Mock Newbery 2023 discussion

222 views
Newbery 2019 > June Read - The Parker Inheritance

Comments Showing 1-39 of 39 (39 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Jorgensen (sunnie) | 589 comments Mod
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson. The perfect book to kick off summer... what did you think of it?


message 2: by Alexa (new)

Alexa L (hersheygirl68) | 3 comments I thought this one was really fun with solving the puzzles, but also had a serious enough plot to make it worth the read. I think I will book talk this, but I'm not sure about it's Newbery quality. I could see it as an honor maybe, but not a winner.


message 3: by Kate (new)

Kate | 187 comments THE PARKER INHERITANCE provides an homage to The Westing Game, a 1979 Newbery winner by Ellen Raskin. But Varian Johnson also has another story to tell in this book: a tale of bigotry, racial violence and unrealized potential.

The format makes reading complex, as several characters take center stage during different time periods from 1914 to 2007. The story unwinds non-sequentially and I sometimes found it difficult to keep track of the events.

One storyline that I found unique was the multi-racial character who chose to “pass for white” in the period before the civil rights law was enacted. I haven’t seen many children’s books explore the reasons for or consequences of that decision.


message 4: by Czechgirl (new)

Czechgirl | 214 comments I really liked this book, and I think it would make a perfect read aloud book in classrooms. The story has a little bit of everything--it has a great adventure, mystery story to it along with important other aspects that a classroom could discuss--racism, bullying, "passing as a white person" and LGBTQ topics. I am like Alexa. It makes a great read, but I am not pulling for this book as the win. I think it would be more appropriately named as an honor book.


message 5: by LauraW (new)

LauraW (lauralynnwalsh) | 108 comments I am having trouble plowing through this one. It just isn't making me care a lot. Part of the problem is that I am not a mysteries person. I didn't like The Westing Game, either. I will probably DNF it.


message 6: by Ana (new)

Ana Marlatt | 72 comments It took me a while to really get into the groove of this book... and at the end, it was okay. I don’t see it winning the Newbery. The Education of Little Charlie is a better contender as far as the racial issues are concerned. The truth is that, although there is a lot to like about this book, there is also A LOT going on! Maybe too much? I enjoyed the flashbacks and the overall structure of the book, but there was a lot of issues in the plot. I think kids might lose interest if there is so much to keep track of. I also think this book is recommended to an older crowd, not elementary kids. The “puzzle” was not that much of a puzzle to solve. Most of the clues and getting to the puzzle takes place through the historical flashbacks. I think I would have enjoyed the book more of the author had picked 1 or maybe 2 issues to include in the book.


message 7: by LauraW (new)

LauraW (lauralynnwalsh) | 108 comments I agree that maybe there is too much going on in the book for me. I have this problem with a lot of modern books for older children and teens. They have to have such extremes - and so many of them. Not just a simple illness and difficulty with recovering, but cancer with parents getting divorced and a gay uncle whose partner is accused of murder and a best friend who is taking drugs, and on and on. I sometimes just re-read old books to get a simpler take on life.


message 8: by Tamara (new)

Tamara | 28 comments As a classroom teacher, I’m excited by all of the great conversations we will have about The Parker Inheritance. Like Czechgirl said, it has a bit of everything. I also agree that the timeline is difficult to follow, so it’s a great opportunity to look at strategies for that.

One additional aspect, completely unrelated to the Newbery. Many teachers will be reading Ellin Keene’s new book, Engaging Children, this summer. In it she talks about the four pillars of engagement that we can help children learn to recognize so that they can re-engage themselves in learning. Candice and Brandon provide lots of quality examples of this process in action.

As for the Newbery, one thing I’ve learned since I joined this group is that I’m hopeless at predicting what will be chosen, but it’s always fun reading all of the books and trying to guess!


message 9: by Linda (new)

Linda | 23 comments Tamara wrote: "As a classroom teacher, I’m excited by all of the great conversations we will have about The Parker Inheritance. Like Czechgirl said, it has a bit of everything. I also agree that the timeline is d..."

Hi Tamara, would you recommend Engaging Children for librarians? I am a public librarian and looking for ways to talk to parents about how to go deeper with the natural curiosity kids have and how to direct kids to finding out more. Just wondering if it is more for classroom use or offers solid talking points to share with caregivers and things to pop into programs. Thanks!


message 10: by Tamara (new)

Tamara | 28 comments Linda wrote: "Tamara wrote: "As a classroom teacher, I’m excited by all of the great conversations we will have about The Parker Inheritance. Like Czechgirl said, it has a bit of everything. I also agree that th..."

