Fake Newbery Winners: Create Your Own Title
So I’m reading through the latest issue of School Library Journal, checking out which books got some stars in the back, and I notice something in the middle grade novel section. Three titles in particular catch my eye:
- A Nearer Moon by Melanie Crowder
- Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu
- The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall
All starred books with great authors. I’ve not read any of them yet, but I’m looking forward to doing so. Yet as I’m looking at their names, it occurs to me that when it comes to naming books, certain titles sound more, how shall I put it, Newbery worthy. Consider the following titles:
The Higher Power of Lucky
One Came Home
Inside Out and Back Again
When You Reach Me
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Walk Two Moons
If you knew nothing about these books, their titles would strike you as particularly esoteric. There’s a certain style to them that repeats. The logical conclusion to reach then is that there must be an art to writing titles that sound Newbery-ish. So, for fun, I tried coming up with a couple of my own. Fake Newbery titles! And while I was at it, I came up with fake descriptions of what the books would be about. Here’s what I conjured up:
- Swimming Against the Dreams – Probably would involve a young woman who decides that her childhood pet wasn’t put down like her parents told her, but is currently the star of a reality show where it competes against other dogs to rescue the most people. She feels she has to reunite with it because she’s convinced that if she brings it home she’ll be able to cure her little brother’s dire disease.
- Twenty Things to do When You Sleep – Hm. This one sounds like a more fantastical story about a boy who discovers that when he dreams he sees the day that just happened through the eyes of one of his classmates. And the bully who torments him may be dealing with more than he ever realized.
- Forgetting the Final Thing – We haven’t done one about moving yet. So this one would be about a girl who has just moved to the big city from the country and is worried that the more time she spends surrounded by concrete, the more things she forgets about nature. She’s convinced that she forgets one thing about nature a day, and the only way to stop it is to run away to the local park and to live there.
- The Art of Making Lightning – Historical fiction. A boy lives next to the Carlisle Indian School but doesn’t think much about it until he hears about their fantastic football team. He sneaks away to watch them play whenever he can.
- Under the Willow Tree – Written in verse, this one’s about a girl dealing with the divorce of her parents against the backdrop of the hottest day of the year. Oh, and it all takes place in 24 hours.
I could do these forever. We should make a game out of it. Like the Dictionary Game or Balderdash, except that you’re supposed to come up with plots for obscure Newbery Award winners.
What are some of your own fake Newbery titles? Don’t pick one that already exists, mind you.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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