I’m posting another set of review of Newbery books I’ve read recently. Some I enjoyed; others, not so much. Learn from my mistakes!
Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery
This book was wonderful. I was amazed at how well-written a biography it was–not too complex for kids to follow, but not too dumbed-down for adults, either. And Eleanor Roosevelt was awesome! How did I not hear more about her in school? Anyway, I know about her now, and I have this book to thank. Even if you don’t normally go in for biographies (I don’t), this one is worth a look.
Rating: Pretty Darn Good
The Silver Pencil
This book, on the other hand, was not a winner. It covers the story of a young girl as she grows up in Trinidad, moves to England after her father dies, and eventually winds up as a teacher in America. I found most of the book slow moving and boring (and sometimes a little racist–it was published in the 1940s), and the book covered so much of the girl’s life that I couldn’t figure out what age group would be interested in the story. This one was not for me.
The nameless protagonist of this book is a nomad. He has no family, so he lives by his wits, picking crops to raise money to convince families to let him travel with them. His goal is to get to California, but when he finds himself alone again in Montana, he latches onto a brusque sheepherder and finds out that maybe belonging isn’t so bad after all. The story was definitely interesting and unusual–what’s the last book you read with a 13-year-old kid living on his own (that wasn’t a dystopian book)? I’m not sure if I’ll be reading it again, but I’m glad I read it once, at least.
Rating: Good but Forgettable