For a Newbery, that is. Of course, I haven’t read many of the year’s brand-new books, so I’m not familiar with the competition; on the other hand, Katherine Applegate already has a Newbery Medal to her name, and previous winners sometimes have an edge. (Or so it seems. Certainly some authors become Newbery darlings…Jacqueline Woodson comes to mind, yes?)
At any rate, I loved Crenshaw. The writing is a bit different from the other two novels I’ve read by Applegate–they were both verse novels–but it sucked me in on the first page. It’s quite a different perspective on homelessness than Joan Bauer’s Almost Home, but it actually feels more real to me. (Which feels sacrilegious–I ADORE Joan Bauer–and bizarre, since the title character is an imaginary friend, but still.) Jackson’s family’s plight is entirely plausible; thankfully, the book faces the issue of homelessness but focuses on relationships, ending on a satisfyingly hopeful note. Bottom line? It’s a fast read, but a thoroughly worthwhile one. You won’t regret picking it up, and you’ll have a hard time putting it down.
Who could ask for anything more?
(And while we’re on the subject of books that are worth your time, I never did review Even Monsters Need Haircuts. It’s been the most enduring favorite of ALL the Halloween picture books we checked out from the library; the text is brief, but it compliments the amusing premise and fabulous illustrations perfectly. All the kids loved it, and you will, too. I promise!)