(He's very excited.)
Article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/26/AR2009012601340.html
Neil Gaiman joins a fun crowd of authors; previous Newbery Award winners have included Carol Ryrie Brink (Caddie Woodlawn), Lois Lenski (Strawberry Girl), Elizabeth George Speare (The Witch of Blackbird Pond), Wiliam H. Armstrong (Sounder), Madeleine L'Engle (A Wrinkle in Time) and Scott O'Dell (Island of Blue Dolphins). A full list of past winners can be found at Wikipedia.
So let us discuss Newbery novels, past and present and future. Which ones have you read? What did you enjoy most? Which didn't you like?
I'm certain I've read at least fifteen of the books, and there were about ten on the list that I'm can't quite recall definitively if I picked them up at some point in childhood. (Add another fifteen-twenty of the Honors books to the "been read" list.) The most recently read Newbery Award Winner was, of course, The Graveyard Book. The first one I can remember reading is Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor back in 3rd grade; at the time it had just won the award so my teacher thought we ought to read it.
My favorite books from the list would probably be The Witch of Blackbird Pond or Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Again, both of them were read for school, although I had read Blackbird Pond several years before. In fifth grade we read Roll of Thunder, which was the first book I had ever read from an African-American perspective and I was horrified by the oppression the Logan family faced. I remember being disturbed, too, by the angry racism shown toward white folk by a few of the characters. Why are they like that? Shouldn't they know better? I kept asking myself. (My grasp of human nature at 10 was hopelessly naive, it seems.)
In 7th grade we read Blackbird Pond and I had to act out the jail scene. That was fun. Our teacher also expected us to write in our books, and highlight important scenes, acts which I thought highly detestable after years of hearing "Don't write in books!" I guess I got over that, though, judging from my fondness of BookCrossing!
I'm also one of those people that just didn't like A Wrinkle in Time. Seriously, I think I'm one of like three people on the planet who don't think it is one of the Greatest Books Ever. But meh. I thought the characters annoying and the plot boring, and Deeper Meaning rarely penetrates for me.