Mock Newbery 2022 discussion

Wolf Hollow
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Book of the Month - 2017 > June Read - Wolf Hollow

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Czechgirl | 214 comments Loved this book. This is a book I would want to read aloud to my students. Even though this book takes place after WWII and in the country, this book demonstrates the repercussions of being a "mean girl" bully who is sly about her bullying.


Kergy | 2 comments Agree. This was an awesome book on so many levels.


Tamara | 28 comments The language, the characters, the setting, the extended metaphors, so many aspects of this novel are worthy of study. Yet I would hesitate to read Wolf Hollow aloud to my fifth-graders. Betty Glengarry is more than a mean girl; she is a dangerous sociopath. My initial reaction is to be hesitant about sharing it with my students at all. Maybe someone here will convince me otherwise.


message 4: by Ana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ana Marlatt | 73 comments I just finished this great book and I really liked its excellent writing. Strong characters and interesting plot kept me interested the whole time. The meanness of the antagonist Betty really bothered me. Someone here said she was more than a mean girl- a sociopath actually - and I agree. I still think the book could be a great starting place for discussions and debates. A definitely contender for the Newberry in my opinion!


message 5: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Bell (ohlibrarianio) | 27 comments What's wrong with the antagonist being really, really bad? So perhaps she is a sociopath, that doesn't mean don't read the book. The kids see worse on the news every day, and for those of us who know the end of the book... Well... I won't spoil it.

It's also quite obvious that Toby has PTSD, only they didn't call it that back then. And I think it's an interesting compare/contrast opportunity when you put Betty's character up against Toby's character. So much to discuss here with how society views people with mental illness, how they are quick to defend one and condemn another based on situational evidence and social stereotypes.


Shari | 84 comments Annabelle's sweet and simple life is disrupted by a new girl in school, Betty Glengarry. Betty is beyond your classic mean girl. She is evil, manipulative, diabolical, torturing innocent animals mean. She has singled out Annabelle to bully, identified her weakness, and is willing to do whatever it takes to get Annabelle to comply with her demands. This book is all-consuming, heart-racing, breath-taking compelling. I gobbled it up in one sitting. I am concerned that it might be too harsh for children. It does not have a happy ending. The good guy does not win. I sat with the book on lap, giving myself time to recover when I finished it. Certainly distinguished, but is it too much for kids?


message 7: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Bell (ohlibrarianio) | 27 comments Happy endings aren't a qualifier. I've lost count of how many Newbery's end sadly, begin sadly, or are sad the entire way through. Shall I start naming off all the unfortunate winners?

This book stands out for so many reasons. If it ended like a Hallmark or Lifetime movie, it wouldn't stand out at all.


Shari | 84 comments Of course, you're right Kim. Happy endings are certainly not a qualifier. I acknowledge that it is a truly a distinguished book. I think it should be a contender because it was so compelling and so well written. It elicited such a strong response from me.


Laura Harrison | 383 comments Tamara wrote: "The language, the characters, the setting, the extended metaphors, so many aspects of this novel are worthy of study. Yet I would hesitate to read Wolf Hollow aloud to my fifth-graders. Betty Gleng..."

I would pass on this one for a read- aloud myself.


message 10: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim McGee (kimsbookstack) | 76 comments You are right on - if "Wolf Hollow" had ended any other way it would not have come across as authentic. I think we underestimate our kid's ability to understand and empathize with the world as it is instead of feeding them the Disney version.


message 11: by Ana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ana Marlatt | 73 comments Completely agree!


Jennifer (yarnteller) | 5 comments Storytelling, language, realistically gritty characters and the finely drawn setting are all distinctive. My pick, so far.


Travis Mcgee (travismcgee) | 39 comments Kim wrote: "You are right on - if "Wolf Hollow" had ended any other way it would not have come across as authentic. I think we underestimate our kid's ability to understand and empathize with the world as it i..."

I agree, I thought the ending was perfect!


Darren | 7 comments I just finished this one and, boy oh boy, it is the real deal. There are indeed a lot of parallels to To Kill a Mockingbird, but the main character has a voice - and very compelling story - of her own. I have to say that I really dislike that this discussion thread has been unafraid to casually reveal so many of the plot points (including the ending)...but even having been tipped off by others here, I was in love with every plot turn when I finally got around to reading it. Wolk's writing is frequently gorgeous, but I most appreciated her storytelling skill. There were a few moments midway through that felt a little "dipped in amber," but whenever things started to feel a little treacly, Wolk managed to pull herself out of that. I love that a title like this (like last year's The War that Saved My Life) can creep out of seemingly nowhere and surprise us. This does feel like a quick classic and much deserving of year-end awards recognition (in a year of a lot of great works).


