Michelle Isenhoff

Newbery Awards

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, by Jean Lee Latham, 1955

One of my favorite things as a reader is to find an aging book that has worn well. That is certainly the case for this 1956 Newbery winner. It tells the life story of historical figure Nathaniel Bowditch. Bowditch spent most of his life in the seaport of Salem, Massachusetts. He was only two years old […]

The Paperboy, by Vince Vawter

Along with capturing Newbery honors back in 2014, The Paperboy won a whole slew of awards. Check this out: A Newbery Honor Award Winner An ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book An IRA Children’s and Young Adults’ Choice An IRA Teachers’ Choice A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year A National Parenting Publications Award Honor […]

Kira-Kira, by Cynthia Kadohata

Before I dive into this review, I have a quick, fun note. A month ago I gushed about my favorite middle grade novel of 2016, The Girl Who Drank the Moon. A week and a half later the Newbery winner was announced. Guess what? I should have been on that panel! I finally broke my recent string […]

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! by Laura Amy Schlitz

I’ve avoided this book for years. It was published in 2007 and won the Newbery in 2008, but it didn’t appeal to me. I like the history of the middle ages; it was one of my favorite courses in college. Still, I never picked this one up. Maybe it was the cover image. More likely, […]

El Deafo, by Cece Bell

This year’s Newbery was announced not long ago, so I rushed to grab a copy of the new winner. I was rather disappointed. In fact, I haven’t really liked a Newbery winner since 2011, Clare VanderPool’s Moon Over Manifest. Perhaps all the edgier, more experimental types of literature like graphic novels and verse I’ve been seeing lately […]

Pictures of Hollis Woods, Patricia Reilly Giff

I’d seen this book on the list of Newberry honors (2003), so when I stumbled on it as a library Kindle download, I grabbed it to read over Christmas break. It’s a good one, in a relaxed, lazy day kind of way. I couldn’t help but feel for Hollis, a twelve-year-old orphan girl whose dream […]

The Cay, by Theodore Taylor, 1969

“Dis be de mos’ outrageous good story, Phill-eep!” I can almost hear the words as they would sound spoken in Timothy’s Caribbean cadence. Timothy’s an old friend of mine. So are Phillip and Stew Cat, the trio of castaways in The Cay. This is a book I’ve treasured since my childhood. I shared it recently with my […]

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