1930s: It Can’t Get Any Worse, Right?

We are finally done with the 1920’s Newbery books. This week, we will begin reading the next ten winners. In an earlier post this week, Laurinda detailed the major trends of the past decade of Newbery winners.

The 1920’s were not the best decade for Newbery books. Most of the novels did not age well, and I’d be wary of recommending any of them to children nowadays. Our combined average rating was 2.03 out of 5 stars. None of the winners got a higher rating than a 3.

Hopefully, the Thirties will be a more exciting and enjoyable read than the last batch. Historically, the 1930’s are bookended with the tumultuous events of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the outbreak of World War II in Europe. We’ll see if any of the books we read are influenced by the surrounding events.

Here are a couple of things that could make the 1930’s better:

  1. Characterization. The 1920’s featured a cast of characters that were bland and forgettable. Characters did not grow throughout the novel; instead, they were static individuals who had no personality.
  2. Female protagonists. The first winners featured no female main characters, except for a few short stories. From looking at the next ten titles, it looks like this will not be an issue in the next decade.
  3. Modern language. The previous winners’ writing style was burdened down by dense language and a reliance on old dialects.

Looking forward to the 1930’s, here are the next books in our queue:

1930: Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field
1931: The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth
1932: Waterless Mountain by Laura Adams
1933: Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis
1934: Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women by Cornelia Meigs
1935: Dobry by Monica Shannon
1936: Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
1937: Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer
1938: The White Stag by Kate Seredy
1939: Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright

And don’t forget to check out our featured quotes and pictures on our Tumblr account, found at http://newberyreviewers.tumblr.com/.

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