The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman was declared the Newbery Award Winner for 2009. The Newbery Award is an annual award given by the American Library Association to the author with the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The Graveyard Book, in true Neil Gaiman fashion, the first chapter is titled How Nobody Came to the Graveyard. You see, the book is about a kid named Nobody who was raised in the graveyard by ghosts. The tale starts with a violent home invasion where Nobody’s family is stabbed to death by a man named Jack. It’s a bit of a violent start for a children’s book but the book is geared for children over 9 years old and they have, if they’re anything like my daughter, seen their share of violence much worse than this in TV shows and in the games they play.
When I first started reading the works of Neil Gaiman, I never thought of him to be a children’s books writer. But then when I thought about it, I said, well why not? He is a gifted storyteller and there is no more appreciative audience for a good story than kids. After I read Stardust, I passed it on to my daughters and we have since all gotten hooked to Neil Gaiman’s stories.
Isn’t it then such a great coincidence and a great compliment to the author that while the movie adaptation of Coraline is out in theaters and getting good reviews, Gaiman is also awarded the Newbery? That just speaks volumes to the kind of author Neil Gaiman is and if you haven’t discovered his work yet, I suggest starting with this one. I’ve already placed my order.
“At the end of the day, I’m a storyteller”