Bookworm for Kids

Newbery Medal Winners

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.

The Girl Who Drank the MoonThe Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill
Newbery Medal 2017
Ages 10–up

Xan is a kind witch who lives in the woods with Glerk, a swamp monster, and Fyrian, a tiny dragon. Every year the fearful people of Protectorate leave the youngest baby in the woods on the Day of Sacrifice, hoping to appease the witch they believe is vengeful. Xan has no idea why the babies are left in the woods, but carefully feeds them starlight and delivers them to grateful adoptive parents in the Outside Cities. One year Xan accidentally feeds the baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling her with glowing magic. She falls in love with the baby, naming her Luna for the crescent moon birthmark on her forehead, and raises her as her own daughter with the help of Glerk and Fyrian. When Luna is 13 her magic has grown strong, and she is ready to fight the true evil that threatens Protectorate.

The CrossoverThe Crossover
by Kwame Alexander
Newbery Medal 2015
Ages 9–12

Josh Bell (12) and his twin brother JB are talented basketball players. Josh is also talented with words, and narrates this story of family and brotherhood in rapping verse. Josh has to deal with his brother’s attraction to a new girl at school and his father’s failing health and must face the consequences of breaking the rules.

The One and Only IvanThe One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate
Newbery Medal 2013
Ages 8–up

Ivan is a silverback gorilla who has been confined for 27 years at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade along with an aging elephant named Stella and a stray dog named Bob. While the other animals perform, Ivan makes art and watches TV. When Ruby, a baby elephant, arrives, Stella dies of neglect, asking Ivan to promise to help Ruby escape.

Moon over ManifestMoon Over Manifest
by Clare Vanderpool
Newbery Medal 2011
Ages 9–12

In 1936, while her father is away on a railroad job, 12-year-old Abeline Tucker spends the summer in her father’s hometown of Manifest, Kansas. Based on her father’s stories, Abeline expects something magical, and is disappointed to find only a worn out old town. But Abeline is determined to find out what her father was like at her age, and explores the past through stories and newspaper columns. When she finds a hidden cigar box full of old letters, Abeline and her new friends are quickly involved in a spy hunt, eager to unveil the secrets of the past.
Last Stop on Market StreetLast Stop on Market Street
by Matt de la Peña, Christian Robinson
Newbery Medal 2016
Ages 3–5
Every Sunday CJ and his Nana ride the Market Street bus to the end of the line after church. One day CJ wonders why he doesn’t have the things other kids have. Why do they ride a bus instead of having a car? Why doesn’t he have an iPod? His grandmother answers each question by pointing out the richness of his environment. The bus driver is their friend and does tricks for CJ. A passenger on the bus plays his guitar, surrounding CJ and the rest of the passengers with live music. Nana’s ability to find beauty and pleasure where most folks don’t think to look inspires CJ, and when they reach the soup kitchen CJ is glad they came.

Flora and UlyssesFlora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
by Kate DiCamillo, K.G. Campbell
Newbery Medal 2014
Ages 10–up

Flora (10), bitter about her parents’ divorce, becomes obsessed with superhero comics. When a squirrel is swallowed whole by a Ulysses Super-Suction Multi-Terrain 200X vacuum cleaner, Flora rescues him and names him after the machine. Transformed by his experience, Ulysses the squirrel become super-strong, learns to fly, and begins to compose poetry on Flora’s mother’s typewriter. This clever novel is a wonderful combination of realistic sadness and comedy.

Dead End in NorveltDead End in Norvelt
by Jack Gantos
Newbery Medal 2012
Ages 10–up
Jack Gantos’s summer 1962 vacation plans take an unexpected turn when he is grounded “for life” by his bickering parents. But then his mother loans him out to a neighbor, and Jack finds himself typing obituaries of the strange and wonderful people who founded his small town. This funny and mysterious semi-autobiographic mix of fact and fiction is fast-paced and immensely entertaining.

WhenWhen You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead
Newbery Medal 2010
Ages 9–14
Miranda (12) is the latchkey kid of a single mother law school dropout in late 1970s Manhattan. After reading A Wrinkle in Time, Miranda is obsessed with time travel, and receives mysterious notes which accurately predict the future. Over the course of her 6th grade year, Miranda describes the three important themes in her life: her mother’s upcoming appearance on The $20,000 Pyramid, the sudden end of her lifelong friendship with her neighbor Sal, and the appearance of a deranged homeless man. This thought-provoking and realistic science fiction is enthralling.


