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Newbery Medal

The Highest Honor in Children's Literature

The John Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the best book in children's literature published the previous year. The Medal is presented by the Association for Library Service to Children, and it is one of the oldest literary awards in the world. At the request of Frederic G. Melcher, the Newbery Medal was designed by René Paul Chambellan in 1921, and the inscription on the Medal still says, "Children's Librarians Section".

Only books published by American publishing houses written by authors who claim residence in the United States are eligible for nomination, and there have been several authors who have won multiple Newbery Medals. Author John Krumgold won his first Medal in 1954 for ?And Now Miguel, and he won his second Medal in 1959 for Onion John. Lois Lowry has also won two Newbery Medals for Number the Stars (1989) and The Giver (1993).

The History of the Newbery Medal

John Newbery (1717-1767) was the first publisher dedicated to the publication and encouragement of literature written expressly for children. He was such a profound presence and architect of the burgeoning market that the Newbery Medal was named in his honor.

The idea for the Medal was introduced to the American Library Association by Melcher and received enthusiastic support. Melcher strongly believed in the tradition and importance of children?s literature, and exclaimed that the purpose of the award would be: "To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children. To emphasize to the public that contributions to the literature for children deserve similar recognition to poetry, plays, or novels. To give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children's reading interests, an opportunity to encourage good writing in this field." The first Medal was presented in 1922 to author Hendrik Willem van Loon for his work, The Story of Mankind.

Although originally the winner of the Medal was decided by popular vote, the procedure has changed multiple times since then and now the winner is chosen by a special committee.

Debate over Newbery Medal Winners

There have been many instances of controversy over the winners selected for the Newbery Medal Award. Beyond typical arguments of the subjective matter over who was the most deserving any given year, many literary scholars have remarked that the winning book of the Medal is often too complex and mature for most children to understand or appreciate. Some have even argued that to distinguish a book with the Newbery Medal serves to only alienate potential young readers.

Regardless of the controversy, the Newbery Medal has remained the gold standard for children?s literature, and winners are often featured on school reading lists for years to come.

2011 Winner

Moon Over Manifest By Clare Vanderpool

Moon Over Manifest, Clare Vanderpool’s first novel, is set in the fictional small town of Manifest, Kansas, which is based on the real southeastern Kansas town of Frontenac, home of both of her maternal grandparents. Drawing on stories she ... read more


2010 Winner

When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me By Rebecca Stead

Rebecca Stead is the Newbery Award Winning author of When You Reach Me and First Light . She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children.


2009 Winner

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book By Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book is a children's fantasy novel by British-born author Neil Gaiman. The story is about a boy named Nobody Owens who, after his family is killed by a mysterious man, is subsequently adopted and raised by the occupants of an old gr... read more


2007 Winner

The Higher Power Of Lucky

The Higher Power Of Lucky By Susan Patron

Lucky, age ten, can't wait another day. The meanness gland in her heart and the crevices full of questions in her brain make running away from Hard Pan, California (population 43), the rock-bottom only choice she has. It's all Brigitte's fault --... read more


2005 Winner

Kira-Kira

Kira-Kira By Cynthia Kadohata

For the visual novel, see Kirakira (visual novel). Kira-Kira is a young adult novel by Cynthia Kadohata. It won the Newbery Medal for children's literature in 2005. The book's plot is about a Japanese-American family living in Georgia. The ma... read more


2004 Winner

The Tale Of Despereaux

The Tale Of Despereaux By Kate Dicamillo

The Tale of Despereaux, also known as The Tale of Desperaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread is a 2003 Newbery Medal winning children's fantasy book written by Kate DiCamillo. It tells the story of a mouse... read more


2003 Winner

Crispin

Crispin By Avi

Sequel to: Crispin, the cross of lead.


2002 Winner

A Single Shard

A Single Shard By Linda Sue Park

A Single Shard is the winner of the 2002 Newbery Medal, awarded for excellence in children's literature. The novel was written by Linda Sue Park, and is set in 12th-century Korea.


