2010 Newbery Award

The 2010 Newbery Award has been given to When You Reach Me, a really remarkable book. When I think about this book, which I read over the summer, what I first think of are the tiny details of place. I think of the main character’s daily walk past the homeless man who sleeps under the mailbox, and of the tasteless strawberries that they buy at their local grocery. I think of the front door to their NY apartment building, which doesn’t close all the way unless yanked shut. This book involves game shows, death, and even time travel, but it’s the details that create the complete world. For me, that’s part of what makes this so wonderful. Think of any of your favorite books from childhood. Before you remember the exact plot of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, say, you’ll think of the feeling of the fur coats brushing past your face, then the startling cold air of Narnia. After reading When You Reach Me, you’ll forget for a moment that you didn’t grow up on the Upper West Side in the 1970s. It’s a great read, and now a Newbery winner.

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