Happy Monday Everyone! It’s Becky and I am here to share with you my latest pick of 2020 of a book that I feel should be considered for the Newbery Award. In case you’re not familiar with the award it is an award given out annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished contribution for children’s literature. Book considered for this award must be aimed at an audience from birth to 14 years of age.
Title: From the Desk of Zoe Washington
Author: Janae Marks
Summary: Twelve-year-old, Zoe Washington is dealing with some big issues. Zoe’s former best friend, Trevor, has betrayed her and she just received a letter from her biological father, Marcus, who has spent all of Zoe’s life in prison for murder. Zoe begins to investigate the crime her father was convicted of committing and she uncovers facts that may prove his innocence.
Newbery Consideration: Marks wrote a middle-grade book that feels like a traditional children’s novel but featuring a modern twist. Zoe is a strong and smart main character who is filled with determination and personality and in that way, she is a perfect example of a middle-grade heroine. However, the challenges Zoe must face are very relevant to many of today’s young readers. She is dealing with insidious prejudice she and her caucasian step-father experience. She is struggling to find her place in the world and trying to learn who she can trust. Yet, her greatest challenge is that of learning about her father’s imprisonment. She has to learn life lessons about injustice and battle with her own family to try to set them right. This is Marks’ first novel and it may be enough to get her noticed by Newbery Committee.
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