In my recent post, I talked about wanting to make reading a key part of my efforts to refocus my energy in 2012 after a challenging few months. A lot of my reading inspiration comes from the marvelous fellow readers, teachers, librarians and kid literature loving people I follow on Twitter. A number of reading related challenges from members of the newly formed online bookclub called the Nerdy Bookclub (#nerdybookclub on Twitter) have surfaced in the last few weeks. Several of those are going to help me kick start my renewed priority for reading.
The first one sponsored by John Schumacher (Twitter: @mrschureads), librarian, and Colby Sharp (Twitter: @colbysharp), fourth grade teacher, is the Newbery Challenge. The challenge they threw down was to read every Newbery Award winner from 1922 to the present. The Newbery Award is given annually to the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. That’s 90 books, with another one soon to be awarded later in January by the American Library Association Newbery committee. What a great challenge! Check out the kick-off announcments here at their blogs: Watch. Connect. Read. and sharp read. I love that they both emphasize the “no stress” part of this challenge. Given that I have so many other contemporary books I’d like to read, I’m going to aim to have the challenge completed in about three years. I most likely won’t re-read any that I’ve read in the last five years or so, but maybe I’ll change my mind when I get to those books. I’ll be documenting my progress on these books regularly at my Newbery Goodreads bookshelf, and occassionally summarizing my reading here at the blog, and over at Twitter using the hashtag: #nerdbery. The first book is a doozy–The Story of Mankind by Hendrik van Loon. Imagine a summary of history from the dawn of man to the early 20th century written for children, though it reads much more like a textbook for a Western Civilization class. I’ve also created a spreadsheet of the Newbery Winners that I’ve put over at Google Docs.
The second challenge is the Caldecott Challenge: Read all the books awarded both the Caldecott Award and honor from 1938-present. The Caldecott Medal, like the Newbery is given out annually by the ALA, and is awarded to the most distinguished American picture book. This challenge is hosted by Laura, (Twitter: @LibLaura5) and Anna (Twitter: @a_to_z_library), both librarians. See their Challenge announcemenets here: LibLaura5 and A to Z Libary. Currently, that’s 306 books, again with more announcements on the 2012 winners coming out at the end of the month. A huge pile of books to say the least, but again, both of the challenge hosts emphasize the “no stress” part of the challenge. Because some of the older books are harder to find, and require long hold waits, or an inter-library loan, I’ll be reading the books as I come across them and get them home. I’ll often bounce around the decades, but whenever I have a pile to go through, I’ll be reading the oldest ones first. Again, I’ll be documenting my reading over at Goodreads on my Caldecott shelf, here at the blog, and on Twitter using the #nerdcott hashtag. Many of these books I’ll be reading with one or both of my girls, aged 7 and 10 to get their opinions on the kid-appeal today, particularly for the older ones. My goal is to finish this challenge in about three years as well. I’ve also created a spreadsheet of all the Caldecott Award and Honor winners which can be found here.
I’m excited about both of these challenges. I’ll be reading many books that I most likely wouldn’t have normally picked up. Others are already in my to-be-read piles. I might find some new-to-me gems, and maybe even a few duds along the way. All that I read will be insightful. I’ll be fulfilling my “nerdy” desire to explore books in a more historical context as I review them through the years. Thanks to the Nerdybook Club members for the inspiration!
And now, off to go read!