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Newbery Archive > The Honor Books from 1957 - D&A October 2018

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Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
I wonder how many of these we'll be able to find. Old Yeller, I imagine, is still in most libraries, but I know the others aren't locally avl to me.


message 3: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (last edited Oct 01, 2018 12:54PM) (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2483 comments Mod
I read Old Yeller years ago, so I don't think I will re-read it again.
Of the other books, I can get only House of Sixty Fathers and The Corn Grows Ripe (the only copy in our system is checked out til the middle of October), so I will try to get those books read.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
Thanks! I can probably get most of them through the university, but it's a pain and I don't know which would be worth the trouble.


message 5: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 39 comments I am sure you may have discussed this before, but why don't libraries have the full catalog of Newbery winners on hand? I am rather annoyed by that.

We have a great second hand bookstore in town with a fairly big children's section, so I was able to find 'The Corn Grows Ripe.' I read ' Black Fox of Lorne' on open library - and loved it! It's a perfect read for rambunctious, spirited boys. 'Old Yeller' I can get on overdrive. The other two I'll probably pass.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
We actually haven't really discussed it.
But we have been disturbed by the racism and other problems with some of these older books, and don't mourn their loss.

I assume that usually it's simply because libraries have limited funds and shelf space, and so to serve their patrons they have to choose the books that are most deserving of those resources. And by 'deserving' they mean 'will get checked out.'

And the majority of winners are in the majority of US public library systems. It's the honor books that are often more difficult to find.

University libraries will have more of the older and lesser-known books. They're more about protecting history. There are also archival libraries, including a wonderful one in Carson City NV that I really miss.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
Some of these might be avl. on openlibrary.org; I've not looked yet. Have any of you checked there?


message 8: by Michael (last edited Oct 01, 2018 08:07PM) (new)

Michael Fitzgerald | 367 comments I blame the public library's change in philosophy from being the "people's university" to being the "free Barnes & Noble". Many public libraries are only concerned with keeping what is popular. If it doesn't circulate in 5 years (or less), it simply gets tossed. There is no sense of history. And unfortunately, this is the case with many of the librarians, too. Their knowledge of their subject only goes back as far as Harry Potter and Twilight. (Which is generally sufficient since that's what's in their collections.) (Certainly there are wonderful exceptions, and I hope each and every of your local librarians is one. But I dread each retirement.)

I feel like I ranted about this here in the past, so check the archive for more details. [This thread - hopefully that link works.]


message 9: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2483 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "And by 'deserving' they mean 'will get checked out.'..."

Cheryl, you hit the proverbial nail right on the proverbial head. And I also agree with Michael. I am a children's librarian (but retiring soon), and my knowledge of children's literature does extend beyond Harry Potter and Twilight. While I don't mourn the loss of out-of-date non-fiction books, I feel much differently about fiction. While there are some older books that were racist or whatever, there were others that were not; and I don't like the fact that some librarians just throw books out willy nilly.


message 10: by Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish, Newbery Club host (last edited Oct 02, 2018 07:18AM) (new)

Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
"The people's university." I like that. If I ever find a public library with that mission, I will move to that community.

One advantage of my new home with this smaller under-funded library is that they do indeed keep some older books. I just found (for example) two Flicka Ricka Dicka books and a whole bunch of Dick Gackenbach, all in shoddy condition but still readable, on the shelves!


message 11: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 39 comments Cheryl wrote: "But we have been disturbed by the racism and other problems with some of these older books, and don't mourn their loss."

I agree. All you have is a snapshot of what caught the voting members' eye at the time. It doesn't necessarily transfer to a true winner and/or classic. Some of this stuff gets dated pretty quickly. Who knows what folks will think of the winners of today 50 years from now.

A while back I began to read a historical novel called Tempest and Sunshine published in 1854. I was aware that some racism would be part of it. Once I started, it became clear that it was simply vile, and I deleted the book. Yet Mary Jane Holmes was a successful author for her time.


message 12: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 39 comments Michael wrote: "I blame the public library's change in philosophy from being the "people's university" to being the "free Barnes & Noble".

