Not Just the Students are Inspired by the Newbery Winner

Last Stop on Market Street (Matt De La Pena)
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Last Stop on Market Street (Matt De La Pena)

Last Stop on Market Street

I was surprised but not surprised that Last Stop on Market Street won the Newbery Medal yesterday. Yes, I thought it was going to win the Caldecott (which Finding Winnie absolutely deserved!) but the Newbery? And then I thought about it…

When I first read the book, I paused and thought about what class I would share this story with in the library. I also thought about what class would appreciate this one…

What would students notice? Pictures, words, symbols, the people, the events, the story. They would notice it all. No matter what grade I shared this story with they would notice it all.

The first classes I chose to share the story with  were the grade 4 students. The students in grade 4 have a strong mission in their hearts to give back to the community and would respond to the young CJ’s questions and wonders. And did they ever!

Of course, I would start with the students. Isn’t that what a teacher-librarian would do? However, when the book won the Newbery, I started shouting from my desk-I wasn’t shouting- but I did exclaim loudly: “I can’t believe it! A picture book! But I totally understand!”

A parent volunteer was in the library with me and asked why I was making so much noise. I handed her the book and she read it. Once she finished, she turned to me and said, “Wow!” This is a parent who has read two of the Newbery Honor books (Echo and The War that Saved My Life). That’s all she said for a while. Just before she left the library, she said: “A picture book? I can’t believe it but…wow. That book is special.”

Shortly after, a classroom teacher came by and I showed her the winning and honor books. She stopped to read the Newbery Winner. Again, she responded strongly to the text and the pictures.

Today, that same teacher stopped by the library after school with her boots and coat on and said she was taking the subway today because the book reminded her that it’s wonderful to connect to the community through the transit in the city.

I can’t make this up. I can’t wait to hear and see what happens the next time someone picks up Last Stop on Market Street in the library.

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