2001 Winner

A Year Down Yonder

A Year Down Yonder By Richard Peck

A Year Down Yonder is a novel by Richard Peck that won the Newbery Medal in 2001. It is a sequel to A Long Way from Chicago, which itself received a Newbery Honor. "The year is 1937, and the Great Depression has hit the Dowdel family hard. 15-ye... read more


2000 Winner

Bud Not Buddy

Bud Not Buddy By Christopher Paul Curtis

Bud, Not Buddy is a 1999 children's novel by Christopher Paul Curtis. The book is the winner of the 2000 Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature, as well as the Coretta Scott King Award that is given in recognition of o... read more


1999 Winner

Holes

Holes By Louis Sachar

"Frances Foster Books." Newbery Medal, 1999.


1998 Winner

Out Of the Dust

Out Of the Dust By Karen Hesse

Out of the Dust is a verse novel written by Karen Hesse. It was winner of the Newbery Medal in 1998, Scott O'Dell Award, an ALA Notable Children's Book, an ALA "Best book" a School Library Journal "best book of the year", ... read more


1997 Winner

The View From Saturday

The View From Saturday By E L Konigsburg

The View from Saturday is a children's novel written by E. L. Konigsburg. It won the Newbery Medal in 1997.


1995 Winner

Walk Two Moons

Walk Two Moons By Sharon Creech

Walk Two Moons is a novel written by Sharon Creech and published in 1994. It won the 1995 Newbery Medal. At the beginning of the story, Salamanca Tree Hiddle is taking a road trip with her grandparents to visit her mother in Lewiston, Idaho. To pass ... read more


1994 Winner

Giver

Giver By Lois Lowry

The Giver is a 1993 novel by Lois Lowry. It is set in a future society which is at first presented as a utopian society and gradually appears more and more dystopian; therefore, it could be considered anti-utopian. The novel follows a boy named Jonas... read more


1993 Winner

Missing May

Missing May By Cynthia Rylant

Missing May is a children's book, the recipient of the 1993 Newbery Medal. It was written by Cynthia Rylant, who has written over 60 children's books such as The Islander. The novel is set in present-day West Virginia. The protagonist is Summ... read more


1991 Winner

Maniac Magee

Maniac Magee By Jerry Spinelli

Maniac Magee is a young adult fiction novel written by American author Jerry Spinelli and published in 1990. Exploring themes of racism and homelessness, it follows the story of an orphaned boy looking for a home in the fictional Pennsylvania town of... read more


1990 Winner

Number the Stars

Number the Stars By Lois Lowry

Number the Stars is a work of historical fiction about the Holocaust during World War II  by Newbery Award-winning author Lois Lowry. Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen is the central character, who lived in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1943 and was cau... read more


1988 Winner

Lincoln

Lincoln By Russell Freedman

A description of the boyhood, marriage, and young professional life of Abraham Lincoln includes his presidential years and also reflects on the latest scholarly thoughts about our Civil War president. A Newbery Medal Book.   This title has be... read more


1987 Winner

The Whipping Boy

The Whipping Boy By Sid Fleischman

The Whipping Boy is a Newbery medal-winning children's book by Sid Fleischman, published in 1987.


1985 Winner

The Hero and The Crown

The Hero and The Crown By Robin McKinley

The Hero and the Crown, is a fantasy novel written by Robin McKinley and published by Greenwillow Books in 1984. It is the winner of the 1985 Newbery Medal award. The book is the prequel to The Blue Sword, written in 1982.


1983 Winner

Dicey's Song

Dicey's Song By Cynthia Voigt

The Newbery-winning novel in Cynthia VoigtâÈçs timeless series is repackaged with a modern look. When Momma abandoned Dicey Tillerman and her three siblings in a mall parking lot and was later traced to an asylum where she lay unrecognizing, unk... read more


1982 Winner

A Visit To William Blake's Inn

A Visit To William Blake's Inn By Nancy Willard

Inspired by William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, this delightful collection of poetry for children brings to life Blake’s imaginary inn and its unusual guests.