Holly Mueller (hollymueller) | 25 comments I loved this one and thought it had the feel of a classic. It's sad, yes, but I thought it had an outstanding sense of place, time, and story. Loved the characters, loved the layers, loved everything. Might be my favorite of 2016 so far!


Travis Mcgee (travismcgee) | 39 comments It really warms my heart to see so how many people were moved by this book as I was. I thought the writing was superb but not showy as it never pulled me out of the story to examine the writing. I love character driven books and as well plotted as this book was it was the characters that elevated it 5 stars for me. It's a book I recommend to adults, teens and tweens. I can't wait for her next book which I heard is not a sequel, as much as I enjoyed the world she created I think the story is complete as written and a sequel might spoil that.


message 17: by Erin (last edited Jun 09, 2016 06:30PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erin (erinelyse) | 60 comments What I loved most about this book was how uncomfortable it made me feel. For me, the emotions solicited by the story were so complex, jumbled, and overwhelming, it was hard for me to sort them out - which feels like real life to me - something I don't experience often when reading kid's lit. Usually, I know what I am supposed to be feeling - if that makes sense - but in Wolf Hollow, I felt contradicting emotions that really made me pause and contemplate how and why the story was affecting me in so many ways. I do think this is a book kids need to be emotionally ready to handle in order to both appreciate and understand the nuances of such a devastating story. Beautifully done - sure to be heavily stickered by the end of the year. I wouldn't be surprised to see it with Printz recognition as well.


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Denise Vetromile | 47 comments I love this book, everything about it. However, I do not think it is appropriate for my 4th grade audience, so will not be including it for our Mock Newbery Book Club. Not only did I find Betty disturbing (to say the least!), the intricacy of the plot would be beyond their ability to follow. Thinking 6th or 7th grade?


message 19: by Kate (last edited Jun 10, 2016 07:02AM) (new)

Kate | 171 comments Denise wrote: “I do not think it is appropriate for my 4th grade audience, so will not be including it for our Mock Newbery Book Club.”
This is one of my problems with Wolf Hollow. Although the main character is 11 years old, the emotional complexity and storyline seem very advanced for a reader in 4th or 5th grade. I could select it for reading aloud if I knew it would be possible to then discuss the characters and story line with elementary school children.
In fact, I think it is possible to interpret this book in such a way that Toby did attack both the girls in the story. I didn’t find the evidence overwhelming in either direction. That conclusion could make this an even more frightening story.


message 20: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim McGee (kimsbookstack) | 76 comments The writing is incredible and yes, the subject matter is difficult to understand as well as the violence and cruelty that Betty displays hard to take. I think young people are dealing with much tougher issues in life, tv and books than they did a decade or two ago. It is for this reason that I think it should be included for consideration. It speaks truth softened by the fact that it is historical fiction not current day. You have to admit there are a lot of talking points that would make for lively discussion.


message 21: by Trey (new) - rated it 5 stars

Trey Veazey (treyveazey) | 8 comments Those of you who are experiencing trepidation about sharing this book might benefit from reading this recent blog post by Kate Messner:

http://www.katemessner.com/remember-w...


Travis Mcgee (travismcgee) | 39 comments thanks for sharing!


message 23: by Tina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tina | 24 comments Thanks for sharing!


Marcie (marcieloveskidslit) | 65 comments In response to both this discussion of Wolf Hollow and Kate Messner's blog post I refer all to the response by Pernille Ripp, the amazing force behind the Global Read Aloud project, on her June 9th posting -
https://pernillesripp.com/

"Our Job Was Never to Censor, but Always to Educate"


Tamara | 28 comments Kate Messner's article is thoughtful and well done, as always. Her words echo those that I'm sure many of us with rich classroom libraries share with families new to it. I also like this point Pernille Ripp makes late in her article, "So while we, of course, should read the books in our libraries as there are books better suited for some age groups, we should do everything we can to make sure our library is for all of the children we teach."

As a classroom teacher, we have the luxury of considering a few dozen living, breathing individuals as we make choices about what we read aloud, include in our classroom libraries, or hand to individual kids. The toughest calls are often deciding which books are "better suited for (other) age groups." While we may not know everything every child is dealing with at home or seeing on tv, not every book is appropriate for elementary-aged children, so it's good to have robust conversations about those on which we might disagree.

In the end, I will include Wolf Hollow in my classroom library; I may even read it aloud, emphasizing my hope that all of my students would've included their parents much earlier in their dealings with someone as unhinged and dangerous as Betty Glengarry--and, of course, emphasizing the beautiful writing and gripping story, which is why we're all here.


