Friday, March 23, 2012

Newbery Medal and Honor Books 1923-1928

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The first Newbery Medal and Honor Books were named in 1922.

Newbery Medal and Honor Books 1922

Following are the winners of the Medal and the books honored from 1923-1928. I've included the synopsis of each just in case it's a book you've been looking for and didn't remember the title.

Images from wikipedia unless otherwise noted.

1923 Medal Winner

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (Stokes)
Book 2 in the Dr. Dolittle series. Doctor Dolittle is a story about a veterinarian who has the ability to talk to animals. He spends his time with his friend Tommy Stubbins and his animals traveling the seas seeking adventures. In this issue he is on a Journey to Spider Monkey Island in pursuit of the Jabizri beetle and in the process of locating the beetle he and his friends have to find the Indian Naturalist Long Arrow who has mysteriously disappeared.

The story is told through the eyes of one of the characters, Dolittle’s friend Tommy Stubbins. What is fascinating about this story is that although it is written for children there is only one child character in it (Tommy). It became controversial in the 1970s when the portrayal of the African characters was considered to be offensive and racist.
Honor Books:
[None recorded]

1924 Medal Winner

The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes (Little, Brown)
In seventeenth century England, a terrible accident forces orphaned Philip Marsham to flee London in fear for his life. Bred to the sea, he signs on with the "Rose of Devon," a dark frigate bound for the quiet shores of Newfoundland.
Philip's bold spirit and knowledge of the sea soon win him his captain's regard. But when the "Rose of Devon" is seized in midocean by a devious group of men plucked from a floating wreck, Philip is forced to accompany these "gentlemen of fortune" on their murderous expeditions. Like it or not, Philip Marsham is now a pirate--with only the hangman awaiting his return to England.

With its bloody battles, brutal buccaneers, and bold, spirited hero, this rousing tale will enthrall young listeners in search of seafaring adventure.
Honor Books:
[None recorded]

1925 Medal Winner

Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger (Doubleday)
via Heritage Auctions
The book is a collection of nineteen folktales of the native populations of Central and South America, including a "just-so story" describing how rabbits and rats got their tails.

Honor Books

Nicholas: A Manhattan Christmas Story by Annie Carroll Moore (Putnam)
via Goodreads
Penned by one of the most influential children's librarians of the early twentieth century.  Brought over by boat from Holland to Manhattan Island, New York, eight-inch-tall Nicholas tours the city with his friend Ann Caraway, seeing an astonishing variety of sights and meeting a wide array of people and enchanted creatures as Christmas time approaches.

The Dream Coach by Anne Parrish (Macmillan)
via openlibrary
It opens with the brief poem, The Dream Coach, originally contained in the authors' 1923 book, Knee-High To A Grasshopper: "If you have been unhappy all the day, / Wait patiently until the night: / When in the sky the gentle stars are bright / The Dream Coach comes to carry you away." Four original fairy-tales follow, each featuring a child's experiences with the Dream Coach.

The first of these is The Seven White Dreams of the King's Daughter, in which little Princess Angelica Mary Delphine Violet Candida Pamelia Petronella Victoire Veronica Monica Anastasia Yvonne (and so on) experiences a singularly unhappy birthday, hemmed in by the excessive formalities of court life, and goes to bed crying. When an angel witnesses her unhappiness, he and his fellows send her seven white dreams, and the princess becomes: a daisy in a field, a little white cloud in the blue sky, a little white lamb skipping through a field of lilies of the valley, a white butterfly floating in the breeze, a small white egg in a soft nest, and a snowflake dancing. All experiences involving freedom in the wide world - everything she is denied is her waking life.

The second tale is Goran's Dream, which follows the adventures of a little Norwegian boy, living with his grandmother over the waters of a deep fjord. When grandmother must go to the village to buy their winter supplies, six-year-old Goran is left on his own, entrusted with the care of the animals. Worried that the snow, which starts shortly after she leaves, will prevent his grandmother from returning, Goran distracts himself by building a snowman. Later, lulled by the warmth inside his little house, he falls asleep, dreaming that his animals - Nanna the goat, Gustava the hen, Mejau the cat - as well as the house geraniums and the old grandfather clock, can all speak, and that the snowman and the Queen of Clubs (from a colorful playing card he once found) have come alive. After a surreal party, Goran awakens to find that he had fallen asleep in his chair.

The third selection is A Bird Cage With Tassels of Purple and Pearls (Three Dreams of a Little Chinese Emperor), in which the Dream Coach, rather than relieving sadness, or distracting from worry, must educate and correct. In this tale, the young emperor has imprisoned a little songbird, who, in sorrow at its captivity, will not sing. In a series of dreams, the emperor experiences life in a cage, surrounded by massive birds many times his size, as well as the hardship of looking for food in a barren winter landscape, and the terror of fleeing from a predator. Now able to empathize with his captive, the little emperor grows kinder, and when summer comes, he releases the bird.

