Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Read Aloud Award Winners

Every March, the most well-known awards are given for children's literature: the Newberry Award and the Caldecott Award (awarded for excellence in literature and illustration, respectively). I have had mixed feelings over those awards -- I rarely think the winners are the best books of the previous year. However, a somewhat new award does select tip-top reads, and that is The E.B. White Read Aloud Award.

Every year this award chooses one picture book and one chapter book that are the year's best read alouds. Anyone who knows me in the context of relating to children, knows that I am a HUGE fan of reading out loud. I have an enormous library of chapter books that I have read out loud to children of assorted ages and genders -- Roald Dahl, Skinny Bones, Hundred Dresses, Narnia, etc. I have been delighted with previous E.B. White award winners, and I'm hoping this years' winners will prove to be equally as excellent. The chapter book is Alabama Moon, and the picture book is Houndsley and Catina. As much as I love Amazon, I encourage you to support your local bookstore if you decide to check out one of these titles -- especially if you live in Illinois -- little plug for Julie here!

Last year's chapter book winner, Each Little Bird that Sings, was one of the best children's books I have ever read. I heartily recommend it for either the moms and dads that read my blog who might be looking for a fantastic story with a moral that will cause even you to reflect, or for my grown-up readers who like to recall those bittersweet childhood days.

Happy Reading!


Donette said...

Hey Gret, I can't wait until the kiddos are old enough to read some books with meat in them. I tire of board books, although Elijah is getting more patient for longer stories. Thanks for the tips!

BTW, I am about 99% sure that I am coming down for the New Attitudes conference. I'm most likely coming with a girlfriend of mine, just the two of us! Can't wait! Can you give me any tips for lodging and eating? It will be my first time to stop in Louisville.

GloryandGrace said...

I love the fact that you love reading outloud! One of the things I look forward to when I have children (Lord-willing) is being able to read aloud to them. Some of my favorite books as a child were those that my teachers at school read aloud, and I still have such vivid memories of their excellent story-telling abilities.

Have you ever heard of "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"? It was my first classroom read-aloud book :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the book recommendations. I made a list from your post of books to check out. :)

I recently finished reading Jim Trelease's "The Read-Aloud Handbook" and found it to be full of useful information on the importance of reading aloud with children, from infanthood through the teen years. Reading aloud expands their vocabulary, attention span and imagination, and fosters closeness with the parent. I remember "Hundred Dresses" and "Narnia" being recommended in Jim's book.

An excellent book I am currently reading aloud to my kids is called "Carry On, Mr. Bowditch" by Jean Lee Latham. It won the 1956 Newbery Medal. The book starts with a 6-year-old boy who loves math and is small in stature (just like my younger son). This boy teaches himself Latin, astronomy, and mathematics. The book also contains history and adventure to keep my older son interested. I would highly recommend it.

Julie said...

Gret, Thanks for the plug. I am patiently waiting for this mornings order to come because in it should be both of the new winners. I think I'll spend the day reading. I also got a box of H.P. stuff yesterday. 7 envelopes with open dates. Very cool. Watch in the mail you might be getting something.(top secret)

Manda said...

Hey Gretchen...I hope things are going well with you! When I was reading your post, I was thrilled to remember the 100 Dresses book. I have totally forgotten about that book, but it was one of my favorites as a kid. I also just got the Elisabeth Elliot one we talked about a while ago. I am excited to start it!

Kevin Foflygen said...


Hope I wasn't too much of a downer today. Thanks for the comment.

BTW, you're welcome to stop by the BBQ tomorrow. We're starting at 6:30.

Gretchen said...

Nett -- No reason you can't enjoy the good books yourself in the meantime! :) I am totally stoked about you coming down here!

Grace -- I am with you -- I look forward to that SO MUCH. Josh and I always joke, what if our kids don't love to read? They sure will be bored at our house! :) Cloudy with a chance of meatballs is a classic!

M.R. -- thanks for the book suggestion. I suppose I should have qualified my thoughts concerning the Newberry Award by saying that many of the older award winners were quite excellent. Actually several of the more recent ones are, as well. I just don't USUALLY like a super-realistic modern-day story that is mainly about coming-of-age. I just don't get in tune with that -- it's not my taste, so much. I know I would have despised those books as a child! :)

Jules -- Maybe I should give you my CC# to keep on file there, and you can send me a book of the month, or something! I have to stay current somehow! :) BTW -- The Mysterious Benedict Society is GREAT! You have to reorder it! Amanda Dudich would LOVE IT!

Manda -- So good to hear from you! My mom read us that book and it is just timeless! It always makes me want to sit down with colored pencils and draw dresses. :) SUCH a good moral to the story! You have to read it with Livi in a few years.

Kev -- long time to get back on this comment, I didn't see it at first . . . you weren't a downer! It was fine. If I acted gloomy, it was more of what I was walking back to after I saw you in Founder's.

Kelley said...

Hey! You like Hundred Dresses? I loved that book! I read it to some kids once for a project when I was in college, and they didn't like it at all. I was so disappointed. :)

Have you checked out this year's Newberry Winner? I bought it from Borders a couple weeks back, read the first couple pages, and promptly took it back. Honestly I was completely disappointed! Serves me right for not reading some of it before buying it. :) I did happen to notice that the author of last year's Newberry (Kira Kira) has published another book. It looks interesting.

Well, I don't think I'm going to get 100 books in this year as you so amazingly did last year, but so far I think I have 4 down since January. :) I just read CJ Mahaney's Living the Cross Centered Life. It was an excellent book! I would definately recommend it if you haven't already read it. :)