GraveyardThe Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
Newbery Medal 2009

Ages 10–up
When a murderer kills the rest of his family, the toddler escapes to the graveyard next door where the ghosts take him in and raise him as their own. The boy, called Bod (short for Nobody) grows up fairly normal despite his ghoulish guardians and the fact that the killer is still stalking him. This gothic fantasy is downright terrifying at times.

LuckyThe Higher Power of Lucky
by Susan Patron
Newbery Medal 2007
Ages 8–12

Lucky (10) lives in a small town in the middle of the California desert with her French guardian, who has been caring for her since her mother died two years ago. Fearing that her guardian will leave her and return to France, Lucky stocks her survival backpack and searches for her Higher Power.

by Cynthia Kadohata
Newbery Medal 2005
Ages 11–14

In the 1950s, when Katie is five, her family moves from Iowa to Georgia, where there are few Japanese-Americans. Katie’s older sister Lynn takes care of her while their parents work long hours in the chicken-processing plant. Their roles reverse when Lynn develops lymphoma. Through the illness and Lynn’s death, Katie struggles to remember her sister as kira-kira, glittering and shining. Narrated by Katie, this beautifully written book tells a poignant story of love and loss.

CrispinCrispin: The Cross of Lead
by Avi
Newbery Medal 2003
Ages 10–14

Set in 14th century England, Crispin is a 13-year-old illiterate peasant who flees his village after being accused of a crime he did not commit on the day of his mother’s death. He hopes that the words on his mother’s lead cross will provide a clue to his unknown father. He falls in with Bear, a huge traveling juggler, and their relationship is the heart of the book.

YearA Year Down Yonder
by Richard Peck
Newbery Medal 2001
Ages 10–up

It’s 1937 and Mary Alice (15) is banished from Chicago to spend a year with Grandma Dowdel in rural Illinois while her parents struggle to make ends meet and her brother Joey heads west with the Civilian Conservation Corps. Mary Alice knows it won’t be easy being the new city kid in a country school, especially with an outrageous relative like Grandma. This hilarious and touching book is the sequel to A Long Way to Chicago.
Good MastersGood Masters! Sweet Ladies!
Voices from a Medieval Village
by Laura Amy Schlitz
Newbery Medal 2008
Ages 10–up

Written to be performed by a classroom of students, these 23 short monologues in prose and verse bring to life an English village in 1255.

Criss CrossCriss Cross
by Lynne Rae Perkins
Newbery Medal 2006
Ages 12–up

Two 14-year old narrators tell their story in prose, poems, and question-and-answer sessions. Debbie wishes something would happen so that she can become a different person; Hector feels unfinished. Young teens will relate to the feelings of self-consciousness and uncertainty as the characters strive for self-awareness. Perkin’s amusing drawings add to the charm. (sequel to All Alone in the Universe)

DespereauxThe Tale of Despereaux
by Kate DiCamillo
Newbery Medal 2004
Ages 8–up

When Despereaux is born within the walls of the castle, he is such tiny mouse with such huge ears that his parents fear he won’t live long. Despereaux falls in love with the beautiful human Princess Pea and is banished to the dungeon. Chiaroscuro is a rat who hates the dark dungeon and longs to live in the light above. Miggery Sow is a peasant servant who dreams of wearing a princess crown herself. These four characters interact in unexpected ways in this delightful and suspenseful fairy tale.

ShardA Single Shard
by Linda Sue Park
Newbery Medal 2002
Ages 10–14

In a potter’s village in 12th century Korea, the orphan Tree Ear is raised by a lame straw weaver. One day Tree Ear breaks a piece of Min’s pottery and pays his debt by working for the potter and dreaming of making beautiful pots himself. Tree Ear is sent by Min to the king’s court, carrying an example of Min’s new celadon ware. After robbers shatter the pot, Tree Ear continues the dangerous journey, now carrying only one precious single shard.

