So the 2008 Newbery winners have been announced, but it's only been in the last several months that I managed to read the 2007 winner and one of the honor books. I always love it when I agree with the committee.
The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron (Newbery winner) and Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson (Newbery honor) were both so good I made my husband read them.
Here are brief summaries and my thoughts.
Higher Power of Lucky (Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, November 2006) early Middle Grade novel
Summary: 10 year old Lucky is sure her guardian Brigitte wants to go back to back to France and she'll end up in an orphanage. (Brigitte is Lucky's father's first wife that he arranged to come take care of her after Lucky's mother died.) "The meanness gland in her heart and the crevices full of questions in her brain make running away from Hard Pan, California (population 43), the rock-bottom only choice she has."
Author Susan Patron has such a way of putting you right there with Lucky; I think it's her attention to details - one in fact which got some negative attention in the press. This book is so hopeful. It's one I think all kids should read.
Read this article about Susan at http://www.hbook.com/magazine/articles/2007/jul07_walter.asp
Hattie Big Sky (Delacorte Press, 2006) Young Adult Novel Summary: "For most of her life, sixteen-year-old Hattie Brooks has been shuttled from one distant relative to another. Tired of being Hattie Hear-and-There, she summons the courage to leave Iowa and move all by herself to Vida, Montana to prove up on her late uncle's homesteading claim."
I loved the character of Hattie. I loved learning more about a time period--WWI--that I was less familiar with. Made me wonder what my own ancestors had experienced.
Do you have teens whining about how tough they have it? Have them read this novel, which by the way was inspired by a true story.
Read more about the author at her websitehttp://www.kirbylarson.com/.
P.S. I've known Kirby for years, and she is a real sweetie, which makes her award even more deserved.