This week I’ll be rounding up the year with some lists of my 2016 favorites. I’m starting today with my prediction of which of those favorites are likely to get Newbery awards on January 23. Maybe I’m getting jaded after almost two years of writing this blog, but I’m just not as excited about the field this year as I was for the 2016 awards. Still, there were some books I loved, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll get some recognition. After going through my reviews with the past year, here’s what I’ve got:
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. Published by Little Brown
With its largely animal cast of characters and its meditations on friendship, community, and life, The Wild Robot reminds me a little of Charlotte’s Web. Admittedly, the ending is darker, but there’s a spark of hope that I hope lays the groundwork for a sequel.
The Inquisitor’s Tale, or The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, illuminated by Hatem Aly. Published by Dutton Children’s books.
If the Newbery committee doesn’t see that this 13th-century tale of prejudice, hatred, love, and redemption was one of the most timely books of 2016, they’re not really paying attention.
Ghost by Jason Reynolds. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Castle “Ghost” Crenshaw is one of the funniest, most likeable narrators of 2016, so easy to root for as he finds his way back from a family tragedy with the help of a heroic track coach. A contender for the Coretta Scott King award as well.
Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet
Newbery or Caldecott? Melissa Sweet is better known as an illustrator, but her writing here was surprisingly engaging as well. I found it a hard book to put down, not always the case with a biography.
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk. Published by Dutton Books.
Maybe not the most kid-friendly choice on the list, and no happy ending, but the writing is beautiful and you’ll be thinking about the story for a long time afterward.