Mar 12, 2008

My Girlfriend's Newbery Book

We're sitting in the children's section of the public library in Springdale, Utah while we're camped at Zion National's a fantastic library, and would be even if it didn't have this amazing canyon view from the window.

I noticed just now that the book in my direct line of vision is E.L. Konigsburg's The View From Saturday (Simon & Schuster)...I think of that book as "Laurina's Newbery book" since that was the winner the year she was on the Newbery committee. I first met Laurina only a few weeks before the announcement, and I remember nagging her relentlessly for a hint.

At the time (and still today!) I think I wanted to be on the Newbery committee almost as much as I wanted to write a Newbery winner and was endlessly curious about the process of choosing one...I'm still curious, because apparently there's a vow of silence involved since Laurina is still clammed up about it 11 years later.

Speaking of the Newbery Medal, I have this idea that I'd like to read or re-read every Newbery book while we're on this journey. To that end, I've just finished (for about the 12th time) Miracles on Maple Hill (Harcourt). What a gem! So delightfully old-fashioned, and yet I'd forgotten that the reason the family moves to the farm is that the father has come home from war, and he is mentally exhausted - sadly, there are probably children today who can relate to that all too easily.

Anyway, I loved it so much! The illustrations are by my beloved Beth and Joe Krush, who have illustrated too many of my favorites to mention, like Gone Away Lake, the Borrowers...I got to meet the Krushes once because they lived in Philadelphia at the time (and they may still) and I'm afraid I gushed quite a bit and probably overwhelmed them. I really do enjoy illustrations in my middle grade books!

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