Anyone who knows me, knows that I am - and always have been - a bookworm. From the time I started reading, I DEVOURED books. I was the one at the library who could be seen teetering to the checkout desk barely able to peek over the stack of books in my arms. Some things never change, lol. Although now the majority of the books in those stacks belong to my bookworm offspring. I don't get to read as MUCH as I used to - now I have to do laundry, cook, and do other such boring activities in between books. But, I read whenever I can.
I love books so much, that I want to be a librarian. I have always wanted to, actually, but I kind of gave up on the notion when I got married, because, well, librarians are not known to rake in the dough. But, having kids and encouraging them to eventually pursue whatever makes them happy (as long as it is morally in line, of course) has made me realize that it doesn't matter if it will make us rich. I want to LOVE my career. And with my husband, Billy's encouragement, I have decided to pursue my lifelong dream of being a librarian, however "nerdy" that sounds.
I would really love to be a children's librarian, specifically. I have always enjoyed working with children, and there is just nothing like seeing children develop a passion for reading - watching their faces light up in awe and excitement when they walk into a library and see all those rows and rows of stories just waiting to be discovered. I have been blessed to see this already in my own 3 children.
I still love to read children's and young adult literature. Don't get me wrong, I do read grown up books too. But, some of the best literary works out there are written for young people. Plus, you don't get as much of the foul language and "smut" that runs rampant in modern adult fiction.
Let me also share a story of something that happened recently that put the spark of an idea for this project into my head. We were visiting our local library - it is a small town library. One of my son's summer homework assignments was to go to the library and ask a librarian for a Caldecott award winning book to check out. So, he did - and was met with a blank stare. "What does that mean?" she asked me. I said "CALDECOTT. You know - the children's literature award - the Caldecott award?" More blank stares. "I've never heard of that," she says and turns to another librarian. "Do you know what that is?" The other librarian shrugs and says "nope." So, the first librarian tells the second, "well, just google it." I then had to proceed to spelling it so she could google it. Now, I don't expect everyone to be familiar with the names of literary awards. I don't mean to sound condescending or anything. But, come on, the Caldecott is THE award for picture books. I would expect a LIBRARIAN to know this. It was just sad to me. So, I started to think about how I would know this stuff when I was a librarian....and then I thought, 'you know, I want to be REALLY knowledgeable about the books around me when I'm a children's librarian.' So, then I thought 'what better way to become familiar with them, than to READ them all?' So, the idea was born. There are many different awards out there. But the best known is the Newbery award - an honor given to books written for young people - generally for the 8-18 or so age group.
So, the Newbery Project was born. I looked up the list of books awarded this honor. It was started in 1922. I read through the list, and realized that there were several that I have read before, mostly when I was a child, of course. So, I thought, 'I can totally do this.' But, then I counted them out. There is usually just ONE book given the top honor every year, but there are 3-4 "honors" named every year as well. I decided to include ALL of them. Yikes. There are 370 titles on the list....wowzers. A little daunting. But, it's a challenge...and I've decided to try and tackle it. I don't know how long it will take. I would like to say that I can do it in 2 years. But, since I like to read OTHER books too...I don't know...and also considering that each year they will add about 3-4 more titles...so I'm not going to put a time limit on it. I don't want to make something enjoyable into just another deadline - I've got enough of those.
So, anyway, that is the story of my newest project. I plan to update as I cross titles off my list, and talk about my thoughts on each book. Enjoy!