The Newbery's of 1999

Several years ago, I set a goal to read all the Newbery award and honor books. You can read more about the award and my goal here. It’s a big goal that includes a lot of books over a lot of years, but book nerd that I am, I am so up for it! That said, it’s time for another Newbery Challenge post. Oh yeah!!

Today we are heading back to 1999. But, before we get to the books, here are a few other things that were going on:

In 1999 Pokemon was taking the toy world by storm. Y2K was approaching and making everyone nervous. Star Wars Episode 1, The Sixth Sense and Toy Story 2 were the box office favorites. Meanwhile on TV, everyone was watching Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and ER. And if those fun facts don’t take you back, maybe knowing that the words “blog” and “chillax” had just been added to the dictionary will.

The books that follow may have been written in 1999, but thankfully, good books have staying power. This year’s Newbery list was short and sweet AND contains two books that I would absolutely recommend almost 20 years later.

1999 Newbery Medal Book:

Holes by Louis Sachar

From Amazon: Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.

It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.

This book was creative, unique and really fun. I remember loving it. The movie was fun too, but not, as it so often goes, as good as the book. The feeling of the stories told and the way everything comes together in the end made the reading experience memorable. If your child has not read Holes yet, they should give it a try.

Readers 8 and up

1999 Newbery Honor Book:

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

From Amazon: Join Joey and his sister Mary Alice as they spend nine unforgettable summers with the worst influence imaginable-their grandmother!

I just read this for the first time a few weeks ago and loved it. Each chapter shares a story from a summer spent with their grandma. And let me tell you, she is quite the character. The stories are funny and very entertaining to read. But, the best part is the narrator’s relationship with his grandma and how it subtly grows over the years. Funny and sweet your kids should read this book. Or better yet, read it together.

Readers 10 and up

What do you think? Have you read any of 1999’s Newbery winners? Do you think they were worthy of the awards?

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