Recent Newbery Medal Winners

shelved under Children's Books and Award Winners

The Newbery Medal is awarded to the year's "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children" by the American Library Association. In other words, these are pretty much guaranteed to be amazingly great books.

Oh, and the award's been given since 1922 but that's more books than I can handle right now so here's the last few decade's worth. That should keep you busy. :-)


The Graveyard Book (2009)

by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean

Carrie Kitzmiller says:

The opening of this book, in which a family is murdered (the action takes place off-screen, so to speak), had me wondering if it was too scary for my kids. But the story of Bod, the 18-month old boy who survives, is inventive and engaging, and the kids loved it. Each chapter is an episode in Bod’s life as he grows older and wiser in the graveyard, raised and loved by the ghosts who reside there. This is a thrilling story that includes everything to keep a boy’s attention: ghouls, ghosts, witches, hellhounds, and a fight against an evil foe.


Crispin: The Cross of Lead (2003)

by Avi

Michelle Martinez from Houston, Texas says:

This is a great historical tale for adults as well as children, set in 14th century England, with murder, mystery, and adventure. Crispin's life is turned upside down when he's wanted for murder. I read this for a library science class a few years ago and always wished for a series about Crispin.


A Year Down Yonder (2001)

by Richard Peck, illustrated by Steve Cieslawski


Bud, Not Buddy (2000)

by Christopher Paul Curtis

Meredith May Johnson from West Jordan, UT says:

See the Great Depression from the unique perspective of young Bud: orphaned, on the lam from his latest foster home and in search of his father. He's been on his own so long he's made up a set of rules to "have a better life and make a better liar of himself." I love this book and enjoying introducing my third graders to it every year. Young Bud is unlike anyone they've ever met and lives in a world that is totally foreign to them. A great story with interesting characters that introduces history and prejudice in America.


Holes (1999)

by Louis Sachar

Mardi VanEgomd from Austin, TX says:

This is a great book about bonding, friendship, and standing up against the odds. It is also full of great surprises that you'd never expect. I really enjoyed it. (The movie was good, too.)


The Midwife's Apprentice (1996)

by Karen Cushman

Lee Nelson from San Fernando Valley, CA says:

Every child deserves to feel value, even an abandoned child such as Beetle. Living in a dung heap (that's a polite way of saying big pile of poo), Beetle survives simply through her wits and that's what impresses the village's midwife to take her in. Beetle then absorbs the knowledge that Jane reluctantly gives her and assumes the name "Alyce" when mistakenly called by that name. Despite Jane's coldness, the newly-named Alyce embraces the knowledge and takes over a birthing of a poor woman when Jane abandons the birthing for that of a richer women in labor. Girls with low esteem may find themselves relating to Beetle as she struggles with self-doubt in challenging situations. Teachers and librarians will want to engage in a dialogue with any girl they recommend this book to: it could lead some opening of doors to a reluctant participant in book discussions.


The Giver (1994)

by Lois Lowry

Hannah Egan says:

This is a story to make you consider what it means to be human; to have memories; to hurt, to love, to live, and to die. Written for teens, it leaves the adult wishing for different style choices, but nevertheless impressed by the strength of the message. This is a book everyone should read at least once.


Shiloh (1992)

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Casey Hicks from Wheeling, West Virginia says:

On the surface, Shiloh is about a boy's dedication to a stray dog he claims as his own, but the novel has many themes important to young readers: honesty, the value of hard work, and the power of friendship. Also, I was born and raised in West Virginia, and Shiloh's abusive owner Judd Travers reminded me of quite a few adults in my community. This book taught me to have a bit more patience with adults, especially those used to a different way of life. Perhaps we could all learn from little Marty Preston.


Maniac Magee (1991)

by Jerry Spinelli

Tim says:

This book was a brilliant and haunting testament to youth and life. The outcast protagonist takes on an almost mystical quality, becoming less of a character, and more of a legend. This is a great book for any 4th to 6th grader.


Number the Stars (1990)

by Lois Lowry

Casey Hicks from Wheeling, West Virginia says:

In sixth grade, my teacher decided to read us this book each day if we behaved. By the time summer arrived, we were only about halfway through this novel. I immediately begged my mother to take me to the library so I could learn about the fates of two girls caught up in the Holocaust, one Jewish and one Christian. This novel is driven by compelling characters, and it humanizes an event that can be overwhelming and unimaginable for young readers.