The joy of reading united students from five school districts in a collaborative reading project called Mock Newbery Club. Ninety fifth-graders participated in the club, which was modeled after the American Library Association’s Newbery Medal program. The Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
Librarians from the Fred W. Hill Elementary School in Brockport CSD, Terry Taylor Elementary School in Spencerport CSD, Village Elementary School in Hilton CSD, together with Catie Abonado from T. J. Connor Elementary School in Wheatland-Chili CSD, and Karen Arendt from Josiah Bartlett Elementary/Jackson Grammar School in New Hampshire collectively selected five contending books. This year’s titles were Front Desk by Kelly Yang, Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed, Bob by Wendy Mass, Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo, and The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor.
Students were selected to participate based on their willingness and ability to read various genres and partake in group discussions. They began reading the five books in October and periodically shared their thoughts and reflections with each other through Schoology, a learning management system. Upon finishing all five books, each student voted for their favorite. T. J. Connor Mock Newbery Club students are Cora Baird, LeAnna Casagrande, Kira DeBruyne, Megan Fraser, Dean Kakarantzas, Amanda Kohn, Katalina Monnat, Payton Pope, Alexa Sanchez, Katie Smith, and Claire Webster.
The club was originally founded five years ago by Cathy Mangan, Hill School librarian and Karen Arendt, T.J. Connor librarian. Arendt has since relocated to New Hampshire, where she continues the tradition. Her classroom joined via video conference for the unveiling celebration.