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Newbery Knowledge

Trivia about Newbery Award winners: At the Banquet When Marguerite Henry came to the 1949 ALA convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to accept the Newbery Medal for King of the Wind, she brought her horse, Misty, the subject of 1948 honoree Misty of Chincoteague. The publicity stunt was a surprise...

Profile of 2022 Newbery Medal winner Donna Barba Higuera

This has been a notorious year of attempts to ban children’s books by authors of color. But 2022 is also the year that Donna Barba Higuera’s middle-grade novel The Last Cuentista won the Newbery Medal. Celebrating a novel that explores stories as a human imperative is the perfect counterpoint to...

2022 Newbery Medal Acceptance by Donna Barba Higuera

"It could never happen for a kid like me." Photo courtesy of Donna Barba Higuera. If someone had told me as a child that not only would I one day write a book, but that book would sit alongside those “golden-sticker books” like A Wrinkle in Time or Mrs. Frisby...

After the Call: Something Magical

What did winning the Newbery Medal mean to me? It has taken some time to wrap my head around this question. The Last Cuentista won the Newbery Medal! I’ve texted my editor, Nick Thomas, a few times with, “We won the Newbery” and “Did that really happen?” just to help...

A Place for Poetry

Poetry has so much to offer young readers: beautiful language, musical rhythms, creative formats, powerful emotions, and so much more. Yet, when it comes to award recognition, poetry has rarely had a place at the Newbery table. Just sixteen books of poetry have been recognized with Newbery Medals or Honors...

After the Call: Nothing Short of Life-Changing

In 2021, "the call" was a Zoom call. Photo: Tae Keller. As soon as the 2021 Youth Media Awards were announced, I started hearing from other writers, from friends, from family: The Newbery will change your life. This felt fairly accurate, considering I hadn’t slept for thirty-six hours, I had...

The Newbery and Art

When most people think of the Newbery Award, they think of words, not art. After all, the Newbery criteria stipulate that “the committee is to make its decision primarily on the text. Other components of a book, such as illustrations, overall design of the book, etc., may be considered when...

After the Call: I Get It Now

More than two years later, I still find myself trying to comprehend the magnitude of how my life changed on January 27, 2020. The most baffling question being, “How did this kid who hated to read grow up to win ‘the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children’?” I...

After the Call: A Literary Life

When I won the Newbery Medal for Merci Suárez Changes Gears in 2019, I stepped — starstruck and trembling — into a hundred-year history that included many of the books that had helped me grow up. The seal is our community’s highest honor, one that feels unreal, that boosts your...
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