Linda, I’ll describe Engaging Children a bit, so you can decide if it might be useful to you in your work with families. Ellin’s premise is that since engagement is critical to deep learning, we should explicitly teach kids how to engage, model it for them, and provide lots of examples.

Ellin makes the case for four pillars of engagement: Intellectual Urgency, Emotional Resonance, Perspective Bending, and the Aesthetic World. Making students aware of these pillars, the facets of each, and how to access them gives learners the power to engage or re-engage when their focus drifts. Then the choice to engage or not is always theirs. The whole idea resonates with me in the spirit of learning how to learn.

It seems to me that it would be valuable information, if only for being even more intentional about which texts might best hook readers and make them want to find out more.


message 11: by Linda (last edited Jun 11, 2018 12:26PM) (new)

Linda | 23 comments Tamara wrote: "Linda wrote: "Tamara wrote: "As a classroom teacher, I’m excited by all of the great conversations we will have about The Parker Inheritance. Like Czechgirl said, it has a bit of everything. I also..."

Thanks! I think I'll order it. It really is all about learning how to learn and what better place to support this outside of school than the library?

BTW, I'm just getting into the Parker Inheritance and really like it so far. I have recommended it to several kiddos already. The historical back story is most intriguing to me and I love the puzzle solving aspect. I am always looking for African American author and characters that are part of a really great story in contemporary times.


message 12: by Laura (last edited Jun 11, 2018 12:35PM) (new)

Laura Harrison | 422 comments Linda wrote: "Tamara wrote: "Linda wrote: "Tamara wrote: "As a classroom teacher, I’m excited by all of the great conversations we will have about The Parker Inheritance. Like Czechgirl said, it has a bit of eve..."

I think you will like Lesa Cline-Ransome's upcoming historical middle grade novel entitled Finding Langston. Here is the synopsis:

When 11-year-old Langston's mother dies in 1946, he and his father leave rural Alabama for Chicago's brown belt as a part of what came to be known as the Great Migration. It's lonely in the small apartment with just the two of them, and at school Langston is bullied. But his new home has one fantastic thing. Unlike the whites-only library in Alabama, the local public library welcomes everyone. There, hiding out after school, Langston discovers another Langston, a poet whom he learns inspired his mother enough to name her only son after him.


message 13: by Leigh Anne (new)

Leigh Anne | 3 comments Tamara wrote: "Linda wrote: "Tamara wrote: "As a classroom teacher, I’m excited by all of the great conversations we will have about The Parker Inheritance. Like Czechgirl said, it has a bit of everything. I also..."

Would you recommend for middle school teachers?


message 14: by Linda (new)

Linda | 23 comments Laura wrote: "Linda wrote: "Tamara wrote: "Linda wrote: "Tamara wrote: "As a classroom teacher, I’m excited by all of the great conversations we will have about The Parker Inheritance. Like Czechgirl said, it ha..."

Ohhh, that does sound good. I'll be on the look out for it.


message 15: by Tamara (new)

Tamara | 28 comments Leigh Anne wrote: "Tamara wrote: "Linda wrote: "Tamara wrote: "As a classroom teacher, I’m excited by all of the great conversations we will have about The Parker Inheritance. Like Czechgirl said, it has a bit of eve..."

I think The Parker Inheritance would be a great middle school choice. Or were you thinking about Engaging Children? It, too, would be great for MS teachers.


message 16: by Leigh Anne (new)

Leigh Anne | 3 comments Tamara wrote: "Leigh Anne wrote: "Tamara wrote: "Linda wrote: "Tamara wrote: "As a classroom teacher, I’m excited by all of the great conversations we will have about The Parker Inheritance. Like Czechgirl said, ..."

