- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — A Baltimore librarian’s classroom project is now part of publishing history. “Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices From a Medieval Village,” first conceived a decade ago by Laura Amy Schlitz, is this year’s winner of the John Newbery Medal for best children’s book.

The award was announced yesterday by the American Library Association, which is meeting in Philadelphia.

“Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!” began in 1997 at the Park School of Baltimore, where Mrs. Schlitz has worked since the early 1990s. Working with fifth-graders on the Middle Ages, she noticed the students were so enthusiastic, “going at it hammer and tongs,” that she saw a chance to combine education and entertainment.

“I wanted them to have something to perform, but no one wanted a small part,” said Mrs. Schlitz, who has written three other children’s books. “So I decided to write monologues instead of one long play, so that for three minutes at least, every child could be a star.”

Previous winners of the Newbery, founded in 1922, include such favorites as Louis Sachar’s “Holes” and Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time.”