LOL! Isn't that the truth! Not to go all philosophical here, but part of the problem is the notion of modernism that permeates our culture. Everything has to be new and improved, the wisdom of our elders is snow from last year. What is old(er) gets equated with being out-of-date. There is very little discernment over what has lasting value and what doesn't.


message 13: by Michael (new)

Michael Fitzgerald | 367 comments Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka (and Snipp, Snapp, and Snurr even more so) were essential parts of my youth. I borrowed them from my public library. And those books were at least three decades old then.


message 14: by Manybooks (last edited Oct 02, 2018 02:03PM) (new)

Manybooks | 7711 comments Mod
Kerstin wrote: "Michael wrote: "I blame the public library's change in philosophy from being the "people's university" to being the "free Barnes & Noble".

LOL! Isn't that the truth! Not to go all philosophical he..."


But strangely enough, it seems mostly today's parents who are all into modernism, for if children are exposed to classical children's literature, they usually love and appreciate it.

I know that many of my favourite books when I was a child (in Germany) were books that my grandmothers read as children, authors like Else Ury, Sibylle von Olfers, Gerd Bassewitz and later once we had moved to Canada, I discovered L.M. Montgomery, Francis Hodgson Burnett and Louisa May Alcott. Sure, I also much loved the 70s and 80s contemporary (for me) authors like Judy Blume and Paula Danziger, but our family always insisted on us trying different authors from different time periods.


message 15: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2483 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka (and Snipp, Snapp, and Snurr even more so) were essential parts of my youth. I borrowed them from my public library. And those books were at least three decades old then."

I was also a fan of both sets of triplets when I was a child.


message 16: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 1828 comments Please don't assume all libraries are the same. Many libraries have limited funds available and choose which books to buy very carefully. My city has only one large public library with a large population of English language learners. The capital city library is the same thing. They have made use of space for language learning programs, job skills training, programs and community services. They also have lots of books and the whole state is connected to one system. Some libraries move old books to special collections where they can still be read and appreciated. Consider the fact that old books wear out. Many are no longer in print and most public libraries can't afford to buy used antique books that won't get checked out. If the library doesn't belong to a consortium then only the most popular books may be available or like my former neighborhood branch-ONLY the OLD books are available! I had to request anything new. Then they weeded the reference collection and sold off the children's non-fiction collection and then they closed.

Consider my statewide library system. Of the books on this list only Mr. Judson has limited availability. Some copies are library use only.

Old Yeller is available as a reprint from 1990
House of Sixty Fathers is widely available as a reprint from 1987
The Corn Grows Ripe has 4 copies available, 2 checked out and 1 Library use only
Black Fox has 1 copy of 5 checked out

Don't blame the public libraries for changing taste in literature.
Kids have way more outside influences than any of us ever had. They're bombarded by media images left and right. They have cable, On Demand/Netflix/Amazon/YouTube/the internet. They also have more homework and more after school activities. They read the books that they're told to read and don't have time for extra reading. Blame the education system as well because literature is not emphasized. It's all about STEM now. Being a reader doesn't get you a job or at least not a good paying one.

Graphic novels are super hot with tweens right now but some tweens DO know and appreciate classic literature if someone takes the time to teach them to appreciate it. I took my nieces to Louisa May Alcott's house and they loved it and were eager to read Little Women. They're too young for that right now but hopefully in a few years. I promised them a young kids' version for now.


message 17: by Steve (new)

Steve Shilstone | 185 comments Cheryl wrote: "I wonder how many of these we'll be able to find. Old Yeller, I imagine, is still in most libraries, but I know the others aren't locally avl to me."

