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Behold the Splendor of the San Francisco and Oakland 2019 90-Second Newbery!

April 10, 2019

Please donate to the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival! It’s tax-deductible. Our fiscal sponsor is Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.

Last Saturday and Sunday, the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival came romping through the Oakland Public Library in Rockridge and the San Francisco Public Library! As a winter-weary Chicagoan, I’m always delighted to come out to the Bay Area at this time of year, especially since it’s a chance to catch up with so many old friends.

And I’m extra-lucky to have as my co-host the hilarious and talented picture-book author Marcus Ewert of 10,000 Dresses, Mummy Cat, and Mr. Pack Rat Really Wants That! Watch the video above of me and Marcus, taken at the SFPL screening on Sunday, in which Marcus and I must struggle against the forced shutdown of the 90-Second Newbery by the fearsome HIGH SUPREME NEWBERY COUNCIL comprising Kate DiCamillo, Jacqueline Woodson, E.B. White . . . and Meindert De Jong? Who’s Meindert De Jong? Watch the video to find out some odd Newbery history, especially if you like Les Miserables! (And special thanks to Simran, who played the part of the Sergeant-At-Arms of the High Supreme Newbery Council to perfection.)

After the screenings in both Oakland and San Francisco, we had some of the filmmakers come up onstage with us for a picture (Simran’s the one who is about to fillet me with that sword):

Let’s look at some of the great videos we received from the Bay Area this year that we featured in the screenings! For instance, Simran and a lot of other young filmmakers in the San Francisco Public Library Video Production Club worked together to make this impressive version of Lois Lowry’s 1990 Medal Winner Number the Stars:

As the judges wrote on the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “This was a compelling, creative, resourceful adaptation . . . The cinematography and editing throughout was artful and effective, from the closeup on the German soldier’s eyes, to the way the fleeing girls are framed by his legs, to the shifting perspectives of different emotional reactions during the hurried, anxious conversations . . . I appreciated that the movie took the time to show the kids having fun and being authentic children, so that when the soldiers came searching for them, we felt their terror in a much more genuine way . . . A real triumph!”

Noemi, Grant, Sage, and Athan of Orange County, CA did this fantastic movie based on Adam Gidwitz’s 2017 Honor Book The Inquisitor’s Tale:

As the judges wrote on the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “What a knockout! This was a witty, crisp, and accurate sprint through the book. Not a moment was wasted . . . lots of goofy details and well-crafted jokes made this a pleasure to watch . . . I like the repeated use of the Charlie Brown Christmas music to indicate sad parts of the story, and especially how the movie accelerates as it goes on, mentioning the events of the book faster and faster as the appropriate images flash by . . . Charismatic actors, tight script, polished production!”

We were also proud to feature Astral and Defy’s movie based on Derrick Barnes’ 2018 Honor Book Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut:

As the judges wrote on the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “This movie featured a great reading of the poetry of the book, with the power of the carefully-selected images to bring all the emotions and ideas together! I liked how the rapid-fire images of geography exam, honor roll, and brain were quickly connected to the thematic poem, and how the use of memes, emojis, and dolls made the movie sing . . . Well done!”

We also got a bunch of great movies from Oakland, too! For instance, Elliott, Henry, and Owen did this snappy stop-motion version of Richard and Florence Atwater’s 1939 Honor Book Mr. Popper’s Penguins:

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “From the very beginning, the clear, confident, expressive voiceover performance told the story up with style! I loved the excellent and creative green screen work . . . The animations of the penguins emerging from the packages were particularly well done . . . It told the complete story entertainingly and ingeniously!”

Samarra, Mirella, Asha and Elza from Oakland made this fun and resourceful movie of Victoria Jamieson’s 2015 Honor Book, the graphic novel Roller Girl:

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “The cinematography and editing worked well, especially how it showed the schism between Zoe and Nichole. The intertitles did a good job keeping the plot on track, and I like how this movie uses actual roller skates . . . Good job putting this joyful, anarchic, fun movie together!”

Thanks to Erica Siskind and Liz Soskin of the Rockridge branch of the Oakland Public Library, plus Lyn Davidson, Jim Jeske, Kenny Avila, Catherine Cormier and Megan Anderson from the San Francisco Public Library. And special thanks to Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore and the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library for doing bookselling after the shows. And of course a gigantic thanks to all the filmmakers who participated, plus the parents and teachers who helped out.

