Thoughts on Newbery: Cinderella Schlitz

I knew about the Park School long before I knew about Laura Amy Schlitz because it is an old progressive private school like mine, a good friend worked there years ago, and another good friend’s wife graduated from there. So I loved thinking yesterday about how the school, especially all the children (not to mention the young adults) who had performed the monologues and dialogues in her book reacted to yesterday’s news. (She, by the way, was mostly speechless, sobbed, tried to speak — I mainly remember her saying “I have to make a speech?”— when we made THE CALL.) So how fun to run into several Candlewick folk while waiting for the train home who told me she was royally feted at the school.

After learning she had won, Schlitz still went to work at Baltimore’s Park School, where she has been a librarian for 17 years. “But I am wearing a plastic tiara,” Schlitz, 52, said Monday.

Set in an English village circa 1255, the book presents 22 character monologues that Schlitz originally wrote for her students, who study the Middle Ages in the fifth grade. She says it was a fascinating period because “there is something so once-upon-a-time with the beautiful tapestries and manuscripts. Yet life was so dangerous, so arduous and so grimy.”

As for winning, “this is kind of like having a flying carpet under your feet.”

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