Friday, March 31, 2017

BOOKS: Newbery Award books in March

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park, 152 pages
Newbery Award 2002

Set in 12th century Korea, this sweet little book follows an orphan boy, Tree-Ear, as he takes a fascination with a local potter. Their village in Korea was renown for its pottery and innovation in the art. Lots of information on Tree-Ear learning the process, trying to get along with the master potter, a little road trip to deliver a vase to the king. Social aspects of being poor, fitting in, pride, and moral decisions balance the pottery info. As a kid I probably would have found it boring, but I liked it as an adult.

(I tried to get my 13 year old daughter to read but she found it boring after 15 pages.)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, 302 pages
Newbery Award 2009

Another win for Gaiman. Lovely book about Nobody Owens (Bod) who grows up in a cemetery after his family is murdered. It takes a little magic to allow him to see the residents of the graveyard but they agree to raise him. Lots of folklore, and mythology as Bod grows up - meeting ghouls, and witches, and a Hound of God. All of these lead to the exciting final chapter as Bod fights for his life.

Easy to read, Gaiman develops characters in a way that you care about them and become invested in their lives. The ghosts in the graveyard are interesting even if they are only mentioned for a small interaction.

If you want to read another book set in a cemetery, try Waiting for Gertrude by Bill Richardson. Someday I will find someone else who has read this fun gothic book.