Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"When You Reach Me" wins 2010 Newberry medal

Because it includes a homeless character [and because this reporter reviews novels that include homeless characters: Thus, there have been three entries in the Homeless Lit series in my other blog, Homeless Tom.] it is of interest that a new children's book by Rebecca Stead won the 2010 Newberry Medal, announced yesterday.

short article in GallyCat reads thus:
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead won the 2010 Newbery Medal yesterday. The book follows the adventures of a twelve-year-old girl who "encounters shifting friendships, a sudden punch, a strange homeless man and mysterious notes that hint at knowledge of the future."
At the publisher's website, you can view the first 22 pages of the 208-page book.  It reads like a children's book ― which for me means it is simple reading that has more that a few silly qualities.

Way back in 1979 [the timeframe of When You Reach Me, curiously enough], I worked with a woman, Dana Brookins, who wrote children's books on the side and won the Edgar Alan Poe award for her second book, Alone in Wolf Hollow. ["When You Reach Me" is Rebecca Stead's second effort, also, and, like Dana's winner, a children's mystery.] When Dana won her prize, I thought, Wow, how coooool.  And what an easy way to make money! 

Dana also told us of her other writing area:  Writing for confession magazines.  She wrote anonymous or ghost-written ― or how ever that works ― articles for a half-dozen confession magazines, using outrageous article theme with titles like this one, "I'm a Nun! I can't be pregnant!"  It turned out that Dana was practically the Meryl Streep of the confessional-writing field!  One day, she was quoted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in a quirky article they had about the confession-magazine business. Geez, I thought.  Making money writing is a snap!  And there's glory to be had! If knuckleheaded Dana can make a few bucks doing work like that *I* ought to be able to reep millions!  Woo-hoo!

And, surely, I was right, then, but never pursued the writing biz agressively, and am, thus, pennyless.  But, no more!  Riches, ho!  I've requested "When You Reach Me" from the Sac Public Library, will read it, review it, and then write a simple book like it and win next year's Newberry.

UPDATE:  Hmmmm.  When You Reach Me has gotten some very very interesting reviews.  I am now highly tantilized!

Publishers Weekly tells us the book has a complicated plot that "converges to form a thought-provoking whole."  Readers are likely to spend "hours pondering the provocative questions [the book] raises," the review tells us.  Here, a blockquote from the review, conveying the idea that the book is remarkable:
Have you not heard of When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead? Well now you have. Go read it. Have you already read When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead? Excellent. Glad to hear it. Now go read it again. Have you already read and reread When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead? That is fine and dandy news. Have a seat. You and I can now talk about it, and we’ll wait for the rest of the world to catch up. Which they will. Because it is one of the best children’s books I have ever read and books of this sort do not drop out of the sky every day. They don’t even drop out of the sky every year.



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