Julie | 27 comments Contains spoilers** OK, I'll be the first to disagree. I thought this book was just ok. It did not live up to the hype in my opinion. While Betty was menacing, I wanted something worse to happen to Ida as a result. Also, the plotline with Toby was interesting, but I felt it unbelievable that he would just go with her to the barn so quickly. From that moment on I lost interest in the book & felt it had become kinda sappy. I am also baffled by comments about a dark ending as I didn't feel the author created any true love in me for Toby. So while there were 2 deaths, as a reader I hadn't invested myself in either one, so who cares? I in no way fancy myself to be an objective reviewer, just adding my 2 cents to the discussion as to my personal reaction as a reader.


message 27: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim McGee (kimsbookstack) | 76 comments Tamara wrote: "Kate Messner's article is thoughtful and well done, as always. Her words echo those that I'm sure many of us with rich classroom libraries share with families new to it. I also like this point Pern..."


Well said.


message 28: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Bell (ohlibrarianio) | 27 comments Julie wrote: "Contains spoilers** OK, I'll be the first to disagree. I thought this book was just ok. It did not live up to the hype in my opinion. While Betty was menacing, I wanted something worse to happen to..."

*Spoiler Alert*

Toby volunteering to go down the well to rescue Betty, jeopardizing his own personal safety for someone who had been so heartless to him, didn't create any true love for him? And of course he would go to the barn, they were hunting for him and he needed to hide. I also thought it was cool that he was his own disguise.


Cheryl | 11 comments Toby volunteering to go down for Betty, could be guilt because he pushed her down. He really didn't give a straight answer when he was questioned. I don't know for sure, but I admit there was some question in my mind.


Laura Harrison | 383 comments Cheryl wrote: "Toby volunteering to go down for Betty, could be guilt because he pushed her down. He really didn't give a straight answer when he was questioned. I don't know for sure, but I admit there was some ..."

Toby had severe issues due to his time as war. In his head he wanted to make amends for the people he killed. Definitely had the heart of a hero. I never once thought Toby would hurt a child. Even one doing everything she could to destroy him. This is my take on it.


Julie | 27 comments Cheryl wrote: "Toby volunteering to go down for Betty, could be guilt because he pushed her down. He really didn't give a straight answer when he was questioned. I don't know for sure, but I admit there was some ..."
I agree with your thoughts. In addition, he didn't hold his life in high regard, so risking his life wouldn't have been a factor for him. Basically, he was following Ida's advice.


Reving | 106 comments This just didn't do it for me. It was good, but I have read better, I think. http://revingsblog.blogspot.com/2016/...


message 33: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen Ferry (librarygarden) | 86 comments I very much enjoyed Wolf Hollow. The variety of characters and the roles they played within the story were so well presented. Each brought such a different feel to the story. I felt that Wolk did a superb job of growing Annabelle's character throughout the story. As I listened to the audio version I didn't want to ever press pause.

In thinking about my readers I think the book would work for some of my accomplished 4th graders, but mainly 5th and higher. I'll definitely be putting Wolf Hollow on my 2017 Mock Newbery.


Stephanie Sapp | 50 comments I loved the book, will be adding to my elementary library. Hope to see a gold or silver sticker on it next year.


Peak  | 5 comments I loved this book. Insight into loyalty we tend to dismiss in children. Loved the faith she had in Toby. Best I've read so far, but love, love, loving Some Kind of Courage by Gemeinhart!


Susan | 3 comments Beth wrote: "I loved this book. Insight into loyalty we tend to dismiss in children. Loved the faith she had in Toby. Best I've read so far, but love, love, loving Some Kind of Courage by Gemeinhart!"

Beth, I agree completely. Some Kind of Courage is superb. Character development, adventure, history in a well-written, well paced story. Five stars!


Becky | 31 comments I loved Wolf Hollow! It's my top choice so far. The characters were richly developed and the plot was subtly woven together. While Betty was a bully, her actions are never condoned or lauded and my students will recognize that. It was Toby that really pulled on my heartstrings, and I love how Annabelle modeled generosity and love toward him.

While I did enjoy Pax, in comparison, it seemed much too neat and tidy, as if too much effort was put into all the parallelism while Wolf Hollow just flowed. Flawless execution.


Marilyn | 23 comments Please read my Wolf Hollow tweet. Just Google @libraryzealot


message 39: by Barb (new) - rated it 4 stars

Barb | 35 comments One of my favorite reads for 2016. Great character development, engaging plot. A Newbery contender in my opinion.


message 40: by Donna (new)

Donna Preece | 21 comments This is by far my favorite book so far this year. The strong character development and the action held my attention from the beginning to the end of the story. Betty was beyond a bully, but I really think readers need to see how serious bullying can become and how people can be hurt emotionally and physically. There are so many opportunities for serious, deep dialogue in this book. The ending was tragic, but it opens the door for discussion on many leaves. We often read about the tragic things that happened in Europe during WWII. Tragic things also happened here as a result of that war. This book just moved to the top of my list of possible Newbery contenders.


