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The Newbery Medal

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.
2023 -- Freewater, by Amina Luqman-Dawson

A lyrical, accessible historical middle-grade novel about two enslaved children’s escape from a plantation and the many ways they find freedom.

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2022 -- The Last Cuentista, by Donna Barba Higuera

Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children – among them Petra and her family – have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race.

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2021 -- When You Trap a Tiger, by Tae Keller

When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni's Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history.

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2020 -- New Kid, by Jerry Craft

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

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2019 -- Merci Suárez Changes Gears, by Meg Medina

Using humor and grace, Merci, a charming and plucky protagonist, cycles through life’s challenges with the support of her intergenerational family. This richly nuanced novel tackles the complexity of navigating a multicultural identity amidst changing family dynamics.

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2018 -- Hello, Universe, by Erin Entrada Kelly

Filipino folklore and real life converge at the bottom of a well. Even while following signs and portents, the characters are the definition of creative agency. Masterfully told through shifting points of view, this modern quest tale shimmers with humor and authentic emotion.

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2017 -- The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill

“Moonlight is magic. Ask anyone you like.” Barnhill’s story is also pure magic, distinguished by careful development of a complex plot and indelible evocation of unique characters. Love, heartbreak, hope, sorrow, and wonder all shine in exquisite, lyrical prose.

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2016 -- Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Peña

CJ’s journey with his Nana is not just a simple bus ride; it is a multi-sensory experience through which he discovers that beautiful music, nature and people surround him. CJ’s questions are familiar, and Nana answers him with gentle wisdom. Right up until their arrival at the last stop on Market Street, Nana guides CJ to become “a better witness for what’s beautiful.”

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2015 -- The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander

Twelve-year-old narrator Josh Bell uses the rhythms of a poetry jam to emulate the "moving & grooving/popping and rocking" of life on the basketball court with his twin brother, J.B. This powerful novel in verse paints an authentic portrait of a closely-knit family on the brink of crisis.

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2014 -- Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamillo

Comic book fan and natural-born cynic Flora Belle Buckman and Ulysses, a flying, superhero, poetry-writing squirrel, join forces to overcome Ulysses’ arch-nemesis, Flora’s mother and encounter a quirky cast of characters.

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2013 -- The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

Ivan’s transformative emergence from the “Ape at Exit 8” to “The One and Only Ivan, Mighty Silverback,” comes to life through the gorilla’s own distinct narrative voice, which is filled with wry humor, deep emotion and thought-provoking insights into the nature of friendship, hope and humanity.

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2012 -- Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos

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.

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2011 -- Moon over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool

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.

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2010 -- When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

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.

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2009 -- The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

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.

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2008 -- Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, by Laura Amy Schlitz

Thirteenth-century England springs to life using 21 dramatic individual narratives that introduce young inhabitants of village and manor; from Hugo, the lord's nephew, to Nelly, the sniggler.

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2007 -- The Higher Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron

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.

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2006 -- Criss Cross, by Lynne Rae Perkins

A gentle, humorous story of two 14 year-olds, searching for who they will become. The author insightfully captures the concerns and thinking processes of many young teens.

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2005 -- Kira-Kira, by Cynthia Kadohata

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)

-- Review
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2004 -- The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread By Kate DiCamillo

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)

-- Review
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2003 -- Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi

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)

-- Review
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2002 -- A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

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)

-- Review
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2001 -- A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck

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 formidable Grandma.

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)

-- Review
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2000 -- Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

"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)

-- Review
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1999 -- Holes by Louis Sachar

"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)

-- Review
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1998 -- Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

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)

-- Review
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1997 -- The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg

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.

-- Review
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1996 -- The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman

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)

-- Review
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1995 -- Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

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.

-- Review
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1994 -- The Giver by Lois Lowry

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.

-- Review
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Missing May by Cynthia Rylant

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Joyful Noise by Paul Fleischman

Lincoln: a Photobiography by Russell Freedman

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary

Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt

A Visit To William Blake's Inn by Nancy Willard

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

A Gathering Of Days: A New England Girl's Journal 1830-32 by Joan Blos

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

The Grey King by Susan Cooper

M.C. Higgins, The Great by Virginia Hamilton

The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars

Sounder by William H. Armstrong

The High King by Lloyd Alexander

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt

I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borten de Trevino

Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska

It's Like This, Cat by Emily Cheney Neville

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Onion John by Joseph Krumgold

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith

Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham

The Wheel on the School by Meindert Dejong

And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold

Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark

Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes

Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates

The Door In The Wall by Marguerite de Angeli

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois

Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski

Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray

The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds

Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry

Daniel Boone by James Daugherty

Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright

The White Stag by Kate Seredy

Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

Dobry by Monica Shannon

Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs

Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis

Waterless Mountain by Laura Adams Armer

The Cat Who Went To Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth

Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field

The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly

Gay-Neck: The Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji

Smoky the Cowhorse by Will James

Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman

Tales From The Silver Lands by Charles Finger

The Dark Frigate by Charles Boardman Hawes

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem Van Loon

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