Newbery Controversy

It seems there’s a bit of a curfuffle over the latest Newbery Medal winner. David Frum comments that he uses the Newbery Medal in an unapproved fashion; if a book wins, he avoids buying it for his children. Not a bad rule of thumb, I suppose, going by the most recent example.

I found particularly amusing this line from the NYT article:

Pat Scales, a former chairwoman of the Newbery Award committee, said that declining to stock the book in libraries was nothing short of censorship.

Well, duh.

A little censorship now and then is cherished by the wisest men, if I do say so myself. It’s funny how to some people the charge of “censorship” is treated as being unanswerable. It’s as if they don’t believe anyone should ever have any restraints on what they say. Discretion is fast becoming a vice instead of a virtue.

Putting that aside, however, and turning to the books themselves, I find that I have read few of the Medal winners. The list is here. The earliest winning book which I have read is Scott O’Dell’s The Island of the Blue Dolphins, which won in 1961. If we include the “Honor Books”, which seems an odd way of saying “honourable mentions” then 1938’s On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder is the earliest one which I have read. The most recent book from the list which I have read is from 1982. I’ve only read 18, maybe 19 of the books in total. (I don’t know if the version of Pecos Bill which I read is the same as the one on their list.) And only six of those were actual Medal winners. An interesting list, to be sure.

EDIT:It seems that “Newbery” only has one “r”. My bad.

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