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The Newbery Medal, named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery, is awarded annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished American children's book published the previous year (Association for Library Service to Children

 

 

Newbery Winners 1985 to date

Gantos: Dead End in Norvelt (2012 Winner)

By Jack Gantos

2011, 352 pages, $11 list

The importance of history and reading (so you don’t do the same “stupid stuff” again) is at the heart of this achingly funny romp through a dying New Deal town. While mopping up epic nose bleeds, Jack narrates this screw-ball mystery in an endearing and believable voice.

 

Vanderpool: Moon Over Manifest (2011 Winner)

By Clare Vanderpool

2010, 368 pages, $17 list

It's as if readers jump off the train in Manifest, KS, in 1936 with Abilene Tucker, 12, the feisty, likable, and perceptive narrator. She is there to live with Pastor Shady Howard, her father's friend, while her father works on the railroad back in Iowa. An equally important story set during World War I is artfully intertwined. Since her mother went off on her own 10 years earlier, Abilene and Gideon have been alone. Though their life together is unsettled, their bond is strong. Shady's place is shabby, but he is welcoming. The mystery about Manifest and Gideon unfolds after Abilene finds a box filled with intriguing keepsakes. It includes a letter dated 1917 to someone named Jinx from Ned Gillen that has a warning, “THE RATTLER is watching.” This starts Abilene, with the help of new friends Ruthanne and Lettie, on a search to learn the identity of the pair. The story cleverly shifts back and forth between the two eras. Abilene becomes connected to Miss Sadie, a “diviner” who slowly leads her through the story of Ned and Jinx. Though the girl is lonely, she adjusts to her new life, feeling sure that her father will come for her at summer's end. The Ku Klux Klan and its campaign against the many immigrants working in the coal mines and the deplorable conditions and exploitation of these men provide important background. This thoroughly enjoyable, unique page-turner is a definite winner.

 

Stead: When You Reach Me (2010 Winner)

By Rebecca Stead

2009, 208 pages, $16 list

It is 1979 on the Upper West Side of New York City, and Miranda, a sixth grader, is telling us, or rather someone in particular, about the events of the previous few months — “trying to map out the story you asked me to tell.” How the spare apartment key suddenly disappeared. How her best friend, Sal, stopped talking to her after being hit by a strange boy on their way home from school. And how anonymous notes started appearing, referring to things no one else but she could know about and begging her to do things as well.

 

Gaiman: The Graveyard Book  (2009 Winner)

By Neil Gaiman

2008, 320 pages, $18 list

In The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman has created a charming allegory of childhood. Although the book opens with a scary scene--a family is stabbed to death by "a man named Jack” --the story quickly moves nto more child-friendly storytelling. The sole survivor of the attack--an 18-month-old baby--escapes his crib and his house, and toddles to a nearby graveyard. Quickly recognizing that the baby is orphaned, the graveyard's ghostly residents adopt him, name him Nobody ("Bod"), and allow him to live in their tomb. Taking inspiration from Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Gaiman describes how the toddler navigates among the headstones, asking a lot of questions and picking up the tricks of the living and the dead. In serial-like episodes, the story follows Bod's progress as he grows from baby to teen, learning life’s lessons amid a cadre of the long-dead, ghouls, witches, intermittent human interlopers. A pallid, nocturnal guardian named Silas ensures that Bod receives food, books, and anything else he might need from the human world. Whenever the boy strays from his usual play among the headstones, he finds new dangers, learns his limitations and strengths, and acquires the skills he needs to survive within the confines of the graveyard and in wider world beyond. 

 

Schlitz: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village (2008 Winner)

By Laura Amy Schlitz

2007, 96 pages, $20 list

Maidens, monks, and millers’ sons -- in these pages, readers will meet them all. There’s Hugo, the lord’s nephew, forced to prove his manhood by hunting a wild boar; sharp-tongued Nelly, who supports her family by selling live eels; and the peasant’s daughter, Mogg, who gets a clever lesson in how to save a cow from a greedy landlord. There’s also mud-slinging Barbary (and her noble victim); Jack, the compassionate half-wit; Alice, the singing shepherdess; and many more. With a deep appreciation for the period and a grand affection for both characters and audience, Laura Amy Schlitz creates twenty-two riveting portraits and linguistic gems equally suited to silent reading or performance. Illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings by Robert Byrd -- inspired by the Munich-Nuremberg manuscript, an illuminated poem from thirteenth-century Germany -- this witty, historically accurate, and utterly human collection forms an exquisite bridge to the people and places of medieval England. Step back to an English village in 1255, where life plays out in dramatic vignettes illuminating twenty-two unforgettable characters.

