Genevieve asked below if I can post about the Newbery unit when I teach it, and I will for sure, if we even get to it-- I'm trying something new with this class, an individual author study project cribbed and modified from Planet Esme, and what with interruptions for assemblies and topical one-shot lessons and vacations and snow days, it is taking a long, long time. A weekly 45-minute library class seems like plenty until you're actually trying to get something done, and then it is as a blink of the eye.
I hope against hope that by the time they do their presentations they're not all heartily sick of their chosen authors.
In the meantime, check out The Newbery Project, a group blog whose members are reading all the Newbery Medal winners and posting about it. I like the Newbery trivia and the tangential questions like "are there any children's books with adult [human] protagonists?" Fun.