We’ve been spending this literature award season (Yes, it’s award season in libraries just like in Hollywood, but authors don’t tend to have glamorous parties to celebrate their achievements.) We focused on the 2015 Newbery winner, Kwame Alexander’s Crossover.
In the primary grades, we talked about the most recent Caldecott winner ( The Adventures of Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend) and I explained to everyone that generally only intermediate grades get to enjoy the Newbery winners, as they are chapter books or err on the side of YA, since this is the kind of breadth necessary to deliver the kind of emotional and social goals the Newbery committee has for its nominated books. But then, BOOM! The Newbery committee, in a major shift from their normal MO, selected a picture book as the 2016 Newbery winner. What?!
The Last Stop On Market Street, by Matt de la Peña~ the first Latino Newbery winner, btw~ is a lovely book, but honestly, it’s no Giver or Tale of Despeareaux. Still it’s worth having in any collection. It was also a Caldecott Honor book, thanks to Christian Robonson’s sweet illustrations. Here’s the publisher’s synopsis: “Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.” But what excited the kids more than any reading or historical lesson (I know, shocker) was the quiz i gave them through an interactive platform called “KAHOOT IT” I took nine questions and they raced aganist each other to choose the best answer. It was such a loud success that I honestly don’t know if I can play it in library. It sets a very high volume precedent which is hard to bounce back from. You need other players to try it out, but you totally should. Start at https://play.kahoot.it/