How I missed Old Yeller when I was 12 I'll never know, having read all the Terhune, Kjelgaard, London and anybody else putting paw print to page I could get my hands on at that time. Better late than never. Wonderful book. 19th century Texas boy first person narrative rings true. Plows straight forward with no frills to tell his tale.


message 18: by Michael (new)

Michael Fitzgerald | 367 comments If the library doesn't have the book on the shelf, then no one is going to find it to read it. I'm glad that a system has a copy in special collections - it's better than having nothing, but who has the time to go to the library to sit and read an entire book (or do it in multiple visits)? BTW, what state? (My personal experiences are in NJ, NY, MD, DC, VA, and NC).

I certainly won't put all of the blame on the library, but they can have a healthy share. The education system certainly gets some too, as do the other things you mention.

I find it interesting that Steve and I (and a number of other people I've met) all devoured those dog books in the same way. There was just something addictive about them at that particular stage as a reader - you just wanted to read all of them. Again, I'm thankful that my public library had a dozen or more waiting for me to check them out.


message 19: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7711 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "If the library doesn't have the book on the shelf, then no one is going to find it to read it. I'm glad that a system has a copy in special collections - it's better than having nothing, but who ha..."

I also find it interesting that while many boys devoured dog books, with girls (myself included), it was often horse stories.


message 20: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (last edited Oct 02, 2018 08:14PM) (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2483 comments Mod
I devoured Terhune (my favorite), Kjelgaard, Walter Farley, Marguerite Henry, Mary O'Hara, and any other dog and horse stories I could get my mitts on. I still do, but I read a lot more non-fiction about dogs and horses now than I did as a child.


message 21: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob) (jenisnotabooksnob) | 170 comments Kerstin wrote: "I am sure you may have discussed this before, but why don't libraries have the full catalog of Newbery winners on hand? I am rather annoyed by that.

We have a great second hand bookstore in town ..."


I can answer that for you. I work in a public library and have read most of the Newbery winners. Many are problematic and not suitable for reading by children unless there is an engaged adult who will explain some of the more problematic content.

What do I do with Paula Fox's Slave Dancer? It's a juvenile fiction book, but, features several instances of the use of the N word and what amounts to basically descriptions of cruelty and near torture. I haven't deleted our copy, it's ugly enough and old enough where no one would select it unless someone told them about it or for an adult reading through the Newbery winners. But, when it's gone I doubt we will order another one. If we did, it would have to end up in the adult section.
Beyond that, sometimes books are never republished and our copy is ruined and then we simply don't have the book anymore.
In the case of some books, nobody wanted to read them for years and they ended up weeded. I don't know how to get people to read older books. Parents don't want to preread and you pretty much have to with older books.


message 22: by Manybooks (last edited Oct 03, 2018 10:34AM) (new)

Manybooks | 7711 comments Mod
Jennifer wrote: "Kerstin wrote: "I am sure you may have discussed this before, but why don't libraries have the full catalog of Newbery winners on hand? I am rather annoyed by that.

We have a great second hand bo..."


It is really sad and lazy that many parents do not want to preread (but of course, they will then hit the roof if a book their child is reading is deemed inappropriate). I do not have children, but I know that my sister always preread every book before my nieces got to read it (until they were teenagers, and no, she generally did not forbid her daughters reading what they wanted, she just wanted to make sure that potential issues would be discussed, but she did make my oldest niece wait until she was older than twelve for the Harry Potter books because when she read the first book to her when she was ten, my niece had terrible nightmares). And with many classic children's novels my sister also asked me for advice about how to discuss problematic issues (like the racism in the Little House on the Prairie series and some German series from the 1920s, as I had had them read to me as a young child and had also reread them in my early 20s for a university course on international children's literature).


message 23: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 39 comments QNPoohBear and Jennifer, you both make good points. Once you get behind the scenes and into the nitty gritty of it the world looks very different.


message 24: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 39 comments Manybooks wrote: "I know that many of my favourite books when I was a child (in Germany) were books that my grandmothers read as children, authors like Else Ury, Sibylle von Olfers, Gerd Bassewitz."