BudBud, Not Buddy
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Newbery Medal 2000
Ages 9–12

Bud is a 10-year-old orphan in Depression-era Michigan. He runs away to Grand Rapids, searching for the man he believes might be his father, jazz musician Herman E. Calloway. Along the way Bud has all sorts of exciting adventures, narrated in his own authentic and often hilarious voice. Calloway is less than thrilled to meet Bud, but the other members of his band make Bud feel at home.

by Louis Sachar
Newbery Medal 1999
Ages 10–up

Stanley Yelnats has been sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention facility in the desert. Each day the boys are required to did a hole five feet deep and five feet in diameter, and then fill it in again. Stanley suspects that this is not a character-building exercise—the warden is searching for something. This strange book will keep kids glued to the pages, eager to find out what will happen next.

SaturdayThe View From Saturday
by E.L. Konigsburg
Newbery Medal 1997
Ages 8–12

Four brilliant but shy 12-year-olds meet every Saturday for tea and preparation for their Academic Bowl competitions. First person narrations from each character reveal their offbeat personalities and the characteristics that help their individual differences unite into a cohesive whole. This compassionate and imaginative novel is a humorous look at friendship and the power of small deeds to make big changes.

Two MoonsWalk Two Moons
by Sharon Creech
Newbery Medal 1995
Ages 10–14

Salamanca Tree Hiddle’s mother leaves home on a spiritual quests, but promises to return. She doesn’t, and Sal and her father move from Kentucky to Idaho. Her new friend Phoebe is also 13 and also has a mother who vanished. Sal convinces her grandparents to drive to Idaho in search of her mother while telling the story of Phoebe. Sal’s journey through the grieving process of denial, anger, and acceptance is presented realistically and with compassion.

MayMissing May
by Cynthia Rylant
Newbery Medal 1993
Ages 9–12

When Summer’s foster mother Aunt May dies suddenly she is overcome with grief. But her foster father Uncle Ob is so sorrowful that Summer fears he will not be able to go on living without May. In a quest to find closure, Summer, Ob, and Cletus, a classmate of Summer’s, search for a spiritualist who may be able to communicate with May. They can’t find the spiritualist, but somehow the quest helps them to heal.

Maniac MageeManiac Magee
by Jerry Spinelli
Newbery Medal 1991
Ages 8–12

After being orphaned as a baby, Jerry Magee is brought up by his aunt and uncle, who fight all the time. He runs away at age eight to Two Mills, Pennsylvania and becomes a folk hero—Maniac Magee, the boy who can outrun any dog, hit any pitch, untie any knot. He is taken in by a black family but that causes problems in the racially divided town. Maniac keeps searching for the perfect family and eventually helps the town bridge the gap between racial and cultural differences.
DustOut of the Dust
by Karen Hesse
Newbery Medal 1998
Ages 11–up

Billie Jo (14) records the grim realities of living in the Oklahoma dust bowl during the Depression. In her free verse journal, she reveals her mother’s death and her own burns in a fire and her father’s grief. Billie Jo’s hope for a better future shines through all the pain and struggle to survive.

ApprenticeThe Midwife’s Apprentice
by Karen Cushman
Newbery Medal 1996
Ages 10–up

In medieval England, a young girl rises from dire poverty by becoming the apprentice to Jane Sharp, a cranky and bossy midwife. First known as Beetle, since she was found living in a dung heap, the girl struggles to learn the skills of her new profession. As she grows in knowledge and self-confidence, the girl finally respects herself enough to choose a real name: Alyce.

GiverThe Giver
by Lois Lowry
Newbery Medal 1994
Ages 12–up

Jonas lives in an ideal world with no pain, poverty, unemployment, or unhappiness. The Elders arrange marriages, assign careers, control sexual and aggressive impulses with drugs, and manage the “release” of the old and the weak. At age 12, Jonas is chosen to be the Receiver of Memories and is trained by an old man known as the Giver to finally understand that their utopian world is maintained by the loss of free will and humanity. This thought-provoking is both powerful and disturbing.

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Newbery Medal 1992
Ages 8–12

Marty Preston (11) rescues a mistreated beagle pup. He knows the pup should be returned to its owner, but fears it will be abused. So he hides it from his parents and then has to steal food to feed it. Marty’s struggles to do the right thing form the heart of this heartwarming story.

Number the StarsNumber the Stars
by Lois Lowry
Newbery Medal 1990
Ages 10–up

It’s 1943 in Nazi-occupied Denmark, and the Jews are about to be rounded up and sent to the death camps. Annemarie Johannesen’s best friend Ellen Rosen is Jewish. The Johannesen family helps Ellen’s parents go into hiding and take Ellen into their own home, pretending she is part of their family. Narrated by 10-year-old Annemarie, this book vividly portrays the Nazi threat and the courage it takes to help friends while possibly endangering your own family. This moving and suspenseful book is based on true events.

