If you haven't heard, the Newbery Honor books were Ashley Bryan's Freedom Over Me, Gidwitz's The Inquisitor's Tale, and Wolk's Wolf Hollow. The winner was Barnhill's The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
I haven't seen Freedom Over Me, but the other books didn't seem like anything that would appeal to my students. I did buy the Gidwitz, but the children who have checked it out have brought. It back after the first few chapters. Oh, well. At least now I can say that I've been to ALA Midwinter, and there were some nice moments that I will post about tomorrow.
Pla, Sally J. The Someday Birds
January 24th 2017 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Charlie likes things a certain way, and stress makes him resort to self-comforting activities like washing his hands repeatedly. His mother is dead, and his journalist father has recently been badly injured in Afghanistan. His grandmother is taking care of him, his older sister Davis, and his younger twin brothers, but when an opportunity to send the father to a hospital in Virginia, she leaves the children with a friend in California. Of course, the friend becomes unable to watch the children after the grandmother has left, and the four prove themselves to be incapable of watching themselves. Enter Ludmila, an odd character who has been hanging around their father's hospital room. Not trusting her, Davis inveigles her boyfriend to drive the family to Virginia, but they have an accident in Las Vegas. Ludmila comes to their rescue, and the group spends the rest of the book having a fairly enjoyable road trip and finding out secrets about Ludmila's past and her involvement with their father.
Strengths: Road trip books ALWAYS do well in my library, and their just aren't enough of them. Ludmila's story, and the information about the war in Bosnia, was very interesting, and her ties with Charlie's father were convincing. Sad, but not maudlin. Davis and Charlie were also interesting characters, and the portrayal of Charlie's OCD/Asperger tendencies was done naturally. Lots of fun adventures and interesting places (Wall Drug, the Field Museum, etc.).
Weaknesses: I wish that Charlie's eccentricities had been labeled. I'm never sure what the correct stance on this is, but Charlie is definitely not neurotypical, and it would be helpful to know. If Charlie were at my school, we would probably refer to his as "on the spectrum" and seek some sort of support for his behaviors.
What I really think: Another review called this oddly endearing, and I feel the same way. I love the cover. This will be a hit with readers of How To Avoid Extinction, Far From Fair, and other books with problems that are faced with optimism and resilience.
Williams, Marcia. The Tudors: Kings, Queens, Scribes and Ferrets!
October 11th 2016 by Candlewick Press
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central
This brightly colored, comic book style is "told" to us by Arthur Inkblot, scribe of Queen Elizabeth's court, and his ferret, Smudge, who adds information in the borders of the pictures. Each page covers a topic of history of this era, such as the Wars of the Roses, Christopher Columbus, or Palaces and Potties. Along the bottom of the pages, there will be asides such as how sewage was treated of the state of medicine. There are a lot of humorous anecdotes in the style of the You Wouldn't Want to Be Books.
Each page is stuffed with facts and intricately drawn pictures. This is the sort of book that the right child will spend days poring over, making it a good choice for extended travel or lengthy visits with less than exciting relatives! Be prepared to make a stop at a library at some point for a more informative nonfiction book that might be needed to answer questions that arise about a variety of British monarchs and practices!
More useful for pleasure reading than research, this book lacks any kind of table of contents, index, or bibliography. It is the sort of book that appears in museum gift shops and makes a more useful present than giant pencils or "funny hats of history"!