By Hannah Mermelstein
St. Ann's School
On Friday, December 1, more than 100 students, an access*of librarians, and Adam Gidwitz gathered at Brooklyn Heights Montessori School to celebrate the Newbery, mock and otherwise. The students came from five schools with Mock Newbery groups: Brooklyn Friends, Brooklyn Heights Montessori, Packer, Poly Prep, and Saint Ann’s. We heard from Adam Gidwitz about his sleepless night pre-Newbery announcement last year, his watching the clock as he ate pancakes with his one-year-old at 6 am, and the phone call that (eventually) came, informing him that The Inquisitor’s Tale had won a Newbery honor. As is typical with Gidwitz, the students were enthralled and amused, and we probably have a few more aspiring Newbery winners out there now, although Gidwitz was quick to say that a book does not have to win an award to be great!
Students also shared book recommendations with each other, arguing passionately for their favorite books of the year. The schools have certain overlapping Mock Newbery titles this year (The War I Finally Won, Forget Me Not, The First Rule of Punk) while others books are being read by only one or two schools (Pashmina, Refugee, The Gauntlet).
This was the first of two annual afterschool gatherings that our schools organize each year. We’ll have another one after the Newbery is announced, a sort of end-of-Newbery-season celebration. Sometimes we have guest speakers, other times we do book trivia or other group activities. Always, we have a great time!
We’re happy to share logistical details about running a Mock Newbery Committee or getting students together from multiple schools; just ask in the comments!
*A term coined by HVLA’s Kyle Lukoff; see previous blog post. The actual number of librarians in this case was roughly ten.