The fourth and final story is "King" Philippe's Dream, in which a young French boy, visiting his grandparents, and meeting his far-traveling Uncle Pablôt for the first time, falls asleep towards the end of his stay, dreaming that all his kin are transformed into different natural forces. Grandmother, who refers to the rising river as her son, becomes Grandmother Rain, while Uncle Pablôt becomes Uncle Wind. Grandfather is changed to Grandfather Snow, while little cousin Avril becomes Spring herself. Still sleeping and dreaming, Phillipe is returned to his parents...

1926 Medal Winner

Shen of the Sea: Chinese Stories for Children by Arthur Bowie Chrisman (Dutton)
A series of fascinating Chinese stories, strong in humor and rich in Chinese wisdom, in which the author has caught admirably the spirit of Chinese life and thought.

Honor Book

The Voyagers: Being Legends and Romances of Atlantic Discovery by Padraic Colum (Macmillan)
via Goodreads
It collects a variety of historical and quasi-historical legends concerning European exploration in the Atlantic, beginning with the The Legend of Atlantis (as related in Plato's Critias and Timaeus), and continuing through the naming of the American continents for explorer Amerigo Vespucci.

In between are the Irish legends of The Voyage of Maelduin, an 8th century tale concerning a fantastic voyage out into the western ocean made by Maelduin and his companions, and The Voyage of Saint Brendan, whose quest for God's "Fair Land" to the West was a popular medieval tale. Also included are some Norse selections concerning The Children of Eric the Red (Leif the Lucky, Thorwald, Thorstein, Gudrid the Fair), the story of Christopher Columbus' first voyage to the West Indies, of Ponce de Leon's quest for the Fountain of Youth, and of the English "discovery" of Virginia, as told by Captain Barlowe, Captain John Smith, and Ralph Hamar. Colum includes his source material, at the rear.
1927 Medal Winner

Smoky the Cowhorse by Will James (Scribner)

Smoky knows only one way of life: freedom. Living on the open range, he is free to go where he wants and do what he wants. And being a smart colt, he learns what he must in order to survive. He can beat any enemy whether it be a rattlesnake or a hungry wolf. He is as much a part of the Wild West as it is of him, and Smokey can't imagine anything else. But then he comes across a new enemy, one that walks on two legs and makes funny sounds. Smoky can't beat this enemy like he has all the others. But does he really want to beat it? Or could giving up some of his freedom mean getting something else in return that's even more valuable?

Honor Books:
[None recorded]

1928 Medal Winner

Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji (Dutton)

As the sub-title suggests, it is the story of a pigeon, his early experiences in India, where he was hatched and trained, his service as a carrier-pigeon on the battle fields of World War I, and his eventual return to India, where he finds healing and peace through the kind offices of a Buddhist monk and abbott.

Honor Books:

Wonder Smith and His Son by Ella Young (Longmans)
A collection of fourteen folktales concerning the Gubbaun Saor, or Wonder-Smith of Ireland. Includes: How the Gubbaun Saor Got His Trade / How the Gubbaun Saor Proved Himself / How the Gubbaun Saor Got His Son / How the Gubbaun Saor Tried His Hand at Match-Making / How the Son of the Gubbaun Saor Met With Good Luck / How the Gubbaun Saor Welcomes Home His Daughter / How the Gubbaun Quarreled With Aunya, and What Came of It / How the Son of the Gubbaun Saor Talked With Lords from a Strange Country / The Building of Balor's Dune / How the Djinn Out of Balor's Country Brought a Message to Aunya / The Embassy of Balor's Son / The Gubbaun Saor's Feast / How the Gubbaun Saor Went Into the Country of the Ever-Young / The Great Piast.

Downright Dencey by Caroline Snedeker (Doubleday)
via goodreads
Downright Dencey is a gripping work of historical fiction for younger readers, set on Nantucket in the early years of the nineteenth century. It follows its Quaker heroine, Dionis "Dencey" Coffyn, as she first injures, and then befriends, the childish outcast of her community - the "unspeakable" Sammie Jetsam, a ragged, foul-mouthed scrap of a boy, being raised by old "Injun Jill" out on the windy Commons.

Spurred on by her determination to atone for the injury she had done him, when, enraged by his name-calling, she had thrown the stone which cut his shoulder, Dencey agreed to surrender one of her most prized possessions - a copy of Pilgrim's Progress - to Jetsam, and to teach him how to read it. So began an unusual relationship - secret at first, and then well-known in their small whaling town - that would change both of their lives.

Happy reading,

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