A few weeks ago I had a crazy idea. What if I read all of the Newbery Medal award-winning books in one year? I went to our local library and chatted with the children's librarians about my idea. They agreed that it would be fantastic. My idea to keep it to one year was taxed as I found out that the award was first given out in 1922, making a total of 89 books to read. So I thought, "Some weeks I will just read two books. No problem." As we spoke, I then had another crazy idea. What if I created a blog to chronicle the year of Newbery? They said they would read it, so I was encouraged. We found a book about John Newbery and the creation of the Newbery Medal, and also the first book to receive the Newbery Medal, The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Van Loon. It was at that point that I realized I was in trouble. There was no way I could read all of them in one year.
I read the little book about John Newbery, John Newbery and the Story of the Newbery Medal by Russell Roberts. I learned that Newbery was the first publisher to focus much of his publishing business on children's books. In one of the books Newbery published, he wrote how he felt about raising children: "The grand design in the nurture of children is to make them strong, hardy, healthy, virtuous, wise and happy; and these good purposes are not to be obtained without some care and management in their infancy."
As I read the Newbery books over the next year and blog about them, one of the things I will look for is how they help children to be "strong, hardy, healthy, virtuous, wise and happy."