Joyful NoiseJoyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices
by Paul Fleischman
Newbery Medal 1989
Ages 8–up

These poems about insects are designed to be read aloud by two voices, bring the words to life. Eric Beddows’s black-and-white drawings echo the realism and fanciful nature of the poems.

Whipping BoyThe Whipping Boy
by Sid Fleischman
Newbery Medal 1987
Ages 8–12

Jemmy is an orphan whose job is to take the whippings for Prince Brat since it is forbidden to punish the royal heir. When Brat decides to see life outside the castle, he forces Jemmy to come with him, and Jemmy is accused of kidnapping the prince. The boys are captured by Hold-Your-Nose Billy, a notorious outlaw, and Jemmy must use all his cleverness to keep them both alive in this funny and adventurous book.

Hero and the CrownThe Hero and the Crown
by Robin Mckinley
Newbery Medal 1985
Ages 12–up

Aerin is the only child of the king of Damar, but since she is the daughter of a witchwoman the Damarians do not trust her. Outcast by her own people, Aerin slowly begins to trust in her own developing strengths. With the guidance of the wizard Luthe and the help of the blue sword she battles Maur, the Black Dragon to win her birthright.

Dicey's SongDicey’s Song
by Cynthia Voigt
Newbery Medal 1983
Ages 12–up

Dicey (13) and her three siblings are living on a farm with her grandmother. Their father deserted the family, and their mother is in a mental institution. Used to being the main support for her siblings, Dicey must get used to the fact that they don’t need her in the same way. All of the children must adjust to a new school and a new life with Gram, who is fiercely independent. (sequel to Homecoming)

JacobJacob Have I Loved
by Katherine Paterson
Newbery Medal 1981
Ages 12–up

Growing up on Chesapeake Bay island in the early 1940s, Louise knows that she is hated, like Esau from the Bible, while her twin sister Caroline, like Jacob, is the one everyone loves. While the family pampers the beautiful and gifted Caroline, lonely and miserable Louise learns the way of the watermen from old Captain Wallace. Eventually Louise learns that she has her own strengths.
LincolnLincoln: A Photobiography
by Russell Freedman
Newbery Medal 1988
Ages 8–12

This comprehensive and accessible biography of Abraham Lincoln is enhanced by period photographs and drawings.

Sarah Plain and TallSarah, Plain and Tall
by Patricia Maclachlan
Newbery Medal 1986
Ages 8–12

In the late 19th century, a widowed midwestern farmer with two children, Anna and Caleb, advertises for a wife. Sarah responds, saying that she is plain and tall. When Sarah arrives she is homesick for Maine, and especially for her beloved ocean. The children fear she will not stay. Narrated by Anna, this short book gently explores abandonment, loss, and love.

Dear Mr. HenshawDear Mr. Henshaw
by Beverly Cleary
Newbery Medal 1984
Ages 8–12

Leigh begins writing to Mr. Henshaw, an author, when he is in 2nd grade as a school assignment. Leigh is lonely and unhappy. He’s the new kid in town with recently divorced parents, his lunch is stolen every day, and he doesn’t even have a dog. Mr. Henshaw writes back and encourages Leigh to keep a journal to express his feelings. This outlet allows Leigh to slowly develop confidence in himself. The reader will enjoy watching Leigh’s writing improve over the four years covered in the book.

William BlakeA Visit to William Blake’s Inn:
Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers
by Nancy Willard
Newbery Medal 1982
Ages 10–up

In this fanciful book of poems, William Blake runs an inn populated with guests and staff from his famous poems. Imaginative illustrations by Martin Provensen complement the catchy poems.

Gathering of DaysA Gathering of Days:
A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-32
by Joan W. Blos
Newbery Medal 1980
Ages 9–12

This novel is written in the form of a diary kept for a year by Catherine Cabot Hill, a 13-year-old girl in New Hampshire. Catherine’s mother has died, and she must keep house for her father and younger sister. During the year, Catherine undergoes school discipline, encounters runaway slaves, loses a friend, and faces new relationships when her father remarries a woman with children of her own.