Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Norvelt Newbery

There are some things that don't change with retirement. As a retired elementary school librarian, I still get anxious in January waiting to hear about the book award winners in children and young adult literature for the year. Then I quickly add the winners, especially the Newbery, to my TBR list. Dead End to Norvelt by Jack Gantos was this year's Newbery and the boys out there are going to love it.

Gantos book is largely autobiographical, the main character is even named Jack Gantos, and the setting is a real one. The town of Norvelt, located in western Pennsylvania, was built in the 1930's and named after Eleanor Roosevelt (nor + velt) in 1935. There is lots of blood (bloody nose kind of blood), WWII souvenirs, rodents, mysterious deaths, and even a few Hells Angels riding through town. What's not for a boy to like? There are also interesting multi-age characters, tidbits of history, and great examples of service being performed for others.

Did I like it? Yes, I did and I immediately found myself typing Norvelt on Google. I enjoyed the writing style and the easy interweaving of history throughout the narrative. I immediately thought of my oldest grandson. I'm almost certain he would love this book.

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