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.

Children’s Book Awards 2021

Every winter, the library and publishing worlds eagerly anticipate the announcement of the Youth Media Awards. For publishers, it’s a chance to celebrate the critical success of their books. For authors and illustrators, the awards represent the the highest honors in children’s literature and virtually guarantee the books will be in publication for many, many years. For librarians, it’s just one more reason to share the “best of the best” with library patrons. Here are the 2021 winners of the Randolph Caldecott Medal, the John Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award.

We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

 

 

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded to the illustrator of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The 2021 medal winner, We Are Water Protectors, was illustrated by Michaela Goade and written by Carole Lindstrom. The book was inspired by indigenous-led movements which have sounded an alarm about the need to protect our nation’s waters.

 

 

 

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

 

 

In contrast to the Caldecott, the John Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished American book for children. It typically, though not aways, goes to the author of a chapter book. If you love books based on folklore, you need to read When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller! Here’s teaser from the publisher’s description, “Would you make a deal with a magical tiger? This uplifting story brings Korean folklore to life as a girl goes on a quest to unlock the power of stories and save her grandmother.

 

 

 

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

 

The winner of the 2021 Coretta Scott King Author Award is Jacqueline Woodson for her book Before the Ever After. This novel-in-verse explores how a family moves forward when the father’s glory days as a professional football player have passed and he experiences the long-term physical effects of his career. Woodson has won numerous book awards including the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award and the 2014 National Book Award for her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming. She was the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

The Coretta Scott King Book Committee also awards an annual illustrator award and an award for “New Talent.”

 

 

You can view the full list of Youth Media Awards here, including the Michael L. Printz Award for Young Adult Literature, the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for beginning readers, and the Schneider Family Book Award which honors authors and illustrators who present an artistic expression of a disability experience.