As usual when I come out to San Francisco, I stay with my good friends Alisha and Sharon, two of the nicest and most generous people you could ever meet. They took me out to Onsen Bath & Restaurant in San Francisco, which meant two hours of relaxing with them in a Japanese-style hot bath, sauna, and steam room, followed by an amazing meal. If you’re ever in San Francisco, hoo man, you should try this. Alisha and Sharon also have folks over their place after the show for an afterparty, and it’s always a treat. Here’s Alisha with me and Marcus and my friend Nick after the SFPL show:

Remember, it’s never too early to start making movies for next year’s film festival. The deadline is in January 2020, but you can turn them in anytime! Complete details, including tips for filmmakers, can be found at the 90-Second Newbery website.

Thanks so much, San Francisco and Oakland! I’ll see you next year! And if you enjoyed the film festival, please consider a donation to the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival. It’s tax-deductible. Our fiscal sponsor is Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.

To round out the post, here’s the final montage that we used at the San Francisco screening:

The New York and Brooklyn 2019 90-Second Newbery screenings!

April 4, 2019

Please donate to the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival! It’s tax-deductible. Our fiscal sponsor is Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.

Last weekend I had an amazing trip to New York! Deb Ross (who organizes the 90-Second Newbery in Rochester, NY) and her daughter Ella took me out to see the Broadway show of Be More Chill. I got to have dinner with my friend Charlotte and her family who have been supporting the film festival from the beginning. I spoke at some schools and made some new friends. And I did screenings of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival at the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library!

These screenings were humdingers! Unfortunately I don’t have any usable video of the opening skits (if you want to see what it looked like in other cities, we got some good footage in Minneapolis), but above you can see me being confronted by Hannah, the Sergeant-At-Arms of the High Supreme Newbery Council, in our opening skit in Brooklyn. The same role was played by Violet for the New York Public Library screening—there she is below, with me and my co-host for the NYPL screening, Newbery Honor winner Rita Williams-Garcia.

I was particularly excited to work with Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer) as my co-host at the New York Public Library, and Torrey Maldonado (Tight) at the Brooklyn Public Library. Rita was actually special guest for the All-Star 90-Second Newbery when it was at the Symphony Space back in 2012, and Torrey has been my co-host in years past and he always kills it.

Here are Torrey and Rita and me with the filmmakers onstage after each of our events:

So much talent on those stages! Let’s take a look at the New York videos we featured one by one.

The aforementioned Violet and her friend Ocean have been making great stop-motion 90-Second Newberys for years. They created this Lego stop-motion movie of Jeanne Birdsall’s book The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy. The only problem? Uh, The Penderwicks didn’t win a Newbery! But it did win a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Good enough for me!

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery website (complete review here), “Fantastically elaborate stop-motion . .. the animation was smooth and fluid, the cinematography well-framed, the editing brisk and artful. I loved the big, impressive sets, especially the interiors of the houses . . . My favorite part was when the sisters build up the stairs to get Jeffrey out of his bedroom window, and he comes shimmying down on the rope . . . Entertaining and faithful to the book!”

Madeleine and Ellie came all the way from Lancaster, PA to attend the NYPL screening. Here’s their great movie based on Louis Sachar’s 1999 Medal Winner Holes:

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery website (complete review here), “A fun, stylish retelling of the story! I love how it begins and ends with the two narrators relaxing by a cozy fire in their robes, sipping tea or coffee or something, telling the story of Stanley Yelnats in a vaguely aristocratic tone . . . This was fun to watch, inventive, and resourceful—I’m impressed you were able to tell so much of this story (which, after all, has a large number of characters) with such a small cast!”

Here I am facing off against the fierce and dangerous Madeleine and Ellie after the show:

We received a lot of great submissions from the New York Public Library’s Enrichment Zones. For instance, here is Yamilet, Ester, David, Sophia, and Ehye of the Inwood Enrichment Zones doing the “Garden” vignette from Arnold Lobel’s 1973 Honor Book Frog and Toad Together:

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery website (complete review here), “Well-drawn backgrounds, beautiful paper puppets, and informative subtitles keep this adaptation of ‘The Garden’ fun to watch and easy to follow! The ever-changing music was a nice touch too, constantly altering to fit the development of the story . . . Fun, artistic, and true to the book!”

