Last Stop on Market Street


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A picture book won the Newbery.

A picture book won the Newbery.

A picture book won the Newbery.

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You must have heard. You must have seen. You must have read.

It wasn’t me that you heard, because the me in that room that morning was a silent bucket of tears. That room that morning was an electric place, full of hoots and hollers and hows and HOLY YOUKNOWWHATS.

It was so wonderful.

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When I chatted with Matthew Winner and Julie Falatko on the Let’s Get Busy podcast last April, here are some things I said about Last Stop on Market Street, (after I expressed some worry that books published post-holidays and pre-ALAYMA-time get lost in the shuffle. Ha.):

This book came out early in January and I have loved it since I set eyes on it. (We spoke in April!)

It’s one of those books that I knew before I even read it that I would love it.

There’s not a word that is out of place.

Every single syllable of this book is total perfection and Christian Robinson’s art is like a hug.

It is absolutely the definition of a perfect picture book.

Some stay with you.

You can listen to minutes 10 through 14 here for more of my audio take on this book’s brilliance.

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And the thing that’s so sock-knocking-off about this, is that picture books are rare beasts to the Newbery table. But they are deserving, they are eligible, they are thirty-two pages of plot and character and emotion that some books don’t quite capture in three hundred and thirty-two.

I still can’t quite find words to write about how it feels to be a part of this brave, new, picture book-honoring world, so these three tweets from fifteen minutes of that morning will have to do.

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And of course, of course, Christian Robinson’s pictures here are outstanding. Intimate but reaching, somehow both old-fashioned and brand-new-brilliant.

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If you haven’t read Last Stop on Market Street yet, you are in for a treat. And for more on this book and its picture-book-Newbery-ness, read this, watch this, listen to this, and soak this in.


PS: That first picture is what it looked like as I stickered this sucker. First the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, then the Caldecott Honor, and then the Newbery Medal. That was fun.




  • Posted January 20, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Awesome post and links to hear/see/read more! I agree — Last Stop on Market Street is a perfect picture book!

  • Jilanne Hoffmann
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I love this book, too. I think Christian Robinson and Matt de la Pena have said they had their grannies in mind when they wrote/illustrated this book. So it’s interesting that it’s getting its share of criticism along with the Washington’s cake controversy. I’m thinking that the grandmother in this book is one of those people (like my mother) who makes an effort to redirect the negative and see the good in difficult or challenging situations. This grandmother is not complacent. She’s coping. And she’s showing her grandson how she navigates and makes sense of the world. I think the reader is invited inside an unvarnished urban world to make his or her own decisions about social justice and fairness. But I am only one reader with one opinion.

  • Posted January 20, 2016 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if the Newbery committee regularly considers picture books, and we just don’t hear about it. If not, what magical alchemy made this committee so different?