Monday, February 13, 2012

sounding off or the beginning of my Newbery challenge

I have decided to read each of the Newbery Medal Winners (1922-Present). I was going to read them in chronological order, but have decided instead to just read them in alphabetical order by author, as that is how we have them on the shelf at our library. I began with William H. Armstrong's 1970 medal winner, Sounder (technically I should have started with Lloyd Alexander's The High King, but I've read it a couple of times).

"As told by William H. Armstrong, the timeless novel of Sounder reads as if it is a parable. The family is held together by its unwavering faith, believing that life will get better no matter how bad things are...Although deceptively simple in its language and brief in its length, Sounder is a powerful parable of poverty, hope, prejudice, inhumanity, and ultimately, survival." 
--Harper Collins Instructors Guide  

I put that quote up because it sums up the book succinctly without giving away too much of the plot, which is easy to do as this really is a short book.

Now for my two cents on Sounder
I wasn't in love with the book when I finished it, but like some books, it had to sit in my mind and settle in. It's what I am putting into my "murky water collection;"--books like Sounder are like murky water that you're tossed into; you feel an uneasiness because you can't see what's all around you, and it isn't until later when you've sat on the shore a while, and the suns out and you've had time to mull things over that you see the water once the mud and sand settles...and it is beautiful. 

I've been thinking about Sounder all day. I've been thinking about how it would be a great book to read and discuss with kids as it it covers some powerful issues: class, race, faith and hope; because it's a powerful book which chooses to look at hard times with honesty. Kudos, Mr. Armstrong!

Today I started 2003 medal winner, Crispin: The Cross of Lead, by Avi--sucked in already!

Also, wanted to welcome new follower, Wendy L. Thanks for joining up, feel free to visit much and comment often.

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