We received lots more movies from the NYPL’s Enrichment Zones—too many to feature in one post! You can see them all here.

Mohana Buckley has been submitting 90-Second Newbery movies for seven years, almost since the very beginning of the 90-Second Newbery. And Mohana’s videos are almost always based some extremely adventurous, out-there concept. Check out her movie this year of Eleanor Estes’ 1952 Newbery Medal Winner Ginger Pye:

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), here the original story is “translated into Polish, Hebrew, Chinese, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Portugese, Bengali, Russian, Japanese, and Punjabi using Google Translate and then translated back into English . . . complemented nicely by the rapid-fire deployment of animated clip art . . . Inventive, weird, and satisfying!

The day before the Brooklyn screening, I was lucky enough to get to visit St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn. That school submitted two amazing versions of Eugene Yelchin’s 2012 Honor Book Breaking Stalin’s Nose. Here’s one by Luca, Sonia, Matteo, Louise, Leo, Lily, Will, Joe, Margot, Ellie, Renn, May, Allison, and Kiran:

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery website (complete review here), “The black-and-white cinematography throughout gave the movie an appropriately old-fashioned historical feel. I liked the careful attention to the sets (the ominous black walls! the portrait of the Stalin the background!) and the voiceover carried the story forward efficiently and with verve . . . The disembodied nose of Stalin, complete with glases and little tuft of hair on top, was a masterstroke . . . This was great!”

Here’s another movie of the same book, also from St. Ann’s, by Braden, Clover, Ginger, Hannah, May, Renn, Rhea, Zoya, and Zeeshan:

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery website (complete review here), “Ingenious and elaborate! This movie pulls out all the stops in making the Russia setting come alive: the Russian-y music that played through the whole thing, the authentic-looking Russian-language signs and text in Cyrillic throughout . . . but of course the big stroke of genius is having Stalin’s nose itself be the narrator, in a surreal puppet show in which it explains the events of the story in rhyming verse . . . Delightful, creative, and fun to watch!”

Ilsa Waldron, Mia La Rosa, and Erin Serpa (with the help of their cinematographer Lola La Rosa) from Queens made this movie of Kate DiCamillo’s 2001 Honor Book Because of Winn-Dixie:

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery website (complete review here), “I loved the passion, energy, and craft that went into this movie . . . The cinematography was resourceful and the editing was brisk, keeping the story moving clearly and quickly. But my favorite thing about this movie was the acting! The librarian’s over-the-top freakout when she thinks Winn-Dixie is a bear, or the way Gloria Dump talks (“Ain’t that a terrible last name? DUMP!”) or how Opal’s big emotions of rage and joy and loneliness and impatience are bubbling under every scene . . . Wonderfully done!”

Young filmmakers from the Clarendon branch of the Brooklyn Public Library made this inventive version of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1963 Medal Winner A Wrinkle in Time by retelling the story using a bunch of anime clips:

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery website (complete review here), “What a brilliant, deranged, sounds-like-it-shouldn’t-work-but-totally-does idea to retell the story of A Wrinkle in Time totally in redubbed Naruto anime clips! The concept was deliciously original, the new voiceovers were expressive and engaging, the clips themselves were cleverly chosen to visually tell the story, and to my surprise, by the end of this movie most of the story of the book really was conveyed! An entertaining, creative, original way to make a movie.”

We also featured this movie of Sid Fleischman’s 1987 Medal Winner The Whipping Boy by kids from the Foote School in New Haven, CT:

As the judges said on the 90-Second Newbery website (complete review here), “The ‘prince’ was amusingly bratty and the whipping boy was funny (‘Finally! I won’t get whipped!’). I liked the whipping boy’s weirdly small bedroom, and it was fun to watch the friendship develop between the whipping boy and the prince. Good editing and concise script too!”

We actually got quite a few movies from the Foote School! If you want to see a bunch more great 90-Second Newberys, here they are.

