That Last Stop on Market Street is considered the most distinguished piece of writing for children has created opportunities for all readers to really explore the language in a picture book as well as learn about the Newbery Medal. What does it mean to be distinguished and can this be accomplished in thirty-two pages There are numerous conversations happening on this subject and it will be interesting to see where they lead. I am okay with this book winning the Newbery Medal. I love Matt de la Peña's writing and how, in thirty-two pages, we are invested in this grandmother and grandson making their weekly pilgrimage to a soup kitchen along with how the value of material objects diminishes as Nana helps CJ see the "beautiful where he never even thought to look."
The first time we read it was last spring and we read it just because I loved it.
The second time we read it, we read it as part of our Mock Caldecott unit.
This, the third time, we were reading it with a Newbery Medal lens. I explained to the students that we were going to read the book twice. I wanted them to just listen to the language the first time and then, on the second reading, I wanted them to write down phrases, words, and sentences that stood out or resonated with them.
I read the book twice. I didn't show the pictures. The students had already seen them, but I also wanted them to really hear the language. In our discussions, the students spoke of the rhythm of the language as well as the rich and descriptive language.
Here are some more of the words, phrases, and sentences that the students wrote down: