4 Ideas for a Newbery Medal Book Club

newberryI’ve written about my book club obsession before. I’m a member of three book clubs at the moment because each scratches a different reading itch. Although it’s become clear that three is definitely the limit of my time and energy, it hasn’t stopped me from daydreaming about other book clubs I’d love to start or join. One of my favorite plans for someday is a Newbery book club. If you could see the notebook I’ve been doodling in for the past week, it would look something like this:

  1. Read 12 Newbery winners during the year in an otherwise regular book club. I’ve known long-running book clubs to dedicate each year to a certain theme, time period, or goal. You could easily fill a year with Newbery winners. It might be a nice change of pace for a book club that just spent the year reading war memoirs. Newbery books can be heavy, but they are almost always short(ish).
  2. A multi-generational book club. I’ve been admiring parent-child book clubs for years, but starting one sounds too exhausting for me right now. I only have one child reading independently at this point, but I think we would all love a mother-son-grandmother book club on Skype. It would be a great chance for us to connect with my mom and tap into the wisdom she gained in her years as a school teacher without the effort of recruiting friends to join us.
  3. An entire book club dedicated to fantastic children’s literature just for adults. Gretchen Rubin extolled the virtues of her kid lit book club (for adults) on What Should I Read Next? episode 52. Ever since I heard her talk about how much fun they have, I’ve been dreaming of my own version.
  4. Sneak in a Newbery book when it’s my turn to pick. I’ve already admitted that I don’t have the time or energy for any more book clubs. I’m lucky if I get all three books read as it is. With the right book, though, I bet I could convince one of my existing book clubs to give a Newbery winner a try at least once.

The only question left is how to pick the book(s). I’d love to read some of the more recent winners that I’ve missed since I’ve gotten old and boring. If your book club doesn’t mind reading the same author more than once, it could be neat to read books from the five authors who won the award more than once (Joseph Krumgold, Elizabeth George Speare, E.L. Konigsburg, Katherine Paterson, and Lois Lowry). If your participants aren’t all the same age, what about reading the Newbery winner or honor books from the years you were born?

The American Library Association has a list of all Newbery Medal books from 1922-present online here. Which book would you read first?



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