Newbery Possibilities Updated for April Stars

Brief reminder of the basic Newbery qualifications:

  • Children are defined as being up to and including the age of 14.
  • Books must be published in the U.S. first; titles originally published elsewhere are not eligible.
  • The author must be a U.S. citizen or resident.

Here’s how the four lists break down:

  • List one: Novels solidly in the age range
  • List two: Everything else solidly in the age range: graphic novels, non-fiction, picture books, poetry collections, etc.
  • List three: YA titles that technically hit the age range, but are probably too old.
  • List four: What I think are ineligible titles – mostly due to nationality of the author, but there’s a few listed there for other reasons.

DIsclaimer: I am not affiliated with the Newbery committee and I have no knowledge of their official rulings on eligibility – I’m making my best guesses based on the terms and criteria and internet searches regarding citizenship/residency.

Also – please remember starred reviews do not have the same criteria as the Newbery. There are plenty of titles not on this list that the committee will likely be looking at for a variety of reasons. This is just one way to focus your reading.

As of the end of April there were 87 titles with three or more starred reviews.

List one: Novels (13 books)


Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan (3 stars)
Ashes to Asheville by Sarah Dooley (3 stars)
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia (3 stars)
The End of the Wild by Nicole Helget (3 stars)
Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter (3 stars)
Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly (4 stars)
Joplin, Wishing by Diane Stanley (3 stars)
Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King (3 stars)
Posted by John David Anderson (3 stars)
Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz, illus. by Brian Floca (3 stars)
Speed of Life by Carol Weston (4 stars)
Train I Ride by Paul Mosier (3 stars)
The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts: Being an Absolutely Accurate Autobiographical Account of My Follies, Fortune, and Fate by Avi (3 stars)

List two: Picture Books, Non-Fiction etc. (30 books)


Alice Paul and the Fight for Women’s Rights by Deborah Kops (3 stars) – non-fiction
All Ears, All Eyes by Richard Jackson, illus. by Katherine Tillotson (4 stars) – picture book
Antoinette by Kelly DiPucchio, illus. by Christian Robinson (3 stars) – picture book
Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins (3 stars) – picture book
Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper (5 stars) – picture book
Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illus. by Kadir Nelson (3 stars) – picture book
Egg by Kevin Henkes (4 stars) – picture book
Flying Lessons and Other Stories ed. by Ellen Oh (5 stars) – short stories
Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History by Walter Dean Myers, illus. by Floyd Cooper (3 stars) – picture book biography
Grand Canyon by Jason Chin (5 stars) – non-fiction
A Greyhound, a Groundhog by Emily Jenkins, illus. by Chris Appelhans (4 stars) – picture book
Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d by Mary Losure (3 stars) – biography
The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt, illus. by Adam Rex (5 stars) – picture book
The Legendary Miss Lena Horne by Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Elizabeth Zunon (3 stars) – picture book biography
Life on Mars by Jon Agee (3 stars) – picture book
Little Wolf’s First Howling by Laura McGee Kvasnosky, illus. by Laura McGee Kvasnosky and Kate Harvey McGee (3 stars) – picture book
The March Against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power by Ann Bausum (3 stars) – non-fiction
The Music of Life: Bartolomeo Cristofori & the Invention of the Piano by Elizabeth Rusch, illus. by Marjorie Priceman (3 stars) – picture book biography
My Daddy Rules the World: Poems About Dads by Hope Anita Smith (3 stars) – poetry collection

Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls by Tonya Bolden (3 stars) – non-fiction
A Perfect Day by Lane Smith (3 stars) – picture book
Priscilla Gorilla by Barbara Bottner, illus. by Michael Emberley (3 stars) – picture book
Real Friends by Shannon Hale, illus. by LeUyen Pham (3 stars) – graphic memoir
Rivers of Sunlight: How the Sun Moves Water Around the Earth by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm, illus. by Molly Bang (5 stars) – non-fiction
Round by Joyce Sidman, illus. by Taeeun Yoo (3 stars) – picture book/science
The Secret Project by Jonah Winter, illus. by Jeanette Winter (5 stars) – picture book
This House, Once by Deborah Freedman (3 stars) – picture book
The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney (4 stars) – picture book
Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin (4 stars) – non-fiction
The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling by Timothy Basil Ering (3 stars) – picture book

List three: Young Adult books that are probably too old (23 books)
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson. (4 stars)
American Street by Ibi Zoboi (5 stars)
Bang by Barry Lyga (3 stars)
Bull by David Elliott (5 stars)
City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson (4 stars)
Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden (4 stars)
Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (3 stars)
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (3 stars)
Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr (3 stars)
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (4 stars)
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (6 stars)
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (4 stars)
Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg (3 stars)
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (3 stars)
A List of Cages by Robin Roe (4 stars)
Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson (4 stars)
The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein (4 stars)
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson (4 stars)
Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo: The Road to Epoli by Ben Costa and James Parks (3 stars) – graphic
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (4 stars)
Thick As Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner (3 stars)
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman (6 stars) – non-fiction
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (4 stars)

List four: Ineligible Titles (21 books)
Away Emil Sher, illