So far, of the first five Newbery Award winners, the enchanting and imaginative storytelling in Dr. Doolittle (1923) was a surprise. The gripping tale in Dark Frigate (1924) was equal to Treasure Island, but shorter. I had a hard time getting into some of the ogres and villains in Tales from Silver Lands (1925) but some of the stories and settings were absolutely magical. It was much easier to zip through Shen of the Sea, Chinese Stories for Children (1926) by Arthur Bowie Chrisman. I was impressed with the clever variety of the stories and delighted by the marvelous illustrations. Even so I couldn’t help think of Grace Lin’s comments that when she researched Chinese stories none of them showed people like her.
These are books that my parents might have read in the 1920s. All well-written, most with greater appeal then than now. I just got the first award winner, The Story of Mankind (1922) by Hendrick Willem van Loom. Out of the first winners, the sixth is Smoky the Cow Horse by Will James, which I must have read as a girl, along with others by James. Maybe I’ll give it a quick read. Alright then, four down, 96 to go. I was happy to learn that Where the Mountain got a Newbery Honor Award in 2010. That’s the kind of story I long to write and share with others.
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