And those are the movies of the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library screenings for 2019! Thanks so much to the folks at the libraries who helped us set this all up, especially Brandon Graham and Paquita Campoverde of the Brooklyn Public Library and Amber Moller, Beth Dukes, Tali Stolzenberg-Myers, and Emily Krell at the New York Public Library. Here are the final montages that we showed at the screenings. First, at the Brooklyn Public Library:

And here’s the final montage we showed at the New York Public Library:

It’s never too early to start making your movies for next year’s screening! You can turn them in anytime! Complete information about the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival here.

Please donate to the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival! It’s tax-deductible. Our fiscal sponsor is Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.

Thank You, Tacoma, For An Astounding 2019 90-Second Newbery Screening!

March 29, 2019

Do you like the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival? Please consider donating to keep us going! It’s tax-deductible! Our fiscal sponsor is Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.

It’s one of my favorite shows of the year! Last week the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival stomped its way through Tacoma, Washington with a crowded screening at their historic Blue Mouse Theatre. We got so many great movies from Tacoma this year, and the show was a dream! That’s all due to the hard work of the Tacoma Public Library’s most valuable player, Sara Sunshine Holloway:

And almost every time I’ve done the film festival in Tacoma, it’s been with the hilarious and talented Doug Mackey, who always brings his great energy to every performance. I love working with this guy.


Special thanks to Ellaina, who helped with the opening skit as the Sergeant-at-Arms of the HIGH NEWBERY COUNCIL! Unfortunately, the camera that we had recording the opening skit was on the fritz, so the footage was unusable, but here’s Ellaina and me, plus a look at when the heads started exploding during the skit:

Special thanks also to John Hargis and Isaac who handled the lights and all the transitions in the tech booth! And of course thanks to all the great filmmakers who came out in force for the event:

Let’s look at the Tacoma-made movies from this year! There was an impressive batch, from many different schools and families and organizations! For instance, here’s Matt de la Pena’s 2016 Medal Winner Last Stop on Market Street as made by Avery and Nicolas of the Tukwila Library (with special thanks to Reel Grrrls):

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “The elaborate cut-paper people, buildings, trees, and even animals were expertly crafted and beautiful to look at . . . The voiceover acting was expressive, sensitive, and true to the gentle spirit of the book . . . That kind of craftsmanship makes the whole thing seem more vivid and real!”

Fletch and Otto of Tacoma made this charming movie of the “Cookies” vignette from Arnold Lobel’s 1973 Honor Book Frog and Toad Together:

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “Charming, beautifully shot and edited, and true to the book! This was a delightful Frog and an adorable Toad. I loved the earnest, patient way Toad explains to Frog how the cookies could be reached, and Frog’s repeated roars of frustration felt real! . . . This movie looked great, with sharp camera work and careful editing that told the story clearly and amusingly.”

Nigel and Simone made this movie of Jean Craighead George’s 1960 Honor Book My Side of the Mountain, telling this survival story to the tune of Gloria Gaynor’s 1970s disco hit “I Will Survive”:

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “I appreciated the use of real animals and outdoor locations to make the story feel authentic . . . There was great slapstick visual comedy in how the librarian kept stacking more and more books in Sam’s hands, in the end just hurling them at him, until he loses his grip on all the books and they go tumbling! . . . This was super entertaining.”

Every year, Mr. Johnson’s 5th Grade at the Grant Center for Expressive Arts turns in some amazing movies, many of which I show nationally. For instance, check out this version of Sterling North’s 1964 Honor Book Rascal: A Memoir of a Better Era, about a boy and his raccoon:

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “Between the old-time piano background music, the old-fashioned clothes, and the breakneck-speed narrative, this movie is super-enjoyable to watch from start to finish. The cinematography and editing were crisp and assured: I especially liked the comical jump cut when the extravagantly-mustached father slurps down his coffee and says, ‘Yup!’ The deployment of Rascal in the various scenes was very artful, from the right-behind-him point-of-view shot when he opens the door, to the part when Rascal’s fishing line catches . . . a whale?!? . . . And I loved the ending of this movie, in which we find out what Rascal REALLY did when he was released . . . Funny, resourceful, and ingenious!”