Amanda Schreiber (msaplusteacher) | 5 comments I loved this story! I found it haunting even after I finished reading it. I couldn't put it down & was disturbed by Betty. She was a villain among villains!

However, at times I felt like this book wasn't quite written with kids in mind. Several scenes felt very adult to me & I'm very interested in how my 5th graders view this story. I saved this title for December because it is so complex. I thought Annebelle & Toby had a very strange relationship (hair cutting & face touching scene?) that I thought may take a weird turn but thankfully did not. I also thought the ending was very harsh & even took my breath away although I saw it coming. I still think Hour of the Bees is my top contender but this one is right up there.

Anyone else feel like it wasn't written for children at times?


Laura Harrison | 383 comments Amanda wrote: "I loved this story! I found it haunting even after I finished reading it. I couldn't put it down & was disturbed by Betty. She was a villain among villains!

However, at times I felt like this boo..."


The author has stated she didn't have a particular audience in mind for this book.


Becky | 8 comments I teach 5th grade. I'm not sure how I can be a teacher of writing and not think about reading this book aloud. What a beautiful model of all that is possible for writers. This book offers up so much to be discussed. My 5th graders deserve this book. They will rise to its level. Nothing compares so far...


message 44: by Jan (new)

Jan Bombeck | 4 comments Totally agree. If the Newbery Medal is about the BEST in children's literature, then Wolf Hollow wins hands down


message 45: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Nagel | 84 comments Well said and I agree!


Virginia (virginiap) | 32 comments

I listened to the audiobook of Wolf Hollow. It struck me as a beautifully written book with characters I found believable. I was definitely drawn to Annabelle, her mother, her father, and Toby. The story had a sense of foreboding to it that made me constantly on edge as to what we would learn or find next, and by the end I felt I knew what would happen, but hoped I was wrong. As many of you have pointed out, the ending is what it needed to be for the book to be as strong as it is.

So many things about this book to recommend it-- the beauty of the writing, the complete package of a sense of time and place, the excellent characterization, and the many opportunities for discussion that so many of you have alluded to. I found myself thinking that, in the political/social environment we find ourselves right now, this book speaks to a lot of the issues that are causing so much pain and grief and division in our world. This coming school year I will be teaching 3rd and 4th grade gifted/talented. If I were teaching the 5th grade class I was last year, I wouldn't hesitate to use this as a read-aloud. I'm going to have to see how much my 3rd graders from last year mature over the summer and into the first semester before I decide if I can share this with them. I definitely think it would have to be a read-aloud so we could appreciate all that's so great about it, but also to help the kids process the content.

This is one of the strongest books I've read-- for any age group-- in a long time.




Brenda | 54 comments When you dissect the parts of this story, it sounds very inappropriate, but the whole is fantastic. I felt so nervous for Annabelle through the whole story, but I didn't feel devastated at the loss of Betty. I was more hurt at Toby's loss of life considering he may have been innocent, but it brings to the front how we need to work to understand one another. I am a new elementary librarian and don't feel confident in my ability to navigate grade levels. I taught middle school for years, I wouldn't hesitate for a minute on reading aloud to 6th graders, what do the rest of you think for grades 4 & 5?


Becky | 31 comments Brenda wrote: "When you dissect the parts of this story, it sounds very inappropriate, but the whole is fantastic. I felt so nervous for Annabelle through the whole story, but I didn't feel devastated at the loss..."

I've taught fifth grade for years and will have no problem sharing this novel with them. They can definitely handle it.


message 49: by Mary HD (last edited Jan 19, 2017 11:42AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary HD (marymaclan) | 96 comments Loved this.

Beautifully written, with distinctive language appropriate to the protagonist. (Metaphors which seem to originate more in the author's imagination rather than the character's mind annoy me.)

A plot that presents important themes, but treats the main character, Annabelle, as a real girl, not a superhero. She wants to do the right thing but she can't always figure out what that is, and once she has muddled her way to a decision, isn't always brave enough to follow through. (Her parents' intuitive understanding of their daughter is refreshing.)

Also compelling is the mysterious recluse Toby. Since his backstory and motivations are never fully explained, many readers will finish the book and sit there reflecting on what they've just read. Did Annabelle accomplish something "good"? If she did, why did Toby act as he did? And why are people so frightened about things they don't understand? Thought-provoking on many levels.

An excellent book (for middle schoolers rather than middle graders) and certainly a Newbery contender.


Melody | 32 comments I just got done listening to the audio CD of this book. The narrator was wonderful, the story poignant. Truly loved listening and couldn't wait to get back in my car to hear more. Not all books should have happy endings and the author did right by not just putting a happy ending on this one. Life is difficult.


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