 

Patron: The Higher Power of Lucky (2007 Winner)

By Susan Patron and Matt Phelan

2006, 144 pages, $17 list

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 -- for wanting to go back to France. Guardians are supposed to stay put and look after girls in their care! Instead Lucky is sure that she'll be abandoned to some orphanage in Los Angeles where her beloved dog, HMS Beagle, won't be allowed. She'll have to lose her friends Miles, who lives on cookies, and Lincoln, future U.S. president (maybe) and member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers. Just as bad, she'll have to give up eavesdropping on twelve-step anonymous programs where the interesting talk is all about Higher Powers. Lucky needs her own -- and quick. But she hadn't planned on a dust storm. Or needing to lug the world's heaviest survival-kit backpack into the desert.

 

Perkins: Criss Cross (2006 Winner)

By Lynne Rae Perkins

2007, 368 pages, $7 list

She wished something would happen. Something good. To her. Checking her wish for loopholes, she found one. Hoping it wasn't too late, she thought the word soon. Meanwhile, in another part of town, he felt as if the world was opening. Life was rearranging itself; bulging in places, fraying in spots. He felt himself changing, too, but into what? So much can happen in a summer.

 

Kadohata: Kira-Kira (2005 Winner)

By Cynthia Kadohata

2006, 272 pages, $7 list

Glittering. That's how Katie Takeshima's sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And so are people's eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it's Lynn who explains to her why people stop on the street to stare. And it's Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering -- kira-kira -- in the future.

 

DiCamillo: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread (2004 Winner)

By Kate DiCamillo and Timothy Basil Ering

2006, 272 pages, $8 list

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other’s lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out. From the master storyteller who brought us BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE comes another classic, a fairy tale full of quirky, unforgettable characters, with twenty-four stunning black-and-white illustrations by Timothy Basil Ering. This paperback edition pays tribute to the book’s classic design, featuring a rough front and elegant gold stamping.

 

Avi: Crispin: The Cross of Lead (2003 Winner)

By Avi

2004, 320 pages, $7 list

Asta’s son” is all he’s ever been called. The lack of name is appropriate, because he and his mother are but poor peasants in fourteenth-century medieval England. But this thirteen-year-old boy who thought he had little to lose soon finds himself with even less -- no home, family, or possessions. Accused of a crime he did not commit, he has been declared a “wolf’s head.” That means he may be killed on sight, by anyone. If he wishes to remain alive, he must flee his tiny village. All the boy takes with him is a newly revealed name -- Crispin -- and his mother’s cross of lead. His journey through the English countryside is amazing and terrifying. Especially difficult is his encounter with the juggler named Bear. A huge, and possibly even mad, man, Bear forces the boy to become his servant. Bear, however, is a strange master, for he encourages Crispin to think for himself. Though Bear promises to protect Crispin, the boy is being relentlessly pursued. Why are his enemies so determined to kill him? Crispin is gradually drawn right into his enemies’ fortress where -- in a riveting climax -- he must become a different person if he is to save Bear’s life and his own. He discovers that by losing everything, he has gained the most precious gift of all: a true sense of self. A master of breathtaking plot twists and vivid characters, Avi brings the full force of his storytelling powers to the world of medieval England.

 

Park: A Single Shard (2002 Winner)

By Linda Sue Park

2003, 192 pages, $7 list

Tree-ear, an orphan, lives under a bridge in Ch’ulp’o, a potters’ village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potter’s craft; he wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated — until he finds obstacles in his path: the backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Min’s irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself — even if it means taking a long, solitary journey on foot to present Min’s work in the hope of a royal commission . . . even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard.

 

Peck: A Year Down Yonder (2001 Winner)

By Richard Peck

2002, 144 pages, $7 list

Mary Alice's childhood summers in Grandma Dowdel's sleepy Illinois town were packed with enough drama to fill the double bill of any picture show. But now she is fifteen, and faces a whole long year with Grandma, a woman well known for shaking up her neighbors-and everyone else! All Mary Alice can know for certain is this: when trying to predict how life with Grandma might turn out . . . better not. This wry, delightful sequel to the Newbery Honor Book A Long Way from Chicago has already taken its place among the classics of children's literature.

