Wednesday, October 20, 2021


       Steve at Shadow and Light works in a Middle school library. He constantly looks for ways to get kids reading. One of the giant assignments he gave himself was to read all the books that were given the Newberry Award. What's the Newberry award you say? It's a yearly  award that was started in 1922 for the best juvenile fiction of the previous year. So starting in 1922 to 2021 is about 99 books. 

       Steve read the 1926 winner which was Smoky the Cow Horse. Steve didn't like it much, however it brought back many memories for me.

      In the one room country schools it was customary for the teacher to read for 15 minutes after lunch. This was an activity that I looked forward to every day. One of the books a teacher read was Smoky the Cow Horse. I listened to every word and it was one of the best books read to us in my opinion. Since I was a little fam boy, I liked horses and knew about horses and cattle. 

      There are only two other books I remember hearing and that was Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery.

      So I got thinking About Smoky and that I had remembered this story all my life. I listened to the story in the late 40's

      So what did I think? Well I thought maybe I should read the story for myself. I read the story and  enjoyed it and was surprised by how much of it I could remember. Yes, Steve's criticisms were valid. He didn't like the cowboy language that was used. There were stereotypes. Steve is an urban type so it would be difficult to relate to many parts of the story. 

     The story received the Newberry award for 1926 so was from a different age. It was written by Will James 1892 to 1942. Will James wrote many good western stories.