One-Minute Book Reviews

January 24, 2009

Jan the Hungarian Predicts … ‘Chains’ Will Win the 2009 Newbery Medal

[Update Jan. 26, 2009: Halse Anderson won the Margaret A. Edwards award for lifetime achievement today, not the Newbery.]

The latest in a series of occasional posts that predict the winners of major awards to books for children or adults

Jan the Hungarian predicts …

Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains will win the 2009 Newbery Medal, which the American Library Association will award on Monday to “the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” Why? It’s a good book, but others I haven’t read may be better. So I’m going mostly on instinct honed by years of covering the Newbery and Caldecott medals for the Plain Dealer and this blog. But I’m not alone here: Halse Anderson was a 2008 National Book Award finalist for this historical novel about a 13-year-old slave in New York City who hopes to win her freedom by exposing a plot to kill George Washington on the eve of the American Revolution. A review of and reader’s guide to Chains appeared in separate posts on this site on Dec. 5, 2008.

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. Chains just won the 2009 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Another book that I think has a great shot at a Newbery (award or honor) is The Porcupine Year by Louise Erdrich. The first two books in this series (where each can stand alone) were a National Book Award finalist and an O’Dell winner respectively.

    Comment by speedytexaslibrarian — January 24, 2009 @ 9:10 am | Reply

    • Thanks, Amanda. Hadn’t heard that Chains had won the Scott O’Dell award and was glad to have that information. I’ve heard good things about The Porcupine Year, too, and have seen it high on Mock Newbery or similar lists. Won’t it be interesting to see what happens on Monday?

      Do you have any Caldecott predictions? One of the things that strikes me as unusual about this year’s potential list of Caldecott candidates is that it is much stronger on nonfiction than usual.

      Some years there isn’t a single nonfiction book that stands out. But this year quite a few could win: Pale Male, We Are the Ship, A River of Words and no doubt a few others that I haven’t seen.

      Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — January 24, 2009 @ 9:28 am | Reply

  2. Wabi Sabi seems to be getting a lot of attention as a Caldecott possibility.

    Comment by speedytexaslibrarian — January 24, 2009 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

    • Wabi Sabi is definitely getting a lot of attention — not just on blogs but elsewhere. Alas, I wanted to review it, but it was checked out at library and not due back until after the medal announcement. So I’m not sure when I can get to it even if it wins.

      I did get We Are the Ship, though, and plan to write about it within the next few days. I wonder if that one will be considered for the Newbery or Caldecott. It seems to be one that, like The Invention of Hugo Cabret, could go either way.

      Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — January 25, 2009 @ 11:43 am | Reply

  3. […] a few days ago, Jan the Hungarian predicted a winner. Was she […]

    Pingback by Book Awards for 2009 Announced- American Library Association | NAIWE NewsWire — January 26, 2009 @ 6:11 pm | Reply

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