Thursday, January 19, 2017

2017 Newbery Consensus Club

Check it out.  Fourteen kids read at least 10 books in 10 weeks so they could get an invite to this closed door meeting.  One went running around to local libraries last night so he could squeeze in the final book. Another one spent over three hours after school reading a whole book from start to finish. Someone else had five chapters left and was going home to read them with his Mom.  Another one had her Mom bake special "book related" cookies from her favorite book just for our meeting. This is what you call passion about reading and boy is it contagious.

There was buzzing about books for weeks and this was the place you wanted to be at 2:30 if you were in fifth grade at Castleton Elementary School.

Consensus Club Committee Members with their Top Choices

The HOUR OF THE BEES cookies!

We definitely had lots of nourishment!  Notice the Starbucks hot cocoa?  That's my little homage to the real Newbery Committee.  What's a Newbery Committee without Starbucks?  So I go out and get a box that I fill with hot water, add Trader Joe's hot cocoa and presto--"Starbucks!"

First Step

We looked at all of our books and started eliminating ones that just may not be the most distinguished.  Even this first step was tough. We also went around and talked about our favorite books, why we loved them so much and why it deserves a Newbery medal.

There's Mr. Reischer, our fearless leader!

Discussing the Books

The passion. The energy. The enthusiasm.  I wish you could have been in the room where it happened.  We had a deep discussion about Ghost by Jason Reynolds. Afterwards, the three kids who were totally into it, got up and just high fived each other.  Kids debated whether Sharon Creech's Moo had a slow start or not. The many themes in The Wild Robot by Peter Brown and how they were addressed made for another meaningful discussion. We could have talked books for hours.

And the winners are...

After serious debating and voting, fingers crossing and screaming, we came to a decision.  Drum roll please:

Gold Medal

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog 
by Adam Gidwitz


by Jason Reynolds


Hour of the Bees 
by Lindsay Eager

Kids were happy that their book won something.  Others were disappointed that their book didn't win the gold. All of the books are winners in my mind.  In the words of The Inquisitor's Tale "each book is a lot of lives. Dozens and dozens of them....And each life a whole world." All of these books, works of art with their many lives, touch the lives of the dozens and dozens of our students, get them excited about reading and for that I am grateful.

Now the waiting begins...

Three more days!  If you haven't bookmarked the live webcast yet, here it is:

ps-Lucky us! We Skyped with two of the three of our winners.  Exciting!

Our gold medal winner, Adam Gidwitz

Lindsay Eager with her biggest fans!


  1. I didn't think I could love you any more, Stacey, and then I read this post. You and your students are simply amazing!

  2. Wow--this is just wonderful!! Love their passion & enthusiasm!