The 2011 Newbery Award, MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool (Random House, 2010) was a surprise to me. I had not read the book prior to the announcement, so I immediately downloaded it to my Kindle app on the iPad. Found time last week to sit and get acquainted with Abilene, as 12 year old whose father has sent her off to spend the summer with Pastor Shady Howard in Manifest, Missouri. Abilene does not know much about Manifest or her father's childhood. Therefore, she spends most of the summer trying to track down information, information some residents seem unwilling to provide. Why are there secrets? What did her father do when he was her age? Why did he leave Manifest? Why has he sent Abilene back? All these questions are answered though some answers may be surprising and some rather unsettling. <27>
Someone asked me yesterday at a conference what I thought about the various award winners this year. I opened my response by saying what I was told by my Printz chair, Cheryl Ward, "trust the process." The awards come from committees. Those committees have read widely and also re-read and re-read and re-read books. They have discussed and pointed out errors as well as lyricism. They have lived the book, so to speak. What I loved about the book was the newspaper column which paralleled the history of the town. I enjoyed getting to know the characters immensely.