We're on our summer posting schedule here at Gifted Exchange (read: infrequent), but I'm always looking for topics so please send ideas along!
In the meantime, today's post covers summer reading. As part of my attempts to "make over" my time to get more out of days and weeks, I've been trying to read more fiction. I read a lot of non-fiction (often for book reviews) but as life gets busy, I often find myself not inclined to read books that I'm not getting paid to read. I know this isn't a good thing -- I like to write fiction, after all -- and I used to read fiction for hours as a kid, particularly on summer days. I recall reading Robinson Crusoe at one point (I believe an abridged version) while walking around outside barefoot. I stepped on something sharp but was too into the story to deal with it. Only hours later did I look down and notice the dried blood all over my toes. Talk about being absorbed!
This experience of being totally lost in a fascinating world is one of the most exciting a kid can have. I've never understood situations where parents have to force kids to read for 30 minutes every evening. Maybe the kids are just reading the wrong books!
In which case, I thought it would be helpful to provide a link to the winners of the Newbery Medal (and the honorable mentions) from 1922 to the present.
Every year, the American Library Association gives this award to the best book for young readers. While some may be darker or more intense than others, and deal with slightly more grown-up themes, in general, they are more appropriate for young gifted children (e.g. K-4th grade) who are capable of reading chapter books than books specifically marketed to adults.
Looking over this list brought back some great memories. There was Dicey's Song (Cynthia Voigt, 1983), Jacob Have I Loved (and other Katherine Patterson books), Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, The High King (and other Lloyd Alexander books), From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time (1963). Indeed, you probably couldn't go wrong just printing up a copy of this list, taking it to the library, and checking out any of the books that happened to be on it.
In that same spirit, Jasper and I have been working our way through the Caldecott winners this summer. These are also good, though since the award is given to the artist (who is often not the writer) the emphasis is more on the visual experience. Pretty sumptuous so far. Definitely beats yet another Elmo book. Unfortunately, this has also turned out to be an expensive undertaking, as he still has a tendency to destroy books, which means I don't want to risk the library's copy.