OHHH! I only know Else Ury. I have the kindle version of her 'Gesammelte Werke' (collected works). I don't know the other two, I have to check them out! As kids we didn't have too many children's books, I recall Astrid Lindgren, Erich Kästner, Otfried Preußler. My younger sister inherited most of them, she didn't move to the US :)


message 25: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 39 comments Oh, I know Peterchens Mondfahrt :)


message 26: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7711 comments Mod
Kerstin wrote: "Manybooks wrote: "I know that many of my favourite books when I was a child (in Germany) were books that my grandmothers read as children, authors like Else Ury, Sibylle von Olfers, Gerd Bassewitz...."

Etwas von den Wurzelkindern by Sibylle von Olfers (and other picture books by her, just lovely).

Peterchens Mondfahrt by Gerdt von Bassewitz


message 27: by Manybooks (last edited Oct 03, 2018 11:15AM) (new)

Manybooks | 7711 comments Mod
Kerstin wrote: "Oh, I know Peterchens Mondfahrt :)"

When I was writing my PhD dissertation on German expressionist author Paul Zech, I realised that the illustrator of Peterchens Mondfahrt, Hans Baluscheck also did most of the portraits of my author, of Paul Zech.


message 28: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7711 comments Mod
Kerstin wrote: "Manybooks wrote: "I know that many of my favourite books when I was a child (in Germany) were books that my grandmothers read as children, authors like Else Ury, Sibylle von Olfers, Gerd Bassewitz...."

When we moved to Canada, my father made me leave much of my German books behind.

My favourite German authors are likely Erich Kästner and Michael Ende.


message 29: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 1828 comments My experience with public libraries and library school and public education is in southern New England. We have lots of universities here and if a student is given an assignment to read a book they can't get in the stacks, then they will ask for it. The state university has a whole collection of old juvenile books available for check out at the continuing education campus or request through the main campus. Many of the books with controversial subjects are read in classrooms and that's what leads to challenging and banning books. Most parents these days work and many don't have time to pre-read and discuss.

Adults today think kids are sensitive flowers and also extremely stupid. We all read the classics and understood enough to know that things like blackface and the n word are not polite and kind. Sadly, in a survey of 4th graders, they have no clue what a slave is/who picked cotton. Yet 2nd and 3rd graders know if you prompt them with a clue about the Underground Railroad. History isn't taught in schools as much and that leads to not understanding the attitudes of the past and not reading the classics because they're dated.

My cool aunt status has translated finally into an interest in history and reading! I try to balance the books I gave them: one classic and one modern book they would choose for themselves. I agree about Harry Potter. I told my nieces to wait until they're at least 11. The movie was scary for older niece when she was younger. Her cousin isn't as sensitive but I think she just wouldn't yet appreciate the nuances of the story.


message 30: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7711 comments Mod
QNPoohBear wrote: "My experience with public libraries and library school and public education is in southern New England. We have lots of universities here and if a student is given an assignment to read a book they..."

I agree with how you have assessed many modern parents. And you see the same problems with publishing houses "updating" 1970s and 1980s books to include emails, iPads and such even though this technology makes the whole novel sound annoyingly anachronistic and in my opinion is an insult to children.

Yes indeed, when I read classic German children's literature from the 20s or classic British children's fare and read about people described as coloured or even using the N word, even as a child reader, I knew that this was a sign of the times and not acceptable to use. And if anyone really thinks that NOT teaching children history warts and all is acceptable and good teaching, sorry, but at best that is naive and at worst it paints a very much wrong picture of the past.


message 31: by Manybooks (last edited Oct 03, 2018 12:14PM) (new)

Manybooks | 7711 comments Mod
QNPoohBear wrote: "My experience with public libraries and library school and public education is in southern New England. We have lots of universities here and if a student is given an assignment to read a book they..."

