Every year in January, the American Library Association awards a Medal for the best children’s book published in the previous year. The award was established in 1921 and its called the Newbery Medal. In addition to the Medal Winner, top runner-up books, at the discretion of the judges, may be awarded the title “Newbery Honor Book.” (Note the spelling. Its easy to get confused and slip an extra “R” in. Newbery has only one “R.”)
The Newbery awards are the Academy Awards for children’s books. For an author, winning a Newbery is like winning an Oscar for an actor. And the Newbery Medal Winner is the equivalent of the Oscar for Best Picture of the Year.
Cyndy and I had the great good fortune to attend the same elementary school, where a gifted children’s librarian named Mrs. Ole worked. She made sure all the children at the school knew about the Newbery Award. Every year, the elementary school celebrated “Character Day” where all the students came to school dressed as their favorite character from their favorite children’s book. I went one year as the “country mouse,” and another year as the “Cat in the Hat.” Goodness knows what my mother went through to assemble those costumes. But the experience gave me a lifelong love for books… and a lifelong appreciation and enjoyment of children’s books.
The Newbery Medal Winners are the outstanding works of children’s literature over the last 85 years. I tried several times to figure out how to add a section in our printed catalog just devoted to Newbery Medal Winners. This weekend it occurred to me that our new web-based store let’s me do it – with a little work. Part of the work comes in tracking down which editions are in print and in stock. Part of it comes from entering the information and verifying it so we can take and fill orders.
But enough of them are now entered into the Greenleaf website to invite you all to browse through them and begin ordering. I’ve arranged the books in the order in which they were published and recognized. The list begins in 1922.
You can click here to browse and order whatever strikes your fancy. These make great reads for kids in elementary and junior high. And great gifts as well. We should be able to fill all orders within a week.
It gives me great pleasure to present to you, the Newbery Medal Winners!