1981 Winner

Jacob Have I Loved

Jacob Have I Loved By Katherine Paterson

Jacob Have I Loved is a novel by Katherine Paterson that won the 1981 Newbery Medal. The title refers to the sibling rivalry between Jacob and Esau in the Jewish and Christian Bible, and comes directly from Romans 9:13: As it is written, "Jacob ... read more


1979 Winner

The Westing Game

The Westing Game By Ellen Raskin

The Westing Game is a novel by Ellen Raskin that was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1979. It has been adapted into a movie, released under both the names The Westing Game and Get a Clue. The sixteen heirs of magnate Sam Westing are called upon at the r... read more


1978 Winner

Bridge To Terabithia

Bridge To Terabithia By Katherine Paterson

Bridge to Terabithia is a work of children's literature about two lonely children who create a magical forest kingdom. The author is Katherine Paterson, and the book was published in 1977 by HarperCollins. In 1978, it won the Newbery Medal. Pater... read more


1977 Winner

Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry

Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry By Mildred Taylor

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a 1976 novel by Mildred D. Taylor. The novel won the 1977 Christopher Nugent Newbery Medal. Its sequel, Let the Circle Be Unbroken, was released in 1981.


1976 Winner

The Grey King

The Grey King By Susan Cooper

The Grey King is a children's fantasy novel by Susan Cooper which was awarded the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1976. It is the fourth of five stories in her young adult Arthurian fantasy cycle, The Dark Is... read more


1974 Winner

The Slave Dancer

The Slave Dancer By Paula Fox

The Slave Dancer is a children's book written by Paula Fox and published in 1973. It tells the story of a boy who witnessed first-hand the savagery of the African slave trade. The book not only includes a historical account, but it also touches u... read more


1973 Winner

Julie Of the Wolves

Julie Of the Wolves By Jean Craighead George

Julie of the Wolves is a children's novel by Jean Craighead George, published in 1972, about a young Yupik girl experiencing the changes forced upon her culture from outside. There are two sequels, Julie and Julie's Wolf Pack.


1971 Winner

The Summer Of the Swans

The Summer Of the Swans By Betsy Byars

Summer of the Swans is a novel by Betsy Byars that won the Newbery Medal in 1971 about fourteen-year-old Sara Godfrey's search for her missing, mentally retarded brother Charlie. Summer of the Swans was filmed as Sara's Summer of the Swans fo... read more


1970 Winner

Sounder

Sounder By William H Armstrong

Sounder is a young adult novel by William H. Armstrong. It is the story of an African-American boy living with his sharecropper family in Depression-era Louisiana. Although the family's difficulties increase when the father is imprisoned for stea... read more


1969 Winner

High King

High King By Lloyd Alexander

The High King is the last book in the Chronicles of Prydain fantasy series of books by Lloyd Alexander. It was awarded the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1969.


1968 Winner

From the Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler

From the Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler By E L Konigsburg

When Claudia decided to run away, she planned very carefully. She would be gone just long enough to teach her parents a lesson in Claudia appreciation. And she would go in comfort-she would live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She saved her money,... read more


1967 Winner

Up a Road Slowly

Up a Road Slowly By Irene Hunt

Up a Road Slowly is a coming-of-age novel by Irene Hunt that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1967. The story takes place in the United States during the mid 20th century.


1966 Winner

I, Juan De Pareja

1965 Winner

Shadow Of a Bull

Shadow Of a Bull By Maia Wojciechowska

Shadow of a Bull is a novel by Maia Wojciechowska that was awarded the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1965.


1963 Winner

A Wrinkle In Time

A Wrinkle In Time By Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time is a science fantasy novel by Madeleine L'Engle, first published in 1962. The book won a Newbery Medal, Sequoyah Book Award, and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, and was runner-up for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. It is the first... read more


1962 Winner

The Bronze Bow

The Bronze Bow By Elizabeth George Speare

The Bronze Bow is a book by Elizabeth George Speare that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1962.


1961 Winner

Island Of the Blue Dolphins

Island Of the Blue Dolphins By Scott O'dell

Island of the Blue Dolphins is an American children's novel written by Scott O'Dell. The novel was published in 1960, winning the Newbery Medal in 1961, and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1963.


1960 Winner

Onion John

Onion John By Joseph Krumgold

Onion John is a novel written by Joseph Krumgold and published in 1959. It was the winner of the 1960 Newbery Medal. The story is set in 1950s New Jersey, and tells the story of 12-year-old Andy Rusch and his friendship with an eccentric hermit who l... read more


1959 Winner

The Witch Of Blackbird Pond

The Witch Of Blackbird Pond By Elizabeth George Speare

The Witch of Blackbird Pond is a children's historical novel by American author Elizabeth George Speare, published in 1958. The story takes place in late 17th-century New England. It won the Newbery Medal in 1959.