I talked to my older niece about the Harry Potter rules my sister had, and she totally agreed with them as she really did get nightmares after the first book (she is now 19 and has read the series but she still finds like me in fact the last books pretty dark and scary, great writing but scary).


message 32: by Michael (new)

Michael Fitzgerald | 367 comments I think it's ludicrous that The Slave Dancer, a novel published - not in 1873, but in 1973 - that was highly acclaimed for its depiction of slavery should, in less than 50 years' time, be treated as unworthy of being part of a library collection (and not by outsiders, but by librarians). Looks to me like it's readily available (in paperback), so scarcity is not an argument here.

This is not a racist book. Are there racist characters? Yes, there are. But isn't that historically accurate? So what is the problem? Too much truth? Do we eliminate all examples of racism in historical fiction? What does that accomplish? Do we believe that the author intended for us to read the book and think that slavery was a good thing and that we should idolize and emulate those racist characters?

I can't imagine that one learns the evils of slavery by avoiding the topic or by reducing it to bland generalities. Was there cruelty and sadism? Yes! Yes, there was. And we should be able to acknowledge it so we can condemn it. I would say that Fox's approach is very age appropriate; it's not an adult novel at all. That a single offensive term appears in it and therefore it can't be seen - this is how some have attacked Huck Finn. And I vehemently disagree with that too.

I'm not arguing that the book is without flaws, that it is the best book in the world, or that it should be the last word on slavery for child readers, but I do bristle at the idea that it doesn't merit inclusion in today's libraries.

A good article on Fox and the book.


message 33: by Manybooks (last edited Oct 03, 2018 12:26PM) (new)

Manybooks | 7711 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "I think it's ludicrous that The Slave Dancer, a novel published - not in 1873, but in 1973 - that was highly acclaimed for its depiction of slavery should, in less than 50 years' time, be treated a..."

Keeping children ignorant of the past means that there is the danger of repeating it (a trite platitude but still true).

Slavery, racism, the Holocaust are part of the past and they will not disappear by being ignored or deemed as being inappropriate to use in children's literature (any literature).


message 34: by Jennifer (last edited Oct 03, 2018 02:30PM) (new)

Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob) (jenisnotabooksnob) | 170 comments Michael wrote: "I think it's ludicrous that The Slave Dancer, a novel published - not in 1873, but in 1973 - that was highly acclaimed for its depiction of slavery should, in less than 50 years' time, be treated a..."

First, I'm not a librarian, I'm just a lowly assistant. Even so, I've read more of the Newbery winners than the rest of the department.

Have you actually read "The Slave Dancer" recently? It isn't in your read books list, but, I know that doesn't necessarily mean you haven't read it lately. I have read it quite recently. Do you work with children, particularly middle grade children that this book was purportedly for? I do.

This book treats slaves like nonhumans for pretty much the entire book. While the main character is sympathetic to them, it's more in the way one would be sympathetic to a beaten dog.

It is a really intense book. It is a harsh book, it is the juvenile fiction equivalent of a snuff film. Between that and the language, it really belongs over in the adult department. Slavery is a very important topic and I would never suggest removing books because they are about slavery, the holocaust or any other similar topic. I actually liked the Slave Dancer. It's just a book that needs some parental guidance. Our library is near a C or D rated school, there is no parental discussion happening for these kids.

The middle school kids who come to our library asked about the holocaust because they'd never heard about it until anti-Semitic speech became popular again leading up to the last presidential election. We had kids calling each other "Jew" as a derisive term and I made sure they each got a book about the holocaust. It didn't completely cure the problem, but, it helped.

Slave Dancer is just one example. I just read Onion John and that was a cringe-y read for a totally different reason. I'm not going to go out and delete it, but, I'm not going to encourage a replacement copy when we can just get a copy of a more inclusive work of fiction.


message 35: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 1828 comments Many of today's children's book award winners deal with today's issues instead of the past. As a historian, this drives me crazy. History is important too and many of today's issues have their roots in the past. Why can't there be good books about both history and modern times? History is sadly not a strong part of the Common Core curriculum in the U.S. Teachers don't have the freedom to teach what they want anymore and I strongly suspect award winning books align with whatever it is they teach in schools these days. I kind of wanted to take reading interests of children but since I chose to focus on archives/special collections in library school, that didn't fit into my schedule.


message 36: by Manybooks (last edited Oct 03, 2018 08:26PM) (new)

Manybooks | 7711 comments Mod
QNPoohBear wrote: "Many of today's children's book award winners deal with today's issues instead of the past. As a historian, this drives me crazy. History is important too and many of today's issues have their root..."

