The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century
British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association
for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association,
to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature
by Kwame Alexander
Newbery Medal 2015
Josh Bell (12) and his twin brother JB are talented basketball players. Josh is also talented with words, and narrates this story of family and brotherhood in rapping verse. Josh has to deal with his brother’s attraction to a new girl at school and his father’s failing health and must face the consequences of breaking the rules.
|The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate
Newbery Medal 2013
Ivan is a silverback gorilla who has been confined for 27 years at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade along with an aging elephant named Stella and a stray dog named Bob. While the other animals perform, Ivan makes art and watches TV. When Ruby, a baby elephant, arrives, Stella dies of neglect, asking Ivan to promise to help Ruby escape.
by Clare Vanderpool
Newbery Medal 2011
In 1936, while her father is away on
a railroad job, 12-year-old Abeline Tucker spends the summer
in her father’s hometown of Manifest, Kansas. Based on her father’s
stories, Abeline expects something magical, and is disappointed
to find only a worn out old town. But Abeline is determined to
find out what her father was like at her age, and explores the
past through stories and newspaper columns. When she finds a
hidden cigar box full of old letters, Abeline and her new friends
are quickly involved in a spy hunt, eager to unveil the secrets
of the past.
|Last Stop on Market Street
by Matt de la Peña, Christian Robinson
Every Sunday CJ and his Nana ride the Market Street bus to the end of the line after church. One day CJ wonders why he doesn’t have the things other kids have. Why do they ride a bus instead of having a car? Why doesn’t he have an iPod? His grandmother answers each question by pointing out the richness of his environment. The bus driver is their friend and does tricks for CJ. A passenger on the bus plays his guitar, surrounding CJ and the rest of the passengers with live music. Nana’s ability to find beauty and pleasure where most folks don’t think to look inspires CJ, and when they reach the soup kitchen CJ is glad they came.
|Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
by Kate DiCamillo, K.G. Campbell
Flora (10), bitter about her parents’ divorce, becomes obsessed with superhero comics. When a squirrel is swallowed whole by a Ulysses Super-Suction Multi-Terrain 200X vacuum cleaner, Flora rescues him and names him after the machine. Transformed by his experience, Ulysses the squirrel become super-strong, learns to fly, and begins to compose poetry on Flora’s mother’s typewriter. This clever novel is a wonderful combination of realistic sadness and comedy.
|Dead End in Norvelt
by Jack Gantos
Jack Gantos’s summer 1962 vacation
plans take an unexpected turn when he is grounded “for
his bickering parents. But then his mother loans him out to
a neighbor, and Jack finds himself typing obituaries of the
strange and wonderful people who founded his small town. This
funny and mysterious semi-autobiographic mix of fact and fiction
is fast-paced and immensely entertaining.
You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead
Miranda (12) is the latchkey kid
of a single mother law school dropout in late 1970s Manhattan.
After reading A
Wrinkle in Time, Miranda is obsessed with time travel,
and receives mysterious notes which accurately predict
the future. Over the course of her 6th grade year, Miranda
describes the three important themes in her life: her mother’s
upcoming appearance on The $20,000 Pyramid, the
sudden end of her lifelong friendship with her neighbor
Sal, and the appearance of a deranged homeless man. This
thought-provoking and realistic science fiction is enthralling.
by Neil Gaiman
Newbery Medal 2009
When a murderer kills the rest
of his family, the toddler escapes to the graveyard next
door where the ghosts take him in and raise him as their
own. The boy, called Bod (short for Nobody) grows up
fairly normal despite his ghoulish guardians and the
fact that the killer is still stalking him. This gothic
fantasy is downright terrifying at times.
|The Higher Power of Lucky
by Susan Patron
Newbery Medal 2007
Lucky (10) lives in a small town in the
middle of the California desert with her French guardian, who
has been caring for her since her mother died two years ago.
Fearing that her guardian will leave her and return to France,
Lucky stocks her survival backpack and searches for her Higher
by Cynthia Kadohata
Newbery Medal 2005
In the 1950s, when Katie is five,
her family moves from Iowa to Georgia, where there are few
Japanese-Americans. Katie’s older sister Lynn takes care
of her while their parents work long hours in the chicken-processing
plant. Their roles reverse when Lynn develops lymphoma. Through
the illness and Lynn’s death, Katie struggles to remember
her sister as kira-kira, glittering and shining.
Narrated by Katie, this beautifully written book tells a
poignant story of love and loss.
|Crispin: The Cross of
Newbery Medal 2003
Set in 14th century England, Crispin
is a 13-year-old illiterate peasant who flees his village after
being accused of a crime he did not commit on the day of his
mother’s death. He hopes that the words on his
mother’s lead cross
will provide a clue to his unknown father. He falls in with Bear,
a huge traveling juggler, and their relationship is the heart
of the book.
|A Year Down Yonder
by Richard Peck
Newbery Medal 2001
It’s 1937 and Mary Alice
(15) is banished from Chicago to spend a year with Grandma Dowdel
in rural Illinois while her parents struggle to make ends meet
and her brother Joey heads west with the Civilian Conservation
Corps. Mary Alice knows it won’t be easy being the new city kid
in a country school, especially with an outrageous relative like
Grandma. This hilarious and touching book is the sequel to A
Long Way to Chicago.
|Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
from a Medieval Village
by Laura Amy Schlitz
Newbery Medal 2008
Written to be performed by a classroom
of students, these 23 short monologues in prose and verse bring
to life an English village in 1255.
by Lynne Rae Perkins
Newbery Medal 2006
Two 14-year old narrators tell their
story in prose, poems, and question-and-answer sessions. Debbie
wishes something would happen so that she can become a different
person; Hector feels unfinished.
