Merry Wanderer of the Night  + [TIME]

Memory Monday — Something a little different for today

In most Memory Monday posts, I talk about a specific book or series that I remember strongly from childhood, although there have been a few posts devoted to authors as well. Today, I wanted to do something a little different.

I hope you've noticed that starting today, Jacinda at The Reading Housewives and I are hosting a summer long challenge devoted to reading books from the Newbery and Printz award lists. If you come back later today, I will have a post talking about what you can expect from me throughout the next three months in relation to the challenge, but I thought I'd also use my Memory Monday post to give some more love to the Newbery List.

The Newbery Award has been around since 1922, but I wasn't really aware of it until I was in college. Not specifically anyway. I had a vague idea of what it was, but nothing more than that. Then, I started noticing that an awful lot of the books I had read and loved as a kid had received either a Newbery Medal, or the Honor. It started me to thinking more about the Award and what it means to reading, and I pulled a complete list from ALA's website. I started going through the list, marking off those books I had previously read, looking up some of the books I hadn't and I decided that there was a lot of good to be discovered on this list and that I was going to read it. ALL.

So, here is a list of the Newbery books I especially loved as a kid (probably not complete, but forgive me... It's been a long time since I've read some of these) Seeing a book on this list does not count as their 'official' Memory Monday post. Some of these books or authors have already been spotlighted, some have plans for a spotlight in the future, and some, well, who knows.

* The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder — Oh man oh man oh man. My parents gave my older sister a boxed set of all nine Little House books for Christmas when I was around 7 or 8 and she wasn't terribly interested in them. But I ate them up. I devoured those books, and I wanted to be Laura. I used to play prairie in my backyard. Five of the nine books in this series were awarded honors in the 1930s & 40s.

* Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech — I read this book in (I think) 5th grade and I couldn't keep my excitement about it to myself. I went and asked my teacher for special permission to do an extra book report, complete with a diorama art project because I wanted everyone to know how wonderful this book really was. It also inspired a Sharon Creech binge and I've loved her ever since.

* The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley — I know I've mentioned these books before, but these books are the reason that I was willing to give the entire fantasy genre another chance. My friend bribed me to read them in 8th grade and I was completely blown away.

* Dicey's Song and A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt — These are books 2 and 3 in the Tillerman Sage and oh my goodness are these books powerful reads. The whole series is full of wonderfully real characters, full of pain and sorrow, hope, truth and trust. I've never met anyone else like Dicey, either in fiction or real life. She is one of the most fully drawn characters I think I've ever come across and every story that connects to theirs is powerful. These are the only two that made it on the list (a Medal and an honor, respectively but I believe that all of them easily deserved it)

* Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright — I never should have read this book, and it most certainly isn't a book I would have picked up on my own at that age. But, I had tried to buy a book through one of those Scholastic book orders and they ran out of the book that I had ordered. Rather than send us a refund, the book order sent replacement books they thought we would like. How they went from a book about the sinking of the Titanic (I was crazy obsessed) to a book about a girl on a farm, holding a pig on the cover is completely beyond me, but I read it, because I owned it, and figured, Might as well. But I didn't really expect much from it. But I read it over and over and although I still have that same copy, it's obvious looking at the book that it has been very well loved.

* Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine — This is one of the first books that introduced me to fairy tale retellings. This wasn't my fairy tale retelling, but it was incredibly influential in sparking my deep love for the genre, and it was (I think) the first I had read that took some serious liberties with the story, and deviated in an obvious and blatant way from the original. And I loved every second of it.

* Charlotte's Web by E.B. White — I shouldn't like this book. I'm not an animal person. Even as a kid, I never really wanted a pet and even when I was excited about an animal, the novelty worse off with astonishing speed and I was done. I also don't normally like reading books narrated by animals, especially when those animals think/talk/act like people do. But this book was wonderful. I read it over and over again and was just thrilled anew every time I read about the wonderful words in Charlotte's almost magical web.

So, these are some of my very favorite Newbery reads from childhood, and each of these was a large part of why I decided to read the list in its entirety. Do you have any old (or new) favorites from the list? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!