That’s not the only movie we received from Mr. Johnson’s class. We also received this movie of the short story “The Gingi” from Patricia McKissack’s 1993 Honor Book The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural, in which the cursed statue that a mother brings home to her house is here replaced by a McDonald’s Happy Meal:

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “Funny, surprising, and refreshingly irreverent! From the start, the title cards and suitably spooky music were effective in setting the proper ghost-story mood . . . I appreciated the slow-burn feeling of this, the way it starts totally normal but then slowly and subtly deepens the spooky atmosphere . . . I laughed out loud with shock when the mother actually exploded!”

Mr. Johnson’s 5th Grade also made this great version of Erin Entrada Kelly’s 2018 Medal Winner Hello, Universe, twisting the ending so that the guinea pig who got thrown in the well exacts some revenge on the bully character:

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “This is exactly the kind of twist I love to see in a 90-Second Newbery! This movie tells the story of Hello, Universe accurately and respectfully, carefully introducing the characters and situations with admirable economy and style . . . and then refreshingly throws it all out the window for a satisfying and ridiculous finale! . . . I laughed and gasped with delight as Gulliver grew to huge proportions and then chased the bully. A funny, irreverent adaptation of the book!”

Here’s another inventive twist on a classic book by Mr. Johnson’s 5th Grade: remaking Gary Paulsen’s 1988 Honor Book Hatchet in the style of the video game Fortnite:

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “Unique and hilarious . . . The shots were well-framed and the editing was crisp . . . I liked the green-screened chests that keep appearing . . . and how they all seem to have the same thing, a hatchet. Cutting from ‘Seriously, another hatchet?’ to a cave full of hatchets was comic genius . . . Amazing work!”

There’s one more movie from Mr. Johnson’s 5th Grade that I’d like to highlight, and it’s of Joan W. Blos’ 1980 Medal Winner A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-1832:

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “I appreciated the meticulous attention to detail: the accurate period costumes, the resourceful use of green screen, the extensive use of outdoors locations, and the emotionally appropriate music that seems to sync up to the actions onscreen. There was even a fun bird puppet! . . . My favorite parts were the irreverent touches, like one character anachronistically saying ‘Oh sure whatevsies,’ or the wedding kiss being interrupted by the director storming on set and bellowing, ‘Cut! Guys, remember we’ve gotta keep this PG!'”

Thanks for all those great movies, Mr. Johnson’s 5th Grade from the Grant School For Expressive Arts!

Let’s look at some other movies from Tacoma that we featured at the screening. For instance, there was this ambitious and exciting version of Robin McKinley’s 1985 Medal Winner The Hero and the Crown by Martin Anderson, Aunya Crow, Quinn Sukys, Vivian Sukys, Olivier Bonjour, and Josiah Anderson:

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “The performances were suitably outsized and heroic, and yet grounded in authentic emotion. The first shot, of a grand castle-like structure, puts the viewer in the high fantasy mood, though the next scene takes care to bring the action down to earth by having Galanna rant against our hero Aerin. After Aerin gets her mission, I was amused at how she ‘rides her horse’ (a stop-motion sequence with a toy rocking horse, very resourceful!) . . . Great background music throughout, and the swordfight against Agsded was very well handled! It feels genuinely triumphant when Aerin thrusts the crown into the air, and the head of the dragon as well! ”

The 4th and 5th Grade Students from Rainier Elementary School at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA did this fun adaptation of Linda Sue Park’s 2002 Medal Winner A Single Shard:

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “What a creative and resourceful reimagining of the story! I loved the stroke of brilliance of making Min a baker instead of a potter . . . and so his masterpieces aren’t vases, but cakes! I loved all the performances: the snarky, cantankerous baker Min, the supplicating and constantly bowing Tree-Ear, the sassy wife (‘Well, we’re not just going to leave her in the streets!’). Excellent cinematography and crisp editing whipped this movie along efficiently and with style.”

Browns Point Elementary did this great version of Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s 2016 Honor Book The War That Saved My Life, in which the students provided all the music themselves:

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “Wow! The piano playing in this movie really made it stand out! I thought it was brilliant to have the music change throughout, to match the emotion and energy of each scene. The green screen and costumes were resourceful and made the world convincing. The acting was especially engaging and believable: ‘Mam’ was satisfyingly boo-hiss mean and cruel, Ada was tragically put-upon and earnest and finally triumphant, brother Jamie was by turns defiant and authentically childish, and Susan’s arc from resisting kids to welcoming them was well-played.”