Young teens will relate to the feelings of self-consciousness
and uncertainty as the characters strive for self-awareness.
Perkin’s amusing drawings add to the charm. (sequel
Alone in the Universe)
Tale of Despereaux
by Kate DiCamillo
Newbery Medal 2004
When Despereaux is born within the walls
of the castle, he is such tiny mouse with such huge ears that
his parents fear he won’t
live long. Despereaux falls in love with the beautiful human
Princess Pea and is banished to the dungeon. Chiaroscuro is a
rat who hates the dark dungeon and longs to live in the light
above. Miggery Sow is a peasant servant who dreams of wearing
a princess crown herself. These four characters interact in unexpected
ways in this delightful and suspenseful fairy tale.
|A Single Shard
by Linda Sue Park
Newbery Medal 2002
In a potter’s village in 12th century
Korea, the orphan Tree Ear is raised by a lame straw weaver.
One day Tree Ear breaks a piece of Min’s pottery and pays his
debt by working for the potter and dreaming of making beautiful
pots himself. Tree Ear is sent by Min to the king’s court, carrying
an example of Min’s new celadon ware. After robbers shatter the
pot, Tree Ear continues the dangerous journey, now carrying only
one precious single shard.
|Bud, Not Buddy
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Newbery Medal 2000
Bud is a 10-year-old orphan in Depression-era
Michigan. He runs away to Grand Rapids, searching for the man
he believes might be his father, jazz musician Herman E. Calloway.
Along the way Bud has all sorts of exciting adventures, narrated
in his own authentic and often hilarious voice. Calloway is less
than thrilled to meet Bud, but the other members of his band
make Bud feel at home.
by Louis Sachar
Newbery Medal 1999
Stanley Yelnats has been sent to Camp
Green Lake, a juvenile detention facility in the desert. Each
day the boys are required to did a hole five feet deep and five
feet in diameter, and then fill it in again. Stanley suspects
that this is not a character-building exercise—the warden
is searching for something. This strange book will keep kids
glued to the pages, eager to find out what will happen next.
|The View From Saturday
by E.L. Konigsburg
Newbery Medal 1997
Four brilliant but shy 12-year-olds meet
every Saturday for tea and preparation for their Academic Bowl
competitions. First person narrations from each character reveal
their offbeat personalities and the characteristics that help
their individual differences unite into a cohesive whole. This
compassionate and imaginative novel is a humorous look at friendship
and the power of small deeds to make big changes.
|Walk Two Moons
by Sharon Creech
Newbery Medal 1995
Salamanca Tree Hiddle’s mother leaves
home on a spiritual quests, but promises to return. She doesn’t,
and Sal and her father move from Kentucky to Idaho. Her new friend
Phoebe is also 13 and also has a mother who vanished. Sal convinces
her grandparents to drive to Idaho in search of her mother while
telling the story of Phoebe. Sal’s journey through the grieving
process of denial, anger, and acceptance is presented realistically
and with compassion.
by Cynthia Rylant
Newbery Medal 1993
When Summer’s foster mother Aunt May
dies suddenly she is overcome with grief. But her foster father
Uncle Ob is so sorrowful that Summer fears he will not be able
to go on living without May. In a quest to find closure, Summer,
Ob, and Cletus, a classmate of Summer’s, search for a spiritualist
who may be able to communicate with May. They can’t find the
spiritualist, but somehow the quest helps them to heal.
by Jerry Spinelli
Newbery Medal 1991
After being orphaned as a baby, Jerry
Magee is brought up by his aunt and uncle, who fight all the
time. He runs away at age eight to Two Mills,
Pennsylvania and becomes a folk hero—Maniac Magee, the
boy who can outrun any dog, hit any pitch, untie any knot. He
is taken in by a black family but that causes problems in the
racially divided town. Maniac keeps searching for the perfect
family and eventually helps the town bridge the gap between
racial and cultural differences.
|Out of the Dust
by Karen Hesse
Newbery Medal 1998
Billie Jo (14) records the grim realities
of living in the Oklahoma dust bowl during the Depression. In
her free verse journal, she reveals her mother’s death
and her own burns in a fire and her father’s grief. Billie Jo’s
hope for a better future shines through all the pain and struggle
by Karen Cushman
Newbery Medal 1996
In medieval England, a young girl rises
from dire poverty by becoming the apprentice to
Jane Sharp, a cranky and bossy midwife. First known as Beetle,
since she was found living in a dung heap, the girl struggles
to learn the skills of her new profession. As she grows in knowledge
and self-confidence, the girl finally respects herself enough
to choose a real name: Alyce.
by Lois Lowry
Newbery Medal 1994
Jonas lives in an ideal world with no
pain, poverty, unemployment, or unhappiness. The Elders arrange
marriages, assign careers, control sexual and aggressive impulses
with drugs, and manage the “release” of
the old and the weak. At age 12, Jonas is chosen to be the Receiver
of Memories and is trained by an old man known as the Giver
to finally understand that their utopian world is maintained
by the loss of free will and humanity. This thought-provoking
is both powerful and disturbing.