 

Curtis: Bud, Not Buddy (2000 Winner)

By Christopher Paul Curtis

2004, 272 pages, $7 list

It's 1936, in Flint, Michigan. Times may be hard, and ten-year-old Bud may be a motherless boy on the run, but Bud's got a few things going for him:
1. He has his own suitcase filled with his own important, secret things.
2. He's the author of Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself.
3. His momma never told him who his father was, but she left a clue: flyers of Herman E. Calloway and his famous band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression!!!!!!
Bud's got an idea that those flyers will lead him to his father. Once he decides to hit the road and find this mystery man, nothing can stop him--not hunger, not fear, not vampires, not even Herman E. Calloway himself.
Bud, Not Buddy is full of laugh-out-loud humor and wonderful characters, hitting the high notes of jazz and sounding the deeper tones of the Great Depression. Once again Christopher Paul Curtis, author of the award-winning novel The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963, takes readers on a heartwarming and unforgettable journey.

 

Sachar: Holes (1999 Winner)

By Louis Sachar

2003, 256 pages, $7 list

Stanley Yelnats tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment–and redemption.

 

Hesse: Out of the Dust (1998 Winner)

By Karen Hesse

1999, 240 pages, $6 list

A poem cycle that reads as a novel, Out of the Dust tells the story of a girl named Billie Jo, who struggles to help her family survive the dust-bowl years of the Depression. Fighting against the elements on her Oklahoma farm, Billie Jo takes on even more responsibilities when her mother dies in a tragic accident. A testament to the American spirit, this novel is an instant classic.

 

Konigsburg: The View from Saturday (1997 Winner)

By E.L. Konigsburg

1998, 176 pages, $6 list

HOW HAD MRS. OLINSKI CHOSEN her sixth-grade Academic Bowl team? She had a number of answers. But were any of them true? How had she really chosen Noah and Nadia and Ethan and Julian? And why did they make such a good team?

It was a surprise to a lot of people when Mrs. Olinski's team won the sixth-grade Academic Bowl contest at Epiphany Middle School. It was an even bigger surprise when they beat the seventh grade and the eighth grade, too. And when they went on to even greater victories, everyone began to ask: How did it happen? It happened at least partly because Noah had been the best man (quite by accident) at the wedding of Ethan's grandmother and Nadia's grandfather. It happened because Nadia discovered that she could not let a lot of baby turtles die. It happened when Ethan could not let Julian face disaster alone. And it happened because Julian valued something important in himself and saw in the other three something he also valued. Mrs. Olinski, returning to teaching after having been injured in an automobile accident, found that her Academic Bowl team became her answer to finding confidence and success. What she did not know, at least at first, was that her team knew more than she did the answer to why they had been chosen. This is a tale about a team, a class, a school, a series of contests and, set in the midst of this, four jewel-like short stories -- one for each of the team members -- that ask questions and demonstrate surprising answers.

 

Cushman: The Midwife's Apprentice (1996 Winner)

By Karen Cushman

1996, 128 pages, $6 list

From the author of "Catherine, Called Birdy" comes another spellbinding novel set in medieval England. The girl known only as Brat has no family, no home, and no future until she meets Jane the Midwife and becomes her apprentice. As she helps the sharp-tempered Jane deliver babies, Brat-who renames herself Alyce-gains knowledge, confidence, and the courage to want something from life: "A full belly, a contented heart, and a place in this world." Medieval village life makes a lively backdrop for the funny, poignant story of how Alyce gets what she wants. A concluding note discusses midwifery past and present. A Newbery Medal book.

 

Creech: Walk Two Moons (1995 Winner)

By Sharon Creech

2003, 304 pages, $7 list

As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe's outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold--the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.In her own award-winning style, Sharon Creech intricately weaves together two tales, one funny, one bittersweet, to create a heartwarming, compelling, and utterly moving story of love, loss, and the complexity of human emotion.

 

Lowry: The Giver (1994 Winner)

By Lois Lowry

2002, 192 pages, $7 list

In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.

 

Rylant: Missing May (1993 Winner)

By Cynthia Rylant

2004, 112 pages, $6 list

When May dies suddenly while gardening, Summer assumes she'll never see her beloved aunt again. But then Summer's Uncle Ob claims that May is on her way back—she has sent a sign from the spirit world. So Ob and Summer, despite her doubts, set off in search of a medium, whom they hope will explain May's departure and confirm her possible return.

 

Naylor: Shiloh (1992 Winner)

By Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

2000, 144 pages, $7 list

When Marty Preston comes across a young beagle in the hills behind his home, it's love at first sight -- and also big trouble. It turns out the dog, which Marty names Shiloh, belongs to Judd Travers, who drinks too much and has a gun -- and abuses his dogs. So when Shiloh runs away from Judd to Marty, Marty just has to hide him and protect him from Judd. But Marty's secret becomes too big for him to keep to himself, and it exposes his entire family to Judd's anger. How far will Marty have to go to make Shiloh his?

