say about the girls “developing their moral compasses.” I’m glad to know you’re a fellow history scholar. But I heartily concur with Leonard on PRAIRIE LOTUS. There is a book by Alex Gino called YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING, JILLY P.! That’s a great title, but Jilly P does know everything too fast. Before her little sister (who was born deaf) is done nursing, Jilly is already lecturing her parents on the pros and cons of hearing devices and whether the family should learn sign language. She becomes quickly “woke” to BLM. I can hear my students yelling: “Mary Sue!” The same is true with Hanna. I don’t know if this occurs because the author is afraid of offending readers or if they just can’t take their “stand-in” (more teen speak) as being less than perfect.

    It’s no secret I’m a big fan of SHOW ME A SIGN. In the third to last chapter, when Mary is asking her father what she should do about other people’s (including her less than perfect mother’s) prejudices, he says: “Mary, you are a good daughter. But you have told lies and spoken with prejudice too.” Mary models herself after her father who I imagine grew up with ingrained prejudices but is working through them–rather than appearing as a paragon. Which brings me to another point. Working side by side with Black Wampanoag farm hand Thomas and his family, Mr. Lambert would have greater familiarity with Wampanoag people and certainly more first-hand knowledge of their land rights and Aquinnah intermarriage than most of us today. His ‘contemporary outlook’ as some may view it turns out to be practical rather than anachronistic..

    I’m always puzzled when people say they want books written with the sensibility of an earlier time. First of all, while an author can and should (with verifiable, transparent research) try to approximate any age, we are always filtering through our own lives. (If you’ve read Herodotus in Greek, you’ll see he’s doing the same.) During a fight with Thomas, the repulsive Mr. Skiffe says to Mary’s father: “Your freedman is lying! That Indian wife of his stole bedsheets right from under our noses!” (SMAS, page 75). For those calling for “historical accuracy,” do you want a 2020 children’s book where the words “freedman” and “Indian” are replaced with what that man would’ve said in 1805?

    The 2018 Honor Book, Murdock’s The Book of Boy, does not sound like Medieval literature. It’s an interpretation; a very well-done, enjoyable one. As a matter of fact (this did bug me) the term “hunchback” (should be humpback) which is used throughout the book is anachronistic by several centuries. That rightly didn’t disqualify it, though I hope it was discussed by the Committee.

    *Speaking of ‘Best of’ lists, I suppose AICL is the one that shall not be named. Though there are small press, Native books there that deserve attention and respect. I took note that SHOW ME A SIGN is the only non-Native author book selected.

  16. Julie Corsaro says:

    Horn Book Fanfare is live! Titles that have gotten support here, too, are: CHANCE, FIGHTING WORDS, WE DREAM OF SPACE, ECHO MOUNTAIN, THE RISE AND FALL OF CHARLES LINDBERGH, KING AND THE DRAGONFLIES, ALL THIRTEEN, CLAP WHEN YOU LAND, I AM EVERY GOOD THING & TWINS.

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

      Also nice to see KENT STATE listed on Horn Book’s “Fanfare.” And David Elliott’s IN THE WOODS, which is probably my top poetry book of the year. I haven’t checked all titles, but I looking at the ones featured on Heavy Medal, I believe FIGHTING WORDS is the only one that made on all four of the Best of Lists so far (SLJ, Kirkus, PW, Horn Book).

      • Julie Corsaro says:

        Thanks for bringing up KENT STATE, Steven. I knew I missed something! I also liked LEAVING LYMON, which you note has been left off the major lists. In addition, I’m keeping my eye on DRAGON HOOPS.

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