For the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children
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 for children.
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.
Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was.
Twelve-year-old Miranda encounters shifting friendships, a sudden punch, a strange homeless man and mysterious notes that hint at knowledge of the future. These and other seemingly random events converge in a brilliantly constructed plot.
A delicious mix of murder, fantasy, humor and human longing, the tale of Nobody Owens is told in magical, haunting prose. A child marked for death by an ancient league of assassins escapes into an abandoned graveyard, where he is reared and protected by its spirit denizens.
An engaging character tale, this is the story of a 10 year-old girl named Lucky, growing up in the care of an absentee father's ex-wife, in a tiny California desert town. Fearful that her caretaker will abandon her, she considers the alternative: running away.
In this lively, lovely, funny and sad novel, the Japanese-American Takeshima family moves from Iowa to Georgia in the 1950s when Katie, the narrator, is just in kindergarten. Though her parents endure grueling conditions and impossible hours in the non-unionized poultry plant and hatchery where they work, they somehow manage to create a loving, stable home for their three children. (Ages 11 to 14)
Kate DiCamillo spins a tidy tale of mice and men where she explores the "powerful, wonderful, and ridiculous" nature of love, hope, and forgiveness. The first book of four tells Despereaux's sad story, where he falls deeply in love with Princess Pea and meets his cruel fate. Her old-fashioned, somewhat dark story, narrated "Dear Reader"-style, begins "within the walls of a castle, with the birth of a mouse." Despereaux Tilling, the new baby mouse, is different from all other mice. Sadly, the romantic, unmouselike spirit that leads the unusually tiny, large-eared mouse to the foot of the human king and the beautiful Princess Pea ultimately causes him to be banished by his own father to the foul, rat-filled dungeon. (Ages 9 and older)
Genre-jumping author Avi clocks in here with his 50th book, Crispin: The Cross of Lead, an action-packed historical narrative that follows the frantic flight of a 13-year-old peasant boy across 14th-century England.
After being declared a "wolf's head" by his manor's corrupt steward for a crime he didn't commit (meaning that anyone can kill him like a common animal--and collect a reward), this timid boy has to flee a tiny village that's the only world he's ever known. But before our protagonist escapes, Avi makes sure that we're thoroughly briefed on the injustices of feudalism--the countless taxes cottars must pay, the constant violence, the inability of a flawed church to protect its parishioners, etc. Avi then folds in the book's central mystery just as the boy is leaving: "Asta's son," as he's always been known, learns from the village priest that his Christian name is Crispin, and that his parents' origins--and fates--might be more perplexing than he ever imagined. (Ages 10 to 14)
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. (Ages 10 to 14)
It's 1937 and Joey has gone off to work for the Civilian
Conservation Corps, while 15-year-old Mary Alice has to go stay with Grandma
alone--for a whole year, maybe longer. From the very first moment when she arrives at
the depot clutching her Philco portable radio and her cat, Bootsie, Mary Alice knows it
won't be easy. And it's not. She has to sleep alone in the attic, attend a hick town school
where in spite of her worn-out coat she's "the rich girl from Chicago," and be an
accomplice in Grandma's outrageous schemes to run the town her own way--and do
good while nobody's looking. But being Grandma's sidekick is always interesting, and by
the end of the year, Mary Alice has grown to see the formidable love in the heart of her
Peck is at his best with these hilarious stories that rest solidly within the American literary
tradition of Mark Twain and Bret Harte. Teachers will cherish them as great read-alouds,
and older teens will gain historical perspective from this lively picture of the depression
years in small-town America. (Ages 12 and older)
"It's funny how ideas are, in a lot of ways they're just like seeds. Both of them start real,
real small and then... woop, zoop, sloop... before you can say Jack Robinson, they've
gone and grown a lot bigger than you ever thought they could." So figures scrappy
10-year-old philosopher Bud--"not Buddy"--Caldwell, an orphan on the run from abusive
foster homes and Hoovervilles in 1930s Michigan. And the idea that's planted itself in his
head is that Herman E. Calloway, standup-bass player for the Dusky Devastators of the
Depression, is his father. Guided only by a flier for one of Calloway's shows--a small, blue poster that had
mysteriously upset his mother shortly before she died--Bud sets off to track down his
supposed dad, a man he's never laid eyes on. (Ages 8 to 12)
"If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him
into a good boy." Such is the reigning philosophy at Camp Green Lake, a juvenile
detention facility where there is no lake, and there are no happy campers. In place of what
used to be "the largest lake in Texas" is now a dry, flat, sunburned wasteland, pocked
with countless identical holes dug by boys improving their character. Stanley Yelnats, of
palindromic name and ill-fated pedigree, has landed at Camp Green Lake because it
seemed a better option than jail. No matter that his conviction was all a case of mistaken
identity, the Yelnats family has become accustomed to a long history of bad luck, thanks
to their "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!" Despite his
innocence, Stanley is quickly enmeshed in the Camp Green Lake routine. But when Stanley realizes that the boys may
not just be digging to build character--that in fact the warden is seeking something
specific--the plot gets as thick as the irony. (Ages 10 and older)
Like the Oklahoma dust bowl from which she came, 14-year-old narrator Billie Jo writes
in sparse, free-floating verse. In this compelling, immediate journal, Billie Jo reveals the
grim domestic realities of living during the years of constant dust storms: That hopes--like
the crops--blow away in the night like skittering tumbleweeds. When she decides to flee the
lingering ghosts and dust of her
homestead and jump a train west, she discovers a simple but profound truth about herself
and her plight. (Ages 9 and older)
A powerhouse sixth-grade Academic Bowl team from Epiphany Middle School; the art
of calligraphy; the retirees of Century Village, Florida; a genius dog named Ginger; and a
holiday production of "Annie" all figure heavily in the latest book by E. L. Konigsburg.
The book centers around a group of four brilliant, shy 12-year-olds
and the tea party they have each Saturday morning. Konigsburg's wacky erudition and her
knack for offbeat characters make this a funny and endearing story of friendship.
Karen Cushman likes to write with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek, and her feisty
female characters firmly planted in history. In The Midwife's Apprentice, this makes a
winning combination for children and adult
readers alike. This time our protagonist is Alyce, who rises from the dung
heap (literally) of homelessness and namelessness to find a station in life--apprentice to the
crotchety, snaggletoothed midwife Jane Sharp. On Alyce's first solo outing as a midwife,
she fails to deliver. Instead of facing her ignorance, Alyce chooses to run from
failure--never a good choice. (Ages 12 and older)
Thirteen year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle's mother has disappeared. While tracing her
steps on a car trip from Ohio to Idaho with her grandparents, Salamanca tells a story to
pass the time about a friend named Phoebe Winterbottom whose mother vanished and
who received secret messages after her disappearance. One of them read, "Don't judge a
man until you have walked two days in his moccasins." Despite her father's warning that
her mother is "fishing in the air," Salamanca hopes to bring her home. By drawing strength
from her Native-American ancestry, she is able to face the truth about her mother.
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,
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.