Newbery Award Winners!

Here at “From the Mixed-Up Files . . . of Middle-grade Authors”, we’d be very remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the award excitement and buzz going on in children’s literature this month!

For years, I’ve eagerly anticipated Award Month at the ALA Mid-Winter conference when librarians from around the country as members of ALSC (American Library Services for Children) get together to celebrate – both in person and virtually. I still remember the first year there was a live feed from the VERY ROOM THE ANNOUNCEMENTS WERE MADE! What excitement! The names of the winning books! Cheers erupting from the crowd! The reports of early morning calls to the shell-shocked winners and their giddy, teary voices; the thrill of those librarians bestowing their love on the winners they chose.

I’ve always loved hearing The Call stories and then reading the acceptance speeches given at the summer ALA conference (June 23-28 in New Orleans) and I have all fingers and toes crossed to attend this June and rub shoulders with famous authors and librarians, especially since my recent books take place in Louisiana.  Hey, I’ll *just happen* to be there filming my book trailer for Circle of Secrets (October, Scholastic)!

But I digress . . .

Since this site is ALL ABOUT MIDDLE-GRADE BOOKS, we give you the list of the Newbery winners for 2011!

John Newbery Medal

About the John Newbery Medal

The Newbery Medal 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.


In 1921 Frederic G.Melcher had the Newbery Medal designed by René Paul Chambellan. The bronze medal has the winner’s name and the date engraved on the back. The American Library Association Executive Board in 1922 delegated to the Children’s Librarians’ Section the responsibility for selecting the book to receive the Newbery Medal.

The inscription on the Newbery Medal still reads “Children’s Librarians’ Section,” although the section has changed its name four times and its membership now includes both school and public library children’s librarians in contrast to the years 1922-58, when the section, under three different names, included only public library children’s librarians. Today the Medal is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of ALA.

How the Newbery Medal Came to Be

The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year. On June 22, 1921, Frederic G. Melcher proposed the award to the American Library Association meeting of the Children’s Librarians’ Section and suggested that it be named for the eighteenth-century English bookseller John Newbery. The idea was enthusiastically accepted by the children’s librarians, and Melcher’s official proposal was approved by the ALA Executive Board in 1922. In Melcher’s formal agreement with the board, the purpose of the Newbery Medal was stated as follows: “To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children. To emphasize to the public that contributions to the literature for children deserve similar recognition to poetry, plays, or novels. To give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children’s reading interests, an opportunity to encourage good writing in this field.”

The Newbery Award thus became the first children’s book award in the world. Its terms, as well as its long history, continue to make it the best known and most discussed children’s book award in this country.

From the beginning of the awarding of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, committees could, and usually did, cite other books as worthy of attention. Such books were referred to as Newbery or Caldecott “runners-up.” In 1971 the term “runners-up” was changed to “honor books.” The new terminology was made retroactive so that all former runners-up are now referred to as Newbery or Caldecott Honor Books.


2011 Winner

Moon Over Manifest
by Clare Vanderpool, published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House Inc.

2011 Honor(s)

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night
by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen and published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Heart of a Samurai
by Margi Preus, published by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS
One Crazy Summer
by Rita Williams-Garcia and published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Turtle in Paradise
by Jennifer L. Holm, published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

For a full list of all the Award winners from ALA=American Library Association, please go here.

And if your favorite book of 2010 did not win, or the book you personally wrote, re-wrote for years, finally launched, but didn’t win, I leave you with a wonderful quote by one of my all-time favorite writers.

E. L. Konigsburg: “Affection for a book is its best award, and books that earn that award arrive from the hearts and minds of writers, not juries.”

We’d love to discuss in the comments, any stories about the winning books as well as your favorite book from 2010!


9 Responses to Newbery Award Winners!

  1. Like Margaret, I loved Rita’s One Crazy Summer as well as Turtle in Paradise, which I’m going to talk about in a lecture on subplots this May. (So I shrieked when it won.)

    On the 24th, I’m posting a little bit more about the very personal nature of reviews (and awards)…I could go on, but I think I’ll leave it at that!!!

  2. I’ve heard really great things about Turtle in Paradise, too, and can’t wait to read it as well as the others.

    And Margaret – what a nice birthday! :-) Maybe you’ll be able to go someday to ALA and hear it in person. Me, too! That would be very exciting.

  3. Thanks for the heads up. I’ve been out of the loop this year. Congrats to all the winners.

  4. I’m looking forward to reading Moon Over Manifest. I love historical fiction, and Turtle in Paradise was one of my favorite books of the year.

  5. Kimberley, what a great story. I loved ONE CRAZY SUMMER, and now I get to read the other winners. This year the ALA awards were announced on my birthday, which made them especially fun for me. Just wish I had been in the audience.

  6. I have an interesting connection to MOON OVER MANIFEST. A good writer friend, Lois Ruby, here in Albuquerque is best buds with the author, Clare Vanderpool and has been in a crit group with her for years. She’s been gushing about Clare’s book for months so I told Lois I’d love an autographed copy. She visited Clare a couple months ago and got a personalized copy for me, but we’ve been playing hit-and-miss phone/email/visit tag trying to get the book to me and the Friday before the Awards day I “finally” picked it up. Three days later it wins the Newbery!

    So now I have an autographed copy of MOON OVER MANIFEST to read!!! Pays to have connections, man!

  7. Karen B. Schwartz

    I haven’t heard of most of the winners. Now I’ve got to read them!

  8. I love Newbery season; it’s just what January needs! My favorite part is when the video of winners receiving The Call gets released – it’s the happiest clip of the year, for my money.

  9. I feel like one of the recently initiated, because until this year, I had not paid so much attention to all the pre-announcement chatter. This year, I really wanted to be in the know, by reading as many of the books that people were talking about, as I could. Interestingly, I see now that buzz doesn’t necessarily have any real correlation with results! I was pleasantly surprised by being surprised!

    Since Brian and I do the new releases every month (we alternate by month), Moon Over Manifest was one of the books I covered in October. I haven’t read it yet, but I wanted to – it was on my radar. Little did I know then that it was going to win the Newbery! It’s kind of cool now to think that one of those books Brian and I are listing in our new releases posts this year will be an award winner in 2012. Maybe Brian and I should get out our crystal balls. ;-)