That is unfortunately also an issue in many other countries and not just with regard to history either. In Ontario, for example, school boards have supposedly decided that students do no longer need to be taught basic grammar, with the result that when I am teaching a first year university German language course, I often have to teach remedial general grammar (in English) when introducing a new German grammar point, as so many of my students (except those who have had the opportunity to take Latin or indeed former ESL students) often do not even know the what the subject and/or the direct object of a sentence are and that verbs describe actions.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
The Corn Grows Ripe is, like many Newberys, historical. We may indeed cringe at the slash and burn technique of farming practiced by Tigre's community, but in the day it was the most effective known. And we can still applaud the people for their courage, their work ethic, their honor, and their strong family ties.

It is interesting that the family supports Tigre's determination to keep up with his schooling for fear of fines from the government, but at the same time the teacher recognizes that Tigre is an apt pupil, eager to and capable of learning.

Also interesting is the combination, the mish-mash, of Christian and Mayan beliefs.

There is no author's note, but Rhoads, in the dedication, credits her sister for sympathetic knowledge of the Mayan culture.

A short read, engaging enough, probably accurate enough.


message 38: by Michael (new)

Michael Fitzgerald | 367 comments OK, I just finished The Slave Dancer so I would have it fresh in my mind. I am now a university librarian, so I don't work with children any more (apart from my own), but prior to that I taught high school, then elementary school. I've spent a couple decades in the company of young readers so I am not an outsider.

Jennifer, I concur with much of your assessment. It is an intense book. It is a harsh book. The slaves are treated as nonhumans for much of the book (though it's very notable that we get the section with the old man at the end).

I disagree that Jessie views the slaves as he would animals, not even in the beginning. We are told that initially he is curious when he gets a glimpse of a slave auction in New Orleans. His other experience is briefly seeing Star, the black woman in the doorway. We do see his attitude change as he witnesses more and more of the atrocities. But in any event, while I do think that Fox intentionally created a child narrator in order to tell the story for children, I do not accept the idea that readers are only allowed to respond in the way that Jessie does. Whether he (or any other character) is sympathetic enough to the plight of the slaves or not isn't all that important. For the most part, it seems that Jessie is there to serve as our eyes. As readers, we are asked to make judgments based on the information that his testimony provides. Each reader will take the descriptions and the details that Jessie presents in his narrative and respond individually.

That said, do we really believe that anyone who finishes this book will come away with the idea that slavery is a good thing? Not with passages such as that found on p.70 - "It's not drink," I protested. "It's the kidnapping of these Africans that turns everyone round!" And I looked with growing fear toward that shore which lay behind the turbulent waves whose ghostly white crests were visible in the darkness. I thought of the pyre of the barracoon, empty beneath a moonless sky that now and then let drop a brief weak fall of rain. I thought of the African kings setting upon each other's tribes to capture the men and women - and children for all I knew - who would be bartered for spirits and tobacco and arms, who would, any night now, be dropped into the holds of this ship. And all at once, I saw clearly before me, like a shadow cast on a sail, the woman by the garden in New Orleans, Star, standing so quietly in the doorway. The world, I told myself, was as wicked a place as our parson had said, although he was a great fool."

Back to the idea of collections - I don't agree with the idea that libraries should only collect books that library staff believe are "safe" enough to be read without parental involvement. I think that doesn't give children enough credit. I also don't believe that there are books that can't be read independently. Every reader will come at them differently. Every reader will come away with something different. That's the beauty of it.

