Last week, I did a Newbery prediction post here. While I didn’t get the winner right (Brown Girl Dreaming won an honor, but not the medal) I’m happy to say that I did mention the winner and both honor books in the post. Unfortunately, I didn’t spend a lot of time on El Deafo. I just mentioned that I hoped it would get some Newbery recognition, but that I didn’t really expect it to because it’s a graphic novel. But it did! Imagine that. I graphic novel won a Newbery Honor!
Anyways, even though I wanted, and expected Brown Girl Dreaming to win the whole shebang, (it did leave the YMA’s as probably the most heavily decorated book) I was super excited to see that Crossover actually took home the gold. I loved it and a lot of my fourth and fifth grade students have read it and loved it and recommended it to their classmates A few told me that it was better than BDG. I guess the committee agreed with them.
At first glance, Crossover is a basketball book, and it does have a lot of basketball in it (which serves to draw the middle-school/tween reader in) but it’s really so much more than that. It’s about family. It’s about growing up and meeting a father’s expectations. It’s about loss. As a novel in verse, it reads very quickly, which my students appreciate, and the rhythms of the book mesmerize. I’ll admit it. I cried. I ask every student who checks it in if they did too, and all of them but one have said they did. (the other was a 5th grade boy and was probably lying) So yeah. There you have it. Your 2015 winner.
I happily give it five out of five Newbery Pies.