1958 Winner

Rifles For Watie

Rifles For Watie By Harold Keith

Rifles for Watie is an American children's novel by Harold Keith. It was first published in 1957, and received the Newbery Medal the following year.


1957 Winner

Miracles On Maple Hill

Miracles On Maple Hill By Virginia Sorenson

Miracles on Maple Hill is a 1956 novel by Virginia Sorenson that won the 1957 Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature.


1955 Winner

The Wheel On the School

The Wheel On the School By Meindert De Jong

The Wheel on the School is a novel by Meindert DeJong that won the 1955 Newbery Medal for children's literature and the 1957 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis. The book was illustrated by noted author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. Fred Inglis, in ... read more


1954 Winner

And Now Miguel

And Now Miguel By Joseph Krumgold

... And Now Miguel is a novel by Joseph Krumgold that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1954. It deals with the life of Miguel Chavez, a 12-year-old Hispanic-American shepherd from New Mexico. It is also th... read more


1953 Winner

Secret Of the Andes

Secret Of the Andes By Ann Nolan Clark

Secret of the Andes is a novel by Ann Nolan Clark that won the 1953 Newbery Medal.


1952 Winner

Ginger Pye

Ginger Pye By Eleanor Estes

Ginger Pye is a book by Eleanor Estes, originally published in 1951. Ginger Pye won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1952.


1951 Winner

Amos Fortune, Free Man

Amos Fortune, Free Man By Elizabeth Yates

Winner of the Newbery Medal! When Amos Fortune was only fifteen years old, he was captured by slave traders and brought to Massachusetts, where he was sold at auction. Although his freedom had been taken, Amos never lost his dinity and courage. ... read more


1950 Winner

The Door In the Wall

The Door In the Wall By Marguerite De Angeli

The Door in the Wall is a 1949 novel by Marguerite de Angeli that received the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1950.


1949 Winner

King Of the Wind

King Of the Wind By Marguerite Henry

King of the Wind is a novel by Marguerite Henry that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1949. It was made into a 1990 movie.


1948 Winner

The Twenty-One Balloons

The Twenty-One Balloons By William Pene Du Bois

The Twenty-One Balloons is a novel by William Pène du Bois, published in 1947 and awarded the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1948. The story is about a retired schoolteacher whose ill-fated balloon trip leads h... read more


1947 Winner

Miss Hickory

Miss Hickory By Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

Miss Hickory is a 1946 novel by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1947.


1946 Winner

Strawberry Girl

Strawberry Girl By Lois Lenski

Strawberry Girl is a Newbery medal winning novel written and illustrated by Lois Lenski. It was first published in 1945. Set in the U.S. state of Florida in the early 20th century, the story deals with two families, the Boyers and the Slaters. The Bo... read more


1945 Winner

Rabbit Hill

Rabbit Hill By Robert Lawson

Rabbit Hill is a novel by Robert Lawson that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1945.


1944 Winner

Johnny Tremain

Johnny Tremain By Esther Forbes

Johnny Tremain, a 1943 children's novel by Esther Forbes, retells in narrative form the final years in Boston prior to the outbreak of the American Revolution. The novel's themes include the apprenticeship system, the conflicts in Boston betw... read more


1943 Winner

Adam Of the Road

Adam Of the Road By Elizabeth Janet Gray

Adam of the Road is a novel by Elizabeth Janet Gray that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1943. Set in thirteenth-century England, the book follows the adventures of a young boy, Adam. After losing his spa... read more


1942 Winner

Matchlock Gun

Matchlock Gun By Walter Edmonds

The Matchlock Gun is a novel by Walter D. Edmonds that won the Newbery Medal for excellence as the most distinguished contribution to American children's literature in 1942.


1941 Winner

Call It Courage

Call It Courage By Armstrong Sperry

Call It Courage (published as The Boy Who Was Afraid in the United Kingdom) is a book in English written and illustrated by Armstrong Sperry that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1941.


1939 Winner

Thimble Summer

Thimble Summer By Elizabeth Enright

Thimble Summer is a novel by Elizabeth Enright that won the 1939 Newbery Medal. It is set in Depression-era rural Wisconsin.