Lastly, I'm not sure what a library collection with only "inclusive" books would be like. Every book doesn't include every person and doesn't treat every person the same, and there is nothing wrong with that. We learn from both the heroes and villains. We learn from people who look like us and those who don't; from people who think like us and those who don't. There's nothing wrong with books that are "exclusive" - a story that is about one person is necessarily a story *not* about all people. The buzzword of "diversity" is often thrown about, but individual books are not diverse. And book collections of only "diverse" books could very well be less diverse and more monolithic.


message 39: by Manybooks (last edited Oct 13, 2018 07:21PM) (new)

Manybooks | 7711 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "OK, I just finished The Slave Dancer so I would have it fresh in my mind. I am now a university librarian, so I don't work with children any more (apart from my own), but prior to th..."

I have not had the chance to read this novel (The Slave Dancer), but I would have to agree with especially the last part of your comment. And furthermore just to be clear, everyone has triggers that make him or her potentially uncomfortable and if libraries (including those geared primarily towards children) were to strive to remove any book that might serve as a potential trigger then there would be precious few if any left on the shelves. And readers, including younger readers (as well as their parents who often actually seem to have more issues with possible triggers than their children do) really do need to be able to learn how to deal with and tolerate material they might find potentially offensive and uncomfortable. For example, due to my German background, I sometimes get a trifle annoyed that far too many English language children's or young adult novels featuring German thematics naturally deal with WWII and the Holocaust, but I would never consider (and I also would have never as a child considered) said topic to be something that should be avoided in children's books, no, rather the opposites is the case for me (except that I would definitely like to see a few more books for younger audiences penned in English on Germany, Germans and German Americans/Canadians that do not feature WWII as their main topic).


message 40: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2483 comments Mod
Michael wrote: Lastly, I'm not sure what a library collection with only "inclusive" books would be like..."

I really appreciated your comments on this topic, and agree with them. I had a similar reaction to people coming to the library and asking for "multicultural" books, when that isn't what they really wanted--a book about several cultures in it. They used the term to mean they wanted books that were exclusively about African Americans or Hispanic Americans, instead of a book about several ethnic groups.


message 41: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7711 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "The Corn Grows Ripe is, like many Newberys, historical. We may indeed cringe at the slash and burn technique of farming practiced by Tigre's community, but in the day it was the most ..."

I just got my copy of the book and from just quickly skimming it, I do not think I will like the illustrations all that much but hope that I am going to enjoy the story itself.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
Talk about a horror story. There's nothing of the supernatural in The House of Sixty Fathers but rather it's all too real. And apparently the real life situation that inspired this doesn't even have the happy-ish ending that the book has.

I wonder how it got published. I certainly don't know how it could now.

A fairly quick read that will haunt a reader for a long time.

(Unfortunately, there are not many pages spent on the title setting. But I can't imagine any other title fitting, can you?)


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
So who's at all familiar with Old Yeller? I've never even seen the movie. All I know is that it was one of the inspirations for No More Dead Dogs.

Mostly while I was reading it I was thinking it was kinda "Little House' for boys. Maybe something like 'Where the Red Fern Grows' which I will not dignify with a link because I despise it. I just can't see life from that perspective. Mama didn't get near enough credit for her hard work and sacrifices in any of these books, I know that much.


message 44: by QNPoohBear (last edited Oct 17, 2018 06:12PM) (new)

QNPoohBear | 1828 comments I watched the Disney movie version of Old Yeller and that was WAY more than enough trauma for me. I can't read the book. All I remember about it is the end.

(view spoiler)


message 45: by Manybooks (last edited Oct 17, 2018 06:17PM) (new)

Manybooks | 7711 comments Mod
QNPoohBear wrote: "I watched the Disney movie version of Old Yeller and that was WAY more than enough trauma for me. I can't read the book. All I remember about it is the end.


Not going to read it either, as I already had my fill with Where the Red Fern Grows (which we both read for school and watched the movie).


message 46: by Justine (last edited Oct 21, 2018 01:56PM) (new)

Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 50 comments I just finished The House of Sixty Fathers. This was the only book I could find from my local library out of the list. And I am really glad I found it. The horrors of war was told in a sympathetic way, and the illustrations are simple but impactful.