Yes, I meant Engaging Children and replied to the wrong post. Sorry!


message 17: by Jenn (new)

Jenn (jennmonk) | 41 comments I really enjoyed the mystery and intricacy of this book. For now, it is probably my top choice for the award. I found the characters realistic and relatable. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Mock Newbery group I run responds to it. We'll be reading it in the Fall.


message 18: by Cara (new)

Cara | 21 comments I really enjoyed this book. As everyone else is saying, it has a little bit of everything, but none of the elements felt forced. The puzzle aspect makes this a very smart book, and I enjoyed the references to The Westing Game, but I also appreciated that you didn't have to have read that book. I listened to the audiobook of The Parker Inheritance, and it was very well done.


message 19: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 57 comments I enjoyed this story. I loved the historical part and those characters were more compelling to me than Candace and her friend. The idea of fear of showing who you really are presented itself repeatedly and could be a stepping stone to lots of conversations. I don’t know if it feels like a Newbery book, but it is unique. I certainly have not predicted the last Newbery’s.


message 20: by Mary (new)

Mary | 28 comments I think this title could be a contender. The Parker Inheritance is so rich, spanning the three time periods. Designing the book with black (her grandmother's time), white (Candice's time), and gray (the 1950's) was a help in switching between these periods. Candice and Brandon's persistence and inventiveness over this complex puzzle is inspiring. While racial prejudices of the 1950's may have been more overt, we can see how these prejudices still affect these characters in our day. Having James Parker join the narrative topped off the whole story.


message 21: by Reving (new)

Reving | 106 comments Really enjoyed this one! Worthy in my opinion! http://revingsblog.blogspot.com/2018/...


message 22: by Caren (new)

Caren (carenb) | 33 comments Too much happening. He put the entire kitchen sink into it. Needed a lot of self editing.
Def not for my elementary students.
I’m tired of books being considered, in what seems like solely by current social issues. It’s like it it does, we must put it at the top of our lists for consideration, and if we don’t, we must be biased in some way. It seems many of the library groups, especially the ALA, think the books that highlight what are considered the relevant social issues, that those books should be placed on top of our consideration lists.
Why can’t they ever consider a well written, fun story? No social statements, just a great story.
I once listened to a person who was on a Newbery committee tell us that at least they didn’t choose a book that had a talking elephant and gorilla in it. I then responded, “ You mean you wouldn’t want to chose a book that kids actually read?!” He refused to respond.
And before, anyone calls me conservative, I assure I’m not one bit.


message 23: by Isaac Reuben (new)

Isaac Reuben (isaacthebookkeeper) | 32 comments I had high expectations for The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson. It sounded like the kind of book I love – friends uncovering a mystery and solving puzzles!

Initially, it reminded me of The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, which I adore. However, it took me a long time to get invested in the characters and their story. Also, I found Brandon more interesting, likable, and relatable than Candice. Moreover, the puzzle component confused me (I never really felt like I got it…).

Thankfully, the historical chapters going back in time were exceptional!! I liked these chapters much more than the other parts of the book. Admittedly, I thought the ending was excellent, though, and I really enjoyed it!! However, in my opinion, it took way to long to get there!

If I had not finished reading The Parker Inheritance, I am pretty sure I would not have classified it as Newbery material. While I liked it, it was not what I expected. However, with its redeeming ending, I think it could have Newbery potential. It just will not be at the top of my Newbery winner/honor list…


message 24: by Scott (new)

Scott McIlquham | 21 comments I thought this was an excellent treasure hunt/mystery with loads of historical and mathematical clues/references and a thought-provoking snapshot of life in the South during the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950's. The style of storytelling reminds me of cross between "Holes" and "Chasing Vermeer". The only reason I didn't give a 5 star rating was that it seemed to me that the author tried a little too hard to include absolutely EVERY current social hot-button issue in the story - I thought it was sufficiently challenging and complex without inserting overt bullying and LGBTQIA themes into the plot. I rate this for 5th grade +


message 25: by Susie (new)

Susie (susiepurdue) | 34 comments I agree. It needed some editing; it seemed to change course a few times.


message 26: by Barb (new)

Barb | 35 comments I’m having a difficult time with staying motivated to finish this book - I’m simply plodding along, hoping it will grab me at some juncture. Halfway through it, still not there. I’m hard pressed to see this as Newbery material.


message 27: by Jordan (new)

Jordan Henrichs | 16 comments I thought this was timely and ambitious, but suffered from too much going on.

And the puzzle, really didn't feel like a puzzle to me. In fact, I felt that Candice and Brandon made contrived leaps in solving things just to keep up with the pace the author was revealing information to the reader through the backstory unfolding.


message 28: by Kendall (new)

Kendall Ball (ball_kendall) | 4 comments Jordan wrote: "I thought this was timely and ambitious, but suffered from too much going on.

And the puzzle, really didn't feel like a puzzle to me. In fact, I felt that Candice and Brandon made contrived leaps..."


