Skip Navigation LinksCherry Creek School District > District News > Sunrise Newbery Club Looks to the Future
Print this page

Sunrise Newbery Club Looks to the Future

newbery2017thumb2.jpgMegan Smith was eager to get back to her roots.

Smith felt like she left an important part of her identity behind when she started sixth grade at Thunder Ridge Middle School in the fall. Specifically, she missed the comradery and closeness of the Sunrise Elementary School Newbery Club, a student organization that welcomes readers and encourages literary discussions.

For the past four years, the Sunrise group has been dedicated to reading, discussing and recognizing eligible entries for the annual Newbery Award, America's premiere prize for children's literature. Smith joined when she was in fourth grade, and she wasn't going to let her status as a middle school student keep her away from one of the club's biggest annual events.

"This club meant a lot to me when I was here," Smith said as she joined current Newbery Club members at Sunrise on Jan. 23. Smith was on hand in the school's library when Susie Isaac, the Sunrise librarian, announced this year's official Newbery winners to dozens of students. Smith cheered and celebrated with club members, readers who were younger, but who shared a similar passion for reading.  "I was with the nerds of my kind when I was here," Smith said, adding that she misses the in-depth discussions of plot, theme and characters, "We could all discuss our ideas together. I was really nostalgic to get back."

That kind of passion for literature and reading is at the heart of the Newbery Club, which launched in 2013 as a way to get students invested in books. According to Isaac, the mission has been overwhelmingly successful, as membership in the group has grown from 30 kids to more than 50.


"It's become wildly popular," Isaac said, pointing out that the club draws readers of all backgrounds and abilities. "All of our club members feel safe to read and discuss different books."

That much was clear as Newbery Club members assembled for the biggest meeting of the year. The Sunrise group had already voted on their favorite Newbery candidate of the year, and many readers chose "The Girl Who Drank the Moon," a coming-of-age fantasy by Kelly Barnhill. Their selection proved prophetic. During their meeting on Jan. 23, Isaac announced that the official Newbery committee, a group of esteemed scholars, artists and professionals, had chosen the same book as the 2017 Newbery Medal winner.

"They chose this book, and you did, too. You're amazing!" Isaac told the assembled group. "I hope that when you take your children to the library someday, you can talk to them about reading this award-winning book."newbery2017thumb1.jpg

Isaac and the rest of the Sunrise library staff want to make sure that future generations of Newbery Club readers will have the same opportunity. The staff has applied for a grant through the Follett Challenge, which could qualify the club for up to $60,000 in money for its most precious resource: books. While the Sunrise group has earned critical grants from the Cherry Creek School Foundation in past years, winning the Follett Challenge grant could usher in a new era of stability for generations of young readers.

"If we can win, this club will be funded until I retire," she said.

Supporters can vote for the Newbery Club here. Winners will be announced after the contest wraps up at the end of the week.

For Isaac and the rest of the Newbery Club, the contest is the latest exciting update in a push for literacy that's already exceeded expectations. As Isaac wrapped up the final Newbery Club meeting of the 2016-17 school year, several students seemed disappointed that it was coming to an end.

"What are we supposed to do on Fridays?" a student asked aloud, only to find a clear response in a coordinated chorus from the rest of the group: "READ! READ! READ!"

It's a message that resonated with Megan Smith, who hasn't lost her passion for books with her move to middle school.

"I just finished a new Newbery Award book," she said. "I think it would be really fun to start a club at my new school."

Posted 1/25/2017 8:42 AM

"It's become wildly popular ... All of our club members feel safe to read and discuss different books."

-- Susie Isaac, Sunrise Elementary School Librarian


Copyright © Cherry Creek School District #5, 4700 S. Yosemite Street, Greenwood Village, CO 80111 | 303-773-1184
Cherry Creek School District No. 5 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in admission to its programs, services or activities, in access to them, in treatment of individuals, or in any aspect of their operations. The lack of English language skills shall not be a barrier to admission or participation in the district’s activities and programs. The Cherry Creek School District No. 5 also does not discriminate in its hiring or employment practices. This notice is provided as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Questions, complaints, or requests for additional information regarding these laws may be forwarded to the designated compliance officer: District Compliance Officer or directly to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Region VIII, Federal Office Building 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite #310, Denver, CO 80204.

You are now leaving the Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) portal. Please note that CCSD does not control nor can it guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, completeness, or appropriateness of any content contained on web sites and/or pages outside of the official CCSD portal. The information or opinions contained on these web sites and/or pages do not necessarily represent the views of the CCSD.

With access to the internet comes the availability of material that may not be of educational value or appropriate for students. While at school, CCSD has taken precautions to restrict access to inappropriate or harmful web sites. However, on the internet it is impossible to control all materials and limit all access to information that has no educational value. CCSD firmly believes that the valuable information and the interaction available on the internet far outweigh the possibility that users may procure material that is not consistent with the educational goals of CCSD.