Ok. I am SUPERBLY excited about The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, won the Newbery. But, I’d have to point out to all those who have been writing/thinking along the line of, “finally, a Newbery winner that has been very popular with kids — see it’s been on the New York Times Bestselling List for children, like, forever” that if you REALLY look into who have been reading The Graveyard Book (and see who the 15,865 Neil twitter followers, who attend his Graveyard Book reading events and bought the book then, and who have written to him on his blog about this book,) you can EASILY find that the book has been a lot more popular with his adult fans. The New York City Graveyard Book reading event that I attended had about 500 people in the audience and only about 10 (or fewer) of them were children.
My husband read the book aloud, and loved every moment of it, to our 10-year-old daughter who really enjoyed listening to this intriguing and beautifully crafted story. And some of my students have read it and thoroughly enjoyed it as well. But, that is not to say that The Graveyard Book has been extremely popular with children (at least, not like the trendy but not as delicately crafted Twilight Saga, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Warriors series, Princess Diaries, or Cirque du Freak series – and dozens of others)
The Graveyard Book won the Newbery because it contains linguistic nuances, humor, dramatic tension, vivid and memorable characters, and unique world building — and because these qualities are recognized and awarded by the 2009 Newbery Committee members.
It seems to me insulting all around to imply that 1. the Newbery Committee members did not examine the work for its literary and artistic achievements, but simply went with a “bestseller” and 2. Neil Gaiman did not win the award for his fine literary craftsmanship but for being a popular kid author — which, he has really not been and we don’t know what the future brings.
Like I said, being a HUGE fan of Gaiman’s and The Graveyard Book, I am tickled all colors of the rainbow to see that the book got the recognition it deserves, but, please, folks, do not jump to conclusions!