1938 Winner

The White Stag

The White Stag By Kate Seredy

The White Stag (Narnia), object of the final quest of the Kings and Queens of Narnia in the C.S. Lewis book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The White Stag, a children's short novel, recipient of the 1938 Newbery Medal. The White Stag or Cs... read more


1937 Winner

Roller Skates

Roller Skates By Ruth Sawyer

Roller Skates is a book by Ruth Sawyer that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1937. It deals with the author's New York childhood.


1936 Winner

Caddie Woodlawn

Caddie Woodlawn By Carol Ryrie Brink

Caddie Woodlawn is a popular children's novel by Carol Ryrie Brink, and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman which won the John Newbery Medal in 1936. Set in the 1860s, it is about a lively eleven-year-old tomboy named Caroline, nicknamed "Cadd... read more


1935 Winner

Dobry By Monica Shannon

Dobry is a book by Monica Shannon that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1935.


1934 Winner

Invincible Louisa

Invincible Louisa By Cornelia Meigs

Invincible Louisa is a book by Cornelia Meigs that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1934. It discussed the life of author Louisa May Alcott.


1933 Winner

Young Fu Of the Upper Yangtze

Young Fu Of the Upper Yangtze By Elizabeth Lewis

Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze is a book by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1933. The story revolves around Fu Yuin-fah, the son of a widow from the countryside of western Chin... read more


1932 Winner

Waterless Mountain By Laura Adams Armer

Waterless Mountain is a novel by Laura Adams Armer that was awarded the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1932. It is the story of Younger Brother, a Navajo Indian in the 1920s whose wish is to follow in the footst... read more


1931 Winner

The Cat Who Went To Heaven

The Cat Who Went To Heaven By Elizabeth Coatsworth

The Cat Who Went to Heaven is a 1930 novel by Elizabeth Coatsworth that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1931. It was based on an old Buddhist folk tale, and is a highly symbolic work dealing with the conc... read more


1930 Winner

Hitty, Her First Hundred Years

Hitty, Her First Hundred Years By Rachel Field

Hitty Her First Hundred Years is a memoir written in the voice of a doll, Mehitabel, or Hitty for short, constructed in 1822 from the wood of a Mountain Ash tree from Ireland by a peddler stranded during a winter storm at a house in Maine. After ... read more


1929 Winner

The Trumpeter Of Krakow By Eric P Kelly

The Trumpeter of Krakow is a young adult historical novel by Eric P Kelly, first published in 1928 by Macmillan. It won the Newbery Medal for Excellence in 1929. The story takes place in historic Poland in the Middle Ages and centers around a secret ... read more


1928 Winner

Gay-Neck, the Story Of a Pigeon

Gay-Neck, the Story Of a Pigeon By Dhan Gopal Mukerji

Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon is a 1928 children's novel by Dhan Gopal Mukerji that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1928. It deals with the life of Gay Neck, a prized Indian pigeon. Mukerji wrote th... read more


1927 Winner

Smoky the Cow Horse

Smoky the Cow Horse By James Will

Smoky the Cowhorse is a novel by Will James that was the winner of the 1927 Newbery Medal. The story details the life of a horse in the western United States from his birth to his eventual decline. Smoky is born in the wild, but is captured and train... read more


1926 Winner

Shen Of the Sea

Shen Of the Sea By Arthur Bowie Chrisman

Shen of the Sea is a collection of short stories by Arthur Bowie Chrisman that won the Newbery Medal in 1926. Chrisman's original stories are written in the style of humorous Chinese folk tales. The title story tells of a king who tries to match ... read more


1923 Winner

The Voyages Of Doctor Dolittle

The Voyages Of Doctor Dolittle By Hugh Lofting

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle was the second of Hugh Lofting's Doctor Dolittle books to be published, coming out in 1922. It is nearly four times longer than its predecessor and the writing style is pitched at a more mature audience. The scope o... read more


1922 Winner

The Story Of Mankind

The Story Of Mankind By Hendrik Willem Van Loon

The Story of Mankind was written and illustrated by American journalist, professor, and author Hendrik Willem van Loon and published in 1921. In 1922, it was the first book to be awarded the Newbery Medal for an outstanding contribution to children&#... read more


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