Every year the Seabury School in Tacoma submits a lot of great movies, so many that unfortunately we can’t possibly feature them all at the screening. Let’s look at two that we were able to feature this year, for instance Victoria Maeng and friends’ adaptation of Richard and Florence Atwater’s 1939 Honor Book Mr. Popper’s Penguins (which dwells amusingly on the Poppers’ dysfunctional marriage):

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “I loved this bonkers, high-energy, irreverent take on the story! I enjoyed how Mr. Popper is here played as a naive layabout, and his wife Mrs. Popper is an over-the-top exasperated housewife, clunking around with her big stick and nagging Mr. Popper and getting frustrated with his Antarctic obsessions. It was especially funny when she snatched his newspaper, rolling it up and began battering him with it, calling him ‘a lazy one’ . . . the “penguins” obviously had a lot of fun rolling around in it! Great acting from everyone, and it told the story quickly and with enthusiasm and ingenuity!”

Also from Seabury School, we received this version of Lois Lowry’s 1994 Medal Winner The Giver from Ishaan K. and friends:

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “This was a low-key but artfully effective adaptation. I like how it started with scenes that could’ve easily been from our own world (realistic and grounded scenes of hanging out with one’s family, walking to school with a friend), and then subtly beginning to introduce the dystopian aspects of the world of the story . . . It was a fun choice to have the camera zoom dramatically into Jonas’ face when he is shocked at the rule ‘You May Lie’ or when he discovers the truth about ‘release’ . . . A fun, accurate sprint through the book!”

Along with Victoria’s and Ishaan’s movies, we received a lot of other great movies from Seabury School this year. You can see them all here.

We also received a batch of good movies from Summit Trail Middle School in Maple Valley, WA, including this movie of Katherine Paterson’s 1978 Medal Winner A Bridge to Terabithia by Emma, Peyton, Josh, Jessica, and David:

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “It was a smart idea to start with the footrace that sparks Leslie and Jesse’s friendship. The scene with Leslie and Jesse and the rope in the woods was well-done, revealing their different characters by their different attitudes towards the rope: I liked how it highlighted Leslie’s daredevil pushiness and Jesse’s more circumspect wariness. And their different outfits — Jesse’s drab, Leslie’s whimsical — also worked well to show their different personalities (‘Don’t let go, and just let it happen!’) . . . Fast, resourcefully shot, and faithful to the book!”

We actually got quite a few movies from Summit Trail Middle School. You can see them all here.

There are a few more movies I want to feature on this post that we showed at the screening. For instance, 7-year-old M. Hanawalt did this delightful puppet show of Patricia MacLachlan’s 1986 Medal Winner Sarah, Plain and Tall:

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “Creative use of hand-made puppetry and hand-drawn backgrounds to tell the story! I liked the resourceful and clever use of a paintbrush to portray a broom in the puppet’s hands. The voice acting was engaging and convincing, and Sarah’s paisley dress was quite groovy! The movie sprints through the story entertainingly, and covers a surpsingly large amount of the plot. Good job!”

And finally, we also featured at the screening a movie based on a book that drew from events that happened right in Tacoma, of Katherine Applegate’s 2013 Medal Winner The One and Only Ivan:

As the judges wrote in the 90-Second Newbery website (full review here), “I loved that this movie used such a wonderfully elaborate, real-looking gorilla costume for Ivan (and good performance too, beating his chest and trying to peel the banana)! There was also a good use of stock photos and archival newspapers to tell Tacoma’s story of Ivan. The scenes with Ivan being fed or listening to his human supervisors were well-shot and fun to watch. The informative voiceover kept the story on track and clear. I especially liked the ‘feeding’ scene of Ivan!”

And that was the 2019 Tacoma 90-Second Newbery Film Festival! Thanks again to Sara Sunshine Holloway and everyone at the Tacoma Public Library and the good people at the Blue Mouse theatre, as well as my co-host Doug Mackey, tech wizards John Hargis and Isaac, and of course all the young filmmakers and their teachers and parents and facilitators who helped this whole thing to come together. I always have a great time in Tacoma! Here’s the final montage of all the movies, below. And please consider donating to keep us going!

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