- Books, Literature, and Writing
Newbery Award Winning Books
The Newbery Medal
The Newbery Medal, and Newbery Honor Books
The Newbery Medal is the greatest honor for an author of middle grade or young adult literature living in the USA. It means that the chosen book has been read and enjoyed by experts in the field of children's literature (librarians) and that the book has lasting value.
The American Library Association (ALA) is the organization that chooses Newbery Medal winners.
The Newbery Medal is one of many awards given by the ALA each year. A few of the other awards given to children's literature include the Caldecott Medal (for illustrations), the Geisel Medal (for early reader books), and the Odyssey Medal (for audiobooks for children). There's a graph near the end of this page listing all the ALA awards for children's and teen literature.
Each year one book is awarded a Newbery Medal, and there may be several books chosen as Newbery Honor Books, which is to say that they are runners up that are also worth reading. Some years there have been no Newbery Honor Books chosen, and there's no limit on the number that could be chosen as Honor Books. That decision is entirely left up to the committee appointed to choose the books each year.
This Year's Newbery Medal Winner
Newbery and Caldecott Awards - The Official Guidebook to the Newbery Medal Award Winning Books
This book is published annually during the springtime to include the newest Newbery Medal winner and Honor Books. The 2014 version was released on April 22, 2014.
Teachers and librarians use this guide for reference, for curriculum development, reader's advisory, and collections of the most distinguished American children's books according to the award judges of the ALA.
The 2014 version includes an essay on the history and development of poetry for children. It also includes bibliographic citations and indexes for the award winners, and a list of criteria used to select the winners.
The Two Sides of the Newbery Medal
Newbery Medal Criteria
The Newbery Medal is given to one distinguished book annually. The book can be fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, but it must be original. Reprints and compilations don't qualify.
Each year ALA member librarians review all eligible books printed the previous year, and select winners based on the following criteria:
- Interpretation of the theme or concept
- Presentation of information including accuracy, clarity, and organization
- Development of a plot
- Delineation of characters
- Delineation of setting
- Appropriateness of style
The 2014 Newbery Medal Winner - "Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures" by Kate DiCamillo
Ulysses is a squirrel who was sucked into a Ulysses Super Suction vacuum cleaner. He is rescued by cynical ten-year-old Flora, who soon learns her new squirrel can write poetry on her mother's typewriter.
This is the second Newbery Medal for authoress Kate DiCamillo. She also won in 2003 for "The Tale of Despereaux." In 2000 her book, "Because of Winn-Dixie," was a Newbery Honor Book. Both "The Tale of Despereaux" and "Because of Winn-Dixie" were made into movies.
"Flora and Ulysses" was published on September 24, 2013 and is appropriate for children ages 8 to 12. It is available in Kindle, hardcover, and paperback editions.
Official Book Trailer for "Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures"
"Paperboy" by Vince Vawter - 2014 Newbery Honor Book
Victor Vollmer, age 11, is a shy, stuttering paperboy in Memphis, Tennessee. The year is 1959. In this powerful coming-of-age novel the summer paperboy meets a variety of people who help him mature and handle life's challenges.
Author Vince Vawter is retired now, but worked in the newspaper industry for 40 years, including a stint as managing editor for the Knoxville, Tennessee News Sentinel.
"Paperboy" was published on May 14, 2013 and is appropriate for ages 10 and up. It is available in Kindle, hardcover, and paperback editions.
The Official Book Trailer for "Paperboy" by Vince Vawter
Author Vince Vawter Talks About Having "Paperboy" Named a Newbery Honor Book
"The Year of Billy Miller" by Kevin Henkes - 2014 Newbery Honor Book
Billy Miller, age 7, is attending second grade in Wisconsin. His teacher says it is the year of the rabbit, but his stay-at-home father tells him it is the "Year of Billy Miller." Sure enough, amazing things happen.
This would be a good first chapter book, especially for a young boy.
"The Year of Billy Miller" was published on September 17, 2013 and is appropriate for ages 8-12. It is available in Kindle, hardcover, or audiobook versions.
Author Kevin Henkes Speaks About "The Year of Billy Miller"
"One Came Home" by Amy Timberlake - 2014 Newbery Honor Book
"One Came Home" is a historical novel set in Wisconsin in 1871. Thirteen-year-old Georgie Burkhardt (a girl) is traumatized by the disappearance and reported death of her sister, Agatha. She cannot accept that the corpse her parents identified was actually the body of her sister, so she sets out to prove them wrong.
Author Amy Timberlake is from a small town in Wisconsin but since then has moved to Chicago.
"One Came Home" was published on January 7, 2014 and is appropriate for children ages 12 and up. It is available in Kindle, hardcover, and paperback editions.
Author Amy Timberlake, Discusses Her Writing Influence for "One Came Home"
"Doll Bones" by Holly Black - 2014 Newbery Honor Book
Alice, Poppy, and Zach (all age 12) are three kids on a mission. They've been playing a game with dolls and action figures together for years, but then Zach's father decides to throw away his action figures so he wants to leave the game. Then Poppy reveals that the ghost of a girl is haunting her doll, which may be made of the dead girl's bones, and they must travel to Ohio to honorably bury the girl's remains.
Authoress Holly Black also wrote the Spiderwick Chronicles.
"Doll Bones" was published on May 7, 2013 and is appropriate for ages 10 and up. It is available in Kindle, hardcover, and paperback editions.
Official Book Trailer for "Doll Bones" by Holly Black
Who Was John Newbery?
...the man behind the medal.
John Newbery was an English bookseller. He lived from 1713 to 1767.
At the age of 16 Newbery became a printer's apprentice. His master passed away and left half the business to him when he was 24.
About one-fifth of the books he printed were for children. His first big success was A Pretty Little Pocket Book, published in 1744.
Newbery's motto was Deluctando Monemus, meaning "instruction through delight".
History of the Newbery Medal
Frederic G. Melcher proposed his idea for the Newbery Medal to the Children's Librarians' Section of the American Library Association on June 21, 1921. The idea was accepted with enthusiasm and approved in 1922.
The original formal agreement stated that the Newbery Medal was intended "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 medal is named for John Newbery, a bookseller who lived in the 1800's.
The 2013 Newbery Medal Winner - "The One and Only Ivan" by Katherine Applegate
Ivan is a captured gorilla, and this story is told from his point of view.
I read this on my Kindle Paperwhite. Ivan was a lonely Silverback gorilla who understood English better than he understood people.
The One and Only Ivan - Official Book Trailer
Splendors and Glooms - 2013 Newbery Honor Book
Splendors and Glooms is a Gothic page-turner with a mysterious puppeteer, and a twelve-year-old doctor's daughter, Clara Wintermute, who is riddled with guilt and secrets.
This book has been described as "a banquet of dark comedy and scorching magic."
The author, Laura Amy Schlitz, won the Newbery Medal in 2008 for her book, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village.
Splendors and Glooms was published on August 28, 2012 and is appropriate for ages 9 and up. It is available in hardcover, Kindle and audiobook editions.
Author Laura Amy Schlitz in 2012 - She Won the Newbery Medal (2008) and Also Wrote the 2013 Honor Book, Splendors and Glooms
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage - 2013 Newbery Honor Book
Welcome to Tupelo Landing, North Carolina.
Here you'll meet Miss Moses LoBeau who washed up during a hurricane, as a baby, eleven years earlier, thus the name, "Moses" ... or "Mo" as she's commonly called.
She's made her home with a restaurant owner and plans to solve a murder mystery with her best friend, Dale.
Written by Sheila Turnage. Published on May 10, 2012 for ages 10 and up. Three Times Lucky is available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle, or audiobook editions.
Sheila Turnage, Author of Three Times Lucky, at the Gaithersville Book Festival
Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon - 2013 Newbery Honor Book
This book also won the 2013 "Excellence in Non-Fiction" award from the Young Adult Literary Services Association."
In Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon, you'll learn about the creation of the atomic bomb during World War II.
This is a fascinating non-fiction thriller telling not only the process of bomb-creation in America, but also Soviet attempts to steal the plans and Norwegian attempts to stop them from doing so.
Written by Steve Sheinkin. Published on September 4, 2012 for ages 10 and up. This book is available in hardcover, Kindle, or audiobook editions.
Steve Sheinkin, Author of Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
Newbery Medal Links - ...find out more.
- American Library Association
The ALA sponsors the Newbery Medal awards.
Thanks for visiting my Newbery Medal lens - I'm a huge fan of the Newbery books!
I'm very grateful for everyone who visits this lens. That means YOU! I love children's literature and love to share my joy with others who enjoy reading great books written for children and teens.
© 2007 Linda Jo Martin