I was very pleased to read about the rural farming Chinese as I have written a book in a similar setting. In fact I wish I had come across this book when I was writing it a few years ago, rather than a few months before its launch. Coincidentally, my book is also about a boy and his pig. So I was heartened to read about Tien Po's relationship with his pig, the children carrying baskets on their backs, and even Tien Po and his pig sitting inside these baskets, even though my book is set about 60 years later than the story in this book.

The only thing that bothers me it was the names. The boy's name is Tien Po . Straightaway, as a Mandarin speaker, I know what his name is in Chinese characters, and I know what Tien Po means. Strangely, having named our main character in the Chinese spoken way (ie pronounced Tien Po), the author then went on to name his sister and the pet pig in a translation way, the very clunky sounding 'Beauty-of-the-Republic' and 'Glory-of-the-Republic'. Non-Mandarin readers will know what their names mean, but not know what it sounds like in Chinese. 'Of-the-Republic' is not a name I have come across before, so I also could not place what single character was used for this, nor what I would have called them if I spoke in Mandarin to them. I have asked on social media and no one is able to provide me with an answer. I wish I could ask the author what made him decide to name Tien Po one way, but his sister and pig another.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
Good point with the names.
So, what does Tien Po mean literally?

(The book may have said, but I've forgotten.)


message 48: by Justine (new)

Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 50 comments Tien Po means Heaven’s Treasure, or if you wanted to write it in the same format as DeJong, Treasure-of-the-Heavens.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
Oh, sweet. Thank you!


message 50: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7711 comments Mod
The Corn Grows Ripe

If I were to simply rate Dorothy Rhoads' 1956 The Corn Grows Ripe (one of the Newbery Honours for 1957) uncritically and as a story in and of itself, I most probably would be considering a high three star ranking (but most definitely not as yet four stars, as aesthetically speaking, Jean Charlot's accompanying illustrations are just not all that visually pleasing to and for my eyes). For even considering issues regarding potential datedness etc. and that the author is obviously, is clearly writing about a culture that is not her own, Tigre's struggles to prepare his family's corn fields when his father breaks his leg and is unable to work are uplifting, engaging and encouraging. And even though I might indeed and well kind of cringe a trifle at the slash and burn farming practices depicted and described in the Corn Grows Ripe, let us be honest and face the truth here that this type of agriculture was basically how ALL farming used to be and that even the wheat, corn, canola fields of today in developed, in so-called first world nations originally had to be taken from often virgin forests (just like how Tigre has to cut down and burn trees in order to end up with the corn field his family requires to survive, to live).

However, and that all having been said, there are in my opinion simply too too many factual mistakes with regard to especially Catholic feast days shown in Dorothy Rhoads' narrative for me to consider granting more than a high two star rating at best for The Corn is Ripe. And no, I am not trying to be curmudgeonly and unnecessarily pedantic here, but come on, if you are going to be using specific calendar dates for Catholic feast days and the like, you should at least do the required research to get the dates right. And I personally also cannot understand how the author could have made such a huge mistake with regard to Saint John's Day, how Dorothy Rhoads could place the day in February when it is in late June, on June 24th (and this is also and indeed just one example of such an oversight, of such an error, and I am also now left wondering whether the author, whether Dorothy Rhoads has equally gotten some if not perhaps even much of the specifically Mayan cultural information wrong, as when I find such errors in a given book, I of course and naturally will also wonder whether there are more). Not at all a bad or in any way an inappropriate story (and actually in many ways a sweetly delightful, readable and encouraging tale, with important messages and lessons) is The Corn Grows Ripe, but I personally just cannot consider more than two stars for not only such blatant factual errors but especially with regard to the erroneous calendar dates of and for so many of the specifically Catholic feast days, for errors that even rudimentary research of any Catholic church calendar could so easily have avoided.


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