I just finished two books, The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron and Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata.
I'll start with Lucky, winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal. Meh. That's the best I can do. To me, this story is what people think of when I tell them I read children's novels. It's a cutesy story but that's it. It's about a girl, Lucky, trying to deal with her mother's death and her father's abandonement. She eaves drops on AA meetings and not fully understanding the twelve step process, is trying to find her "Higher Power." Hence, the title. The subject matter is worthy of an award-winning book, I just didn't think the story was. It was an entertaining, very quick read, but in the end, I wouldn't care if I never read it again.
Next up, Kira-Kira. This book is a batch of pretty amazing writing. Believe it or not, I've seen this book numerous times and never read it because I didn't like the cover. How juvenile is that? Anyway, the story is about Katie, a daughter to Japanese immigrants, and her life. Her parents work extremely hard to provide for their children, when their oldest daughter, Lynn, gets sick. Not only is it a look at life for immigrants in the 50's, it is a glimpse into a young girl's incomplete understanding of life. I'm amazed at the author's ability to write this story without dumbing it down since it is told through the eyes of a kindergartner. She does an amazing job of only letting you see what Katie sees. This book was pretty long and I had to actually force myself to read it at a couple spots, but it was good in the end. The Newbery people got something right when they picked this one.