Welcome Gregory Marshall Smith to Sweeping Me! Thank you for stopping in today as part of your blog tour, for your new book – Hunters.
Okay, so what or who is “Newbery” and what role does it play in the life of a science fiction/sports writer who is also author of the phenomenal horror novel Hunters?
Literary types or those with a love of literature (or who just remember their childhoods fondly) will know I am not referring to Newberry, South Carolina (one too many “r’s”). Instead, they will know I’m talking about John Newbery.
Newbery was an eighteenth-century British bookseller. The Association for Library Service toChildren (a division of the American Library Association) awards a medal named after him to the author of the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature in America.
For some reason, while researching online, I came across Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos. I can’t tell you much about it except it won the 2012 Newbery Medal.
The mere mention of the Newbery Medal brought back fond childhood memories of my years at James A. Hervey and Brooks elementary schools in Medford, Massachusetts. (Note: Hervey was for Kindergarten through third grade; Brooks, 4th-6th).
Back in the 1970’s (1973-1979 to be exact), schools actually emphasized reading. We had weekly reading requirements and book reports and other programs that required diving into tomes. It was excellent preparation not just for a lifelong love of reading, but for the inevitable junior high school forays into Johnny Tremain and Silas Marner, as well as the inevitable descent into Shakespeare.
I also still remember the MS ReadaThons, where we got adults to pledge money for each book read, all to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society. I was always in a battle for Andrea Groves for the top reader and there were always Newbery Medal winners and nominees on my lists.
To this day, my favorite Newbery books are Mrs. Frisby & TheRats of NIMH (Robert C. O’Brien) and ThePlanet of Junior Brown (Virginia Hamilton). Coming in as honorable mentions are Julie of the Wolves (Jean Craighead George); Roll of Thunder, HearMy Cry (Mildred D. Taylor), and Bridgeto Terabithia (Katherine Paterson).
Where a sci-fi anthology TV series called Creature Double Feature led me to begin writing, Newbery led me to a love of reading.
Sadly, my initial efforts to be the next Robert C. O’Brien or Virginia Hamilton usually culminated in agonizingly cheesy dreck like “Left right rudder! Left right rudder, aye!” or stories about the Brown Cougar (can you say The Pink Panther rip-off?).
But, that was secondary. Above all, I think those Newbery books let me expand my horizons. I didn’t always have to read science fiction. I could “man up” and check out other genres. I could pick up a copy of Tuck Everlasting and never want to return it to the library. I can smile when I see Anne of Green Gables in my video library. Heck, I can even read C.J. Ellisson without blushing.
So, to the American Library Association, keep those Newbery winners coming. And thank you for your years of great service to America’s children.
About the Author:
Gregory Marshall Smith, raised in Medford, Massachusetts is a decorated Navy veteran and 30-plus year journalism vet. He is the author of the novellas Crawl, Slow Boat to China, The 11th Hour and They Call the Wind Muryah, along with two anthologies. His short stories have appeared in Farspace 2, Ikiryō, Starlight, Yokosuka Nights, Writer’s Bump, Far Side of Midnight, True Horror, Separate Worlds, Mini-World and SFH Dominion, among others. Hunters is his latest novel.
Never married, he currently resides in South Carolina where he hosts a radio show, acts in movies and television, volunteers and covers black college sports.
More hosts on the tour:
February 16, 2012
February 17, 2012
February 18, 2012
February 19, 2012
Tour Wrap Up
Disclaimer: Post provided by author as part of his blog tour with Philia Book Tours. All information on the book can be found at the authors website.