Yes, I felt the same way! Though I really enjoyed the book and the storylines, the way they solved the puzzle felt like it was missing a lot - very contrived leaps.


message 29: by Kendall (new)

Kendall Ball (ball_kendall) | 4 comments Hi everyone! I'm new to the group and a fairly new Children's Librarian. I'm a part of chapter book collection development and thought this group would help me narrow down my to-read lists! The Parker Inheritance was the first book I've read from this group and I really enjoyed it. I loved the writing style and felt like it hit on some very important and less talked about issues of racism and early Civil Rights. I did think that the puzzle storyline was a bit weak, though. It felt like it was missing some logical steps and Candice and Brandon were making some really lucky guesses.


message 30: by Phil (new)

Phil J | 170 comments I finished last night, and I have a couple responses to this thread.

* I do not think there is "too much going on." There is a lot going on in life, so a book feels unrealistic to me when there is only one thing going on.

* I agree that the puzzle was disappointing. If you're going to reference The Westing Game, then you had better have a strong puzzle. This one felt more like one of the riddles Adam West had to solve in the old Batman show. Maybe Johnson should've workshopped with Rebecca Stead.

* What is the right length for a MG novel? Especially one with more theme than plot? My students seem to struggle with anything over 200 or maybe 220 pages. 331 seems like a big ask for the MG age group, especially when there's not a lot of suspense in the narrative.


message 31: by Linda (new)

Linda | 23 comments I think there is a lot going on that is socially relevant and important in this novel. I don't think there is too much going on that distracted from the major theme of Brandon and Candice solving the mystery. Life is complex and messy. I think the M.S. reader can keep up. I couldn't wait to find out what went down in Lambert and this back story is what motivated me to keep reading. I enjoyed this novel and encourage kids to read it, but not sure it will be the winner due to some writing mechanics.


message 32: by Mary (new)

Mary Clare Phil wrote: "I finished last night, and I have a couple responses to this thread.

* I do not think there is "too much going on." There is a lot going on in life, so a book feels unrealistic to me when there is..."


*331 seems like a big ask for the MG age group

I just started the novel this morning and confess that one of my first reactions is that is quite long for the intended audience. Having said that, the first 50 pages read fairly quickly for me.


message 33: by Mary (new)

Mary Clare Loved it! This is a great book that addresses issues of race and gender in the same genuine way real kids do. Looking forward to recommending it to:students this year!


message 34: by Isaac Reuben (new)

Isaac Reuben (isaacthebookkeeper) | 32 comments Kendall wrote: "Hi everyone! I'm new to the group and a fairly new Children's Librarian. I'm a part of chapter book collection development and thought this group would help me narrow down my to-read lists! The Par..."

Welcome to the group, Kendall!

Firstly, I am new to the group as well, having only joined in March. Also, it must be exciting and interesting being a Children’s Librarian! I, myself, work at a public library as a part-time Library Assistant. Finally, I enjoyed The Parker Inheritance, too. However, as you mentioned, the puzzle aspect was not as good as I anticipated. Overall, it was a good book, though.

Isaac


message 35: by Kate (new)

Kate (flintk8) | 6 comments Just finished! I liked the characters and I think they had pretty authentic voices. I did have trouble staying engaged. I fall along the lines that there were just too many issues included and it felt like some got short shrift because of it. In the end, I don't feel this is an award contender. I would love to hear the reviews of this title by middle school readers.


message 36: by Phil (new)

Phil J | 170 comments I finally wrote up my review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I think the biggest issue with the book is that the flashbacks are a lot better than the present-day sections. Looking back, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I skipped all the modern-day stuff. The mystery was kind of pointless, and you learn all the secrets of the past by reading the gray sections anyway.


message 37: by Pam (new)

Pam  Page (httpwwwgoodreadscompagep) | 70 comments Can anyone tell me the book that was chosen for July?


message 38: by Susie (new)

Susie (susiepurdue) | 34 comments Pam wrote: "Can anyone tell me the book that was chosen for July?"
I think it might be Front Desk https://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/1...


message 39: by Shella (new)

Shella | 200 comments I really enjoyed this book and thought the past excepts were terrific. I thought the book was better than the Westing Game. Even though there are many themes- I don't feel the author just "threw" them in. The bullying and gay issues fit the story. There are many moving parts, so a reader would need to be able to be advanced enough to handle it. I thought the friendship depicted in this book was a wonderful model for kids. Newbery? Maybe honor- but not a winner.


back to top