Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!, in spite of not looking like a book one might naturally gravitate to as a kid (or an adult, maybe), turns out to be one of the more interesting Newbery Medal choices of the decade (admittedly, not that sexy a decade for Newberys). It’s also the first time since 1989 that a non-novel has taken the medal (it was Paul Fleischman’s Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices in ’89). And it seems like Good Masters! will be a “lasting contribution that fills a void”–something so silly-sounding I need to put it in quotation marks to palate it, but something true. It’s possible kids will even get into it (if only for the maggoty cheese).
Read the whole review at: poesy galore: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
Ask author Laura Amy Schlitz what it feels like to win the Newbery Medal, and you’ll get a succinct but emotion-laden answer.”I’m drunk with joy,” Schlitz said gleefully in a recent telephone interview from her home near Baltimore.
From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s “Children’s Corner: Author celebrates surprise book award.”
I feel certain that Micki would have been satisfied with our Newbery selections. Certainly her spirit was very much with us as we made our decisions. Now, on behalf of her friends and colleagues, I’m pleased to announce The Micki Nevett Literature Scholarship.
The Micki Nevett Literature Scholarship will be awarded to a graduating senior from Guilderland High School. All contributions are welcome! Checks should be made payable to the Guilderland Central School District Memorial Fund with Micki’s name in the memo portion and mailed to Guilderland Central School District, 6076 State Farm Road, Guilderland, NY 12084.
The winner of the 2008 John Newbery Award went to Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz and illustrated by Robert Byrd. Again, to say I was surprised is an understatement. I had read this book a while ago, enjoying its unique format: theatrical monologues interspersed with factual information about the Middle Ages. I remember thinking that it was a real gift for teachers, helping fill a real gap in the literature for children. The author, a school librarian clearly has in-depth understanding of her subject and her audience. There is nothing like this on my shelves. A few prescient bloggers proclaimed its excellence, but most writers asserted that a book this extraordinary could never win. Once more, the committee showed them!
From Lisa von Drasek’s (librarian extraordinaire at the Bank Street School for Children) Barnes & Noble Review article, “Children’s Books: The Envelope Please!“
Laura Amy Schlitz readily admits that, as a child, “I loved to pretend I was somebody else and I loved to perform.” Her sense of drama eventually led her to create Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, a series of monologues that were honored last week with the 2008 Newbery Medal as the year’s best children’s book. Read the rest at Child’s play — baltimoresun.com
Lord Randolph Churchill once summarized the career of Benjamin Disraeli in one line: “Failure, failure, failure, partial success, renewed failure, ultimate and complete victory.” The parallel is not exact and might sound a little cruel, but it nicely encapsulates the career, so far, of the fabulously talented children’s book author Laura Amy Schlitz, who this past week won the 2008 Newbery Medal for most distinguished contribution to children’s literature. Read more at A Late-Blooming Talent in Full Flower – WSJ.com
GraceAnne Andreassi DeCandido must also have been very happy on Monday. Here’s what she had written a while back on her webpage:
My favorites of 2007
Gary Schmidt’s The Wednesday Wars. What a lovely book. What a great read. Long Island in 1968, Holling is in seventh grade. He has a great teacher, a best friend, a girl he likes, and an older sister. His dad is one of the genuinely awful parents of children’s literature. There is great stuff about running, about baseball, about school and what really happens there, about bullies, and about Shakespeare. There is some really great stuff about Shakespeare. This is probably my Newbery pick for the year.
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a medieval Village: Seventeen monologues from young people in an English village about 1255. This is about as perfect a volume as could be. It’s lovely, it’s research is solid, Laura Amy Schlitz writes like an angel, teachers all over the country will be weeping with joy and relief, and librarians will love it. Not only that, I think the kids will, too. My favorite book of the year.
Here is what she wished for on January 7th:
WHAT SHOULD WIN:
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz
It’s got everything, man. Fiction. Non-fiction. An actual honest-to-god way to use it with kids. Humor. Pathos. History. Life. Death. The writing’s good and the pictures don’t detract so give it up.
And here is her post about her response at the press conference.
On January 8th, just a few days before the announcement, Esme Raji Codell wrote a glowing review of Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!, concluding, “A hybrid of many literary forms, this book is deserving the high honor of a Newbery, but barring that, it certainly wins the Time Machine award of the year.”
Good Master! Sweet Ladies! is a collection of wonderful monologues, each character a denizen of a medieval village. This is going to be a fabulous book in the classroom. Teachers are going to love using it to incorporate drama, literature, history, and social studies. (and I’m feeling a bit smug, having predicted this one as the winner last night to my husband.) Read the rest at day of glee! (in memory)