Have I told you about Newberry Award books yet? No? Well, I’ll just have to write something for you, now won’t I? Anyhow, I collect Newberry Award winners, and will eventually write a series of essays comparing and contrasting the winners each year. Maniac McGee was one of only 2 Newberry Award books in 1991, and beat out True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle for the gold. I must say, I liked Charlotte a little bit better, but then that just could be because I was in a high-adventure mood when I read it.
Maniac McGee is the story of an orphan who lives on his own for a few years after his parents die. He returns to his old town, only to be caught up in a vicious race struggle between the town’s residents. Maniac uses his natural charm to help bridge the gap between the citizens, and has some adventures on his own in the mean time. It was a great, easy read, and passed on a message that is common in Newberry Award winners: race doesn’t matter.