Right now I'm reading DICEY'S SONG by Cynthia Voight
Recently read books: (in no particular order)
BABY by Patricia MacLachlan
THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY by Susan Patron
WE ARE THE SHIP by Kadir Nelson
KIRA KIRA by Cynthia Kadotada
GATHERING BLUE by Lois Lawry
ARCHER'S QUEST by Linda Sue Park
TANEESHA NEVER DISPARAGING by M. LaVora Perry
CRISPIN: The Cross of Lead by Avi
CRISPIN: At the Edge of the World by Avi
SHILOH by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
HOLES by Louis Sachar
RULES by Cynthia Lord
Basically, I go to the library planning on reading Newbery books, and I just sort of browse, and pick up other books that look interesting, or are by an author I know.
It SEEMS that if a book got a Newbery medal, it means somebody dies or something really tragic happens.
Here is an interesting article about this topic.
When people say that they want to "stretch a child's mind", I think they mean more emotionally and socially - not necessarily intellectually. I recall being an excellent reader at an early age - reading at levels a lot higher than my age group. I think I was reading at a college level when I was in middle school. But I didn't want to "stretch" in the emotional/social way. Intellectually, sure. Not a problem. But I could not deal with books about death (my younger sister died when I was a child) or poverty (I had already experienced being poor and it wasn't something I wanted to read about for fun) and politics weren't interesting (a lot of adults don't think they are interesting, either). Or about being black. I wasn't 100% comfortable with my race, and I didn't enjoy exploring things that made me uncomfortable.
For me, books were a way to escape what I couldn't. Children are largely powerless (can't control where they live or their financial status) so reading about faraway worlds, magical creatures, other planets, or other time periods were the most fun for me, and stayed that way well into my adulthood.
So now that I'm "grown up", I'm having fun reading these middle grade and young adult books. I love how refreshing they are. How clean the writing is. No unnecessary details going on about "how she tossed raven-black curls over her shoulders".
I can't wait to read the next book...and the next...and the next. Will I someday read "adult" level books? Perhaps. But not today.