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Newbery Medal 1992
Marty Preston (11) rescues a mistreated
beagle pup. He knows the pup should be returned to its owner,
but fears it will be abused. So he hides it from his parents
and then has to steal food to feed it. Marty’s struggles to do
the right thing form the heart of this heartwarming story.
|Number the Stars
by Lois Lowry
Newbery Medal 1990
1943 in Nazi-occupied Denmark, and the Jews are about to be rounded
up and sent to the death camps. Annemarie Johannesen’s
best friend Ellen
Rosen is Jewish. The Johannesen family helps Ellen’s parents
go into hiding and take Ellen into their own home, pretending
she is part of their family. Narrated by 10-year-old
Annemarie, this book vividly portrays the Nazi threat and the
it takes to help friends while possibly endangering your own
family. This moving and suspenseful book is based on true events.
|Joyful Noise: Poems
for Two Voices
by Paul Fleischman
Newbery Medal 1989
These poems about insects are designed
to be read aloud by two voices, bring the words to life. Eric
Beddows’s black-and-white drawings echo the realism and fanciful
nature of the poems.
|The Whipping Boy
by Sid Fleischman
Newbery Medal 1987
Jemmy is an orphan whose job is to take
the whippings for Prince Brat since it is forbidden
to punish the royal heir. When Brat decides to see life outside
the castle, he forces Jemmy to come with him, and Jemmy
is accused of kidnapping the prince. The boys are captured by
Hold-Your-Nose Billy, a notorious outlaw, and Jemmy must use
all his cleverness to keep them both alive in this funny and
|The Hero and the Crown
by Robin Mckinley
Newbery Medal 1985
Aerin is the only child of the king of
Damar, but since she is the daughter of a witchwoman the Damarians
do not trust her. Outcast by her own people, Aerin slowly begins
to trust in her own developing strengths. With the guidance of
the wizard Luthe and the help of the blue sword she battles
Maur, the Black Dragon to win her birthright.
by Cynthia Voigt
Newbery Medal 1983
Dicey (13) and her three siblings are
living on a farm with her grandmother. Their father
deserted the family, and their mother is in a mental institution.
Used to being the main support for her siblings, Dicey must get
used to the fact that they don’t need her in the same way. All
of the children must adjust to a new school and a new life with
Gram, who is fiercely independent. (sequel to Homecoming)
|Jacob Have I Loved
by Katherine Paterson
Newbery Medal 1981
Growing up on Chesapeake Bay island in
the early 1940s, Louise knows that she
is hated, like Esau from the Bible, while her twin sister Caroline,
like Jacob, is the one everyone loves. While the family pampers
the beautiful and gifted Caroline, lonely and miserable Louise
learns the way of the watermen from old Captain Wallace. Eventually
Louise learns that she has her own strengths.
|Lincoln: A Photobiography
by Russell Freedman
Newbery Medal 1988
This comprehensive and accessible biography
of Abraham Lincoln is enhanced by period photographs and drawings.
|Sarah, Plain and Tall
by Patricia Maclachlan
Newbery Medal 1986
In the late 19th century, a widowed
midwestern farmer with two children, Anna and Caleb, advertises
for a wife. Sarah responds, saying that she is plain and tall.
When Sarah arrives she is homesick for Maine, and especially
for her beloved ocean. The children fear she will not stay. Narrated
by Anna, this short book gently explores abandonment, loss, and
|Dear Mr. Henshaw
by Beverly Cleary
Newbery Medal 1984
Leigh begins writing to Mr. Henshaw,
an author, when he is in 2nd grade as a school assignment. Leigh
is lonely and unhappy. He’s the new kid in town
with recently divorced parents, his lunch
is stolen every day, and he doesn’t even have
a dog. Mr. Henshaw writes back and encourages Leigh to keep a
journal to express his feelings. This outlet allows Leigh to
slowly develop confidence in himself. The reader will enjoy watching
Leigh’s writing improve over the four years covered in the book.
Visit to William Blake’s
Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers
by Nancy Willard
Newbery Medal 1982
In this fanciful book of poems, William
Blake runs an inn populated with guests and staff from his famous
poems. Imaginative illustrations by Martin Provensen complement
the catchy poems.
|A Gathering of Days:
New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-32
by Joan W. Blos
Newbery Medal 1980
This novel is written in the form of
a diary kept for a year by Catherine Cabot Hill, a 13-year-old
girl in New Hampshire. Catherine’s mother has died, and she must
keep house for her father and younger sister. During the year,
Catherine undergoes school discipline, encounters runaway slaves,
loses a friend, and faces new relationships when her father remarries
a woman with children of her own.