Well, this is an interesting one for me. I haven’t paid attention to Newberry books for a very long time, about 18 years, honestly. I barely cared much then and I was a teacher. Okay, so I taught music but I used a ton of books in my music classes for my PK – 5th grade students. The tie ins were just so easy!
From my understanding, each year the American Library Association chooses one book as the winner and a few honor titles. It originated in 1921 and is currently administered by the American for Library Service to Children, a division of the ALA. The original proposal stated the purpose as: “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.” It was the first award for children’s books.
So, what am I going to do? I don’t know. I have been browsing the list of the winners and honor titles on the main site and have found several that I have read, several I have no desire to read, and several that look sort of interesting. I will probably read some of the older ones.
I am challenging myself to read, or at least look at, the current winner. I will share the books I have on my own shelves at the end of the month. But I’ll be honest – I struggle with the Newbery Medal books because they are such a tiny little section of the literature out there. I tend to pick books because they are well-written or interesting, not because they have a seal on their cover. However, some of my favorites are in the list for the Newbery Award. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s works received 5 recognitions with this award. I can name a number of authors that I respect that have works here yet they are still just a small portion of the literature out there. See my list below for the tip of the iceberg.
Also, when the ALA changed the title of one of their awards due to pressure from those who felt Laura Ingalls Wilder had racial issues in her works, I really lost a lot of my appreciation for what they do. (The ALA may have renamed the Wilder Medal but Laura Ingalls Wilder will always be a legacy writer in my eyes and any children I can influence.)
Some of the Newbery books the I like (and there were plenty of others I did not list!) include:
- 2016 Honor Book The War That Saved My Life;
- 2013 winner The One And Only Ivan;
- 2010 Honor Book Where The Mountain Meets The Moon;
- 2001 winner A Year Down Yonder;
- 2000 Honor book Our Only May Amelia;
- 1999 honor book A Long Way From Chicago;
- 1990 winner Number the Stars;
- 1984 honor book Sign of the Beaver;
- 1979 winner The Westing Game;
- 1963 winner A Wrinkle In Time;
- 1962 winner The Bronze Bow;
- 1959 honor book The Family Under The Bridge;
- 1955 winner The Wheel on the School;
- 1953 honor books Charlotte’s Web and The Bears on Hemlock Mountain;
- 1950 winner The Door In The Wall;
- 1948 winner The Twenty-One Balloons;
- 1948 honor book Misty of Chincoteague;
- 1946 honor book Justin Morgan Had A Horse;
- 1945 honor book The Hundred Dresses;
- 1944 honor book The Happy Golden Years;
- 1942 honor book Little House On The Prairie;
- 1941 honor books Blue Willow and The Long Winter;
- 1940 honor books The Singing Tree and By The Shores of Silver Lake;
- 1939 honor book Mr. Popper’s Penguins;
- 1938 honor book On The Banks of Plum Creek;
- 1934 winner Invincible Louisa;
Do you have a favorite Newbery winner? What is the title?
Lori, At Home.
Be sure to visit the other participating in the online book club –