 

Spinelli: Maniac Magee (1991 Winner)

By Jerry Spinelli

1999, 180 pages, $7 list

Maniac Magee is a folk story about a boy, a very excitable boy. One that can outrun dogs, hit a home run off the best pitcher in the neighborhood, tie a knot no one can undo. "Kid's gotta be a maniac," is what the folks in Two Mills say. It's also the story of how this boy, Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee, confronts racism in a small town, tries to find a home where there is none and attempts to soothe tensions between rival factions on the tough side of town. Presented as a folk tale, it's the stuff of storytelling. "The history of a kid," says Jerry Spinelli, "is one part fact, two parts legend, and three parts snowball." And for this kid, four parts of fun.

 

Lowry: Number the Stars (1990 Winner)

By Lois Lowry

1998, 144 pages, $7 list

The evacuation of Jews from Nazi-held Denmark is one of the great untold stories of World War II. On September 29, 1943, word got out in Denmark that Jews were to be detained and then sent to the death camps. Within hours the Danish resistance, population and police arranged a small flotilla to herd 7,000 Jews to Sweden. Lois Lowry fictionalizes a true-story account to bring this courageous tale to life. She brings the experience to life through the eyes of 10-year-old Annemarie Johannesen, whose family harbors her best friend, Ellen Rosen, on the eve of the round-up and helps smuggles Ellen's family out of the country.

 

Fleischman: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices (1989 Winner)

By Paul Fleischman

2004, 64 pages, $6 list

Written to be read aloud by two voices––sometimes alternating, sometimes simultaneous––here is a collection of irresistible poems that celebrate the insect world, from the short life of the mayfly to the love song of the book louse. Funny, sad, loud, and quiet, each of these poems resounds with a booming, boisterous, joyful noise. In this remarkable volume of poetry for two voices, Paul Fleischman verbally re–creates the "Booming/boisterious/joyful noise" of insects. The poems resound with the pulse of the cicada and the drone of the honeybee. Eric Beddows's vibrant drawings send each insect soaring, spinning, or creeping off the page in its own unique way.A clear and fascinating guide to the insect world––from chrysalid butterflies to whirligig beetles–– and an exultant celebration of life.

 

Freedman: Lincoln: A Photobiography (1988 Winner)

By Russell Freedman

1989 (1st edition), 160 pages, $10 list

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 Newberry Medal Book.

 

Fleischman: The Whipping Boy (1987 Winner)

By Sid Fleischman

2003, 112 pages, $6 list

Jemmy, once a poor boy living on the streets, now lives in a castle. As the whipping boy, he bears the punishment when Prince Brat misbehaves, for it is forbidden to spank, thrash, or whack the heir to the throne. The two boys have nothing in common and even less reason to like one another. But when they find themselves taken hostage after running away, they are left with no choice but to trust each other.

 

MacLachlan: Sarah, Plain and Tall (1986 Winner)

By Patricia MacLachlan

2004, 64 pages, $6 list

Their mother died the day after Caleb was born. Their house on the prairie is quiet now, and Papa doesn't sing anymore. Then Papa puts an ad in the paper, asking for a wife, and he receives a letter from one Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton, of Maine. Papa, Anna, and Caleb write back. Caleb asks if she sings. Sarah decides to come for a month. She writes Papa: I will come by train. I will wear a yellow bonnet. I am plain and tall, and Tell them I sing. Anna and Caleb wait and wonder. Will Sarah be nice? Will she like them? Will she stay?

 

McKinley: The Hero and the Crown (1985 Winner)

By Robin McKinley

2007, 304 pages, $5 list

Robin McKinley's mesmerizing history of Damar is the stuff that legends are made of. The Hero and the Crown is a dazzling "prequel" to The Blue Sword.Aerin is the only child of the king of Damar, and should be his rightful heir. But she is also the daughter of a witchwoman of the North, who died when she was born, and the Damarians cannot trust her.But Aerin's destiny is greater than her father's people know, for it leads her to battle with Maur, the Black Dragon, and into the wilder Damarian Hills, where she meets the wizard Luthe. It is he who at last tells her the truth about her mother, and he also gives over to her hand the Blue Sword, Gonturan. But such gifts as these bear a great price, a price Aerin only begins to realize when she faces the evil mage, Agsded, who has seized the Hero's Crown, greatest treasure and secret strength of Damar.

 

End of Newbery Books