Newbery Award Winner!

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is this year’s Newbery Award Winner.  That’s a big deal in the children’s book world:  it’s like winning the Academy Award for the Best Movie of the Year.  I quickly drove to the nearest book store when I heard the news, purchased a copy, and sat down to read the book in one sitting.  The book is a quick read, exciting and mysterious but also rather confusing because it’s about TIME TRAVEL, a concept that can be difficult to understand, even for adults!

The book’s setting is New York City in 1978.  Miranda, a sixth grader, is learning to navigate school, friendship issues, and life in her city neighborhood.   Her favorite book is A Wrinkle in Time, a classic children’s book from the 60’s about time travel.  One day when walking home from school, her best friend Sal gets punched in the stomach by an older boy who hangs out down the street from their apartment building. Sal pulls away from Miranda after that and stops hanging out with her. Miranda feels completely lost without him.  Walking home alone is no fun, especially as she must pass the crazy old man by the mailbox.  Then, the notes start arriving, notes that tell her things about the future.  Here’s the first one:

I am coming  to save your friend’s life, and my own…

First, you must write me a letter….

You will keep reading to find out WHO is writing the notes, and HOW the puzzle is going to be solved.   Though I’m not sure I would have voted for this book to win the Newbery Award, it is well-written and thought-provoking. I particularly liked the positive relationship Miranda has with her mom, the lessons Miranda learned about friendship and caring about others, and the connection to A Wrinkle in Time.

Explore posts in the same categories: Award Winners, Book Reviews, New Books 2009 school year

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5 Comments on “Newbery Award Winner!”

  1. Abbie Says:

    Definitely an interesting story. The book deals with time travel, but it is also a fun story of friendship and change over time. I found it quite pulling. You always wanted to know what was going to happen next. It’s something you should check out if you liked A Wrinkle in Time, books that suspend reality slightly or you want to read Newberry winners.There were certainly some confusing sections and it left many unanswered questions. An easy remedy to this is to get a friend to read it too and then you can talk about it! I thought it was overall a very good book.

  2. Sara Shifrin Says:

    Quickly I was with Miranda, the main character, walking to school, wondering about why he or she won’t talk to me. and thinking about the really, really, really big questions in life. I agree with Abby that the book can get a little confusing but I think that is the point. Not everything in life makes sense right away and often you have to keep thinking and thinking and thinking. As the end came into focus I COULD NOT put the book down. Read it, enjoy it and do not worry if you still have some questions–enjoy the questions and keep living the answers.

  3. I read When You Reach Me. I liked it. It made me want to re-read A Wrinkle In Time. And it brought back lots of memories. In the late 70’s I was in elementary school and that transported me back to that time in my life. The popular TV shows and the fact that kids walked home from school by themselves brought made me wish for a simpler time. I would even consider reading this to the girls. I give it two thumbs up.

  4. India Says:

    I really enjoyed When You Reach Me! The time travel was really hard to understand, but it was still great.
    What really surprised me was that Marcus would become the old man that would be hit. But I’m not sure if Marcus knew he would become the old man.
    I wonder how the old Marcus knew how to put the clues in the right place and do it without getting caught.
    The book was fantastic!!!!!


  5. chaia Says:

    Okay. This sounds kinda cool, in a way! I think I’d like this!

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