Newbery books will win new readers

The four titles in Houghton/Sandpiper’s welcome Newbery Collection boxed set (September) seem to belong together: Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins, Linda Sue Park’s A Single Shard, and Elizabeth Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

The publisher may have grouped these winners together simply because they’re all historical fiction. But their affinities go beyond that: they each contain sustained adventure or intrigue, moments of heroism, and an unusual depth of feeling, all channeled through a singularly relatable, empathetic main character. Can’t you just picture the avid readers, the introspective ten- and eleven-year-old girls eager to experience the wider world, who will gobble these books up? This collection may have been produced to spur sales, but it should also win hearts.

About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is executive editor of The Horn Book Magazine and coauthor, with Roger Sutton, of A Family of Readers (Candlewick). She is coauthor of the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott blog and has served on the 2008 Newbery committee and chaired the 2013 Laura Ingalls Wilder committee.

Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium: Transformations
SummerTeen On October 2-3 2015, join an esteemed group of award-winning authors, illustrators, librarians, and other children’s book experts and aficionados in Boston, MA, for a memorable two-day event celebrating the best in children’s and young adult literature. Confirmed speakers include 2015 BOSTON GLOBE HORN–BOOK AWARD recipients Candace Fleming, Marla Frazee, Jon Agee, Gregory Maguire, and Neal Shusterman, plus a special keynote appearance by Susan Cooper.


  1. Deb Taylor says:

    >What a terrific idea. I really want to give that set to a reader I know. So glad to see "my" book "A Single Shard" is one of the set.

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