Every January at their mid-winter meeting, the American Library Association (ALA) announces the Newbery Medal winner. The author of the winning title appears on national tv the very next day. Sales of the winning book escalate. Enter any library or bookstore and you’ll see Newbery winners set aside, waiting for you to realize you need these books. They have been adjudged and acclaimed quality literature. That’s how I discovered THE DARK FRIGATE by Charles Boardman Hawes whose book won the 1924 Newbery. Alas! The author died in 1923.
Two Newbery medalists are related. Do you know the only father and son authors to win the Newbery? They are the Fleischmans, Sid and Paul. Sid is the father and of course, the older, but his energy and his continued outpouring of lighthearted and humorous books make him seem ageless. Both have written many books and won numerous awards. Sid Fleischman’s Newbery winner was THE WHIPPING BOY, 1987. Only two years later, Paul, the son, won for JOYFUL NOISE, 1989.
My bookshelves are home to a Fleischman section.
By Sid: HUMBUG MOUNTAIN, MR. MYSTERIOUS & COMPANY, and the hilarious McBroom series which kept my children giggling for many hours.
By Paul: WHIRLIGIG, GRAVEN IMAGES (Newbery Honor), SEEK,
and many others from both writers.
Both published new books in 2009:
THE DREAM STEALER (Sid)
THE DUNDERHEADS (Paul)
Check your own shelves for Fleischman favorites. If your children are grown but haven’t yet moved their books, you might find you already have several written by this father and son duo. And if you don’t have any, you have lots to discover.
To me, father and son do not write alike. The common thread is talent. Everything else is a great story told well by master craftsmen. What do you think?