The Newbery Medal Turns 100

The most prestigious American award in the world of children’s literature is the John Newbery Medal. 2022 will mark the 100th time this award has been given to the author of the year’s most distinguished children’s book. It was the first children’s book award in the world, and today the selection process is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ASLC). The 2022 Newbery Medal will be announced on Monday, January 24th as part of the Youth Media Awards.

Through the years, the committees selecting the Newbery winners have truly highlighted some exceptional books for kids. There has also been a fair amount of controversy, and there have been years when librarians have groused that the wrong book was selected. Since selection as the Newbery Medal winner often means that the chosen book will stay in print for many years, another topic that is often raised today is the question of how to deal with books that have racial stereotypes or other matter that is unacceptable today. I guess you can state with certainty that librarians just like to discuss books! You can find a complete list of Newbery Medal winners and also the Newbery Honor books here.

Here are a few of my favorite Newbery medal books:

I read the 2021 winner When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller and loved it!

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

From 2013: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

In 2004, Kate DiCamillo took home the gold with The Tale of Despereaux.

She also won the Newbery Medal in 2014 for Flora & Ulysses.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Lois Lowry also has two Newbery Medals, winning in 1994 for The Giver (You should read the book, even if you disliked the movie!) and in 1990 for Number the Stars.

                          The Giver by Lois Lowry Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

I love the characters E. L. Konigsburg created in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,

the story of two children who run away to New York City and hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Konigsburg won Newbery gold 29 years later for The View from Saturday in 1997.From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Do you have a favorite Newbery Medal book? Or do you have a favorite book that you think should have won the medal? Let us know below, and be sure to check back after January 24th to see the 2022 winner!

Update from 1/25/22: The Newbery Award for 2022 goes to The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera. I didn’t expect that! It sort of slipped in under the radar, but sounds great. Copies have been ordered. This title also won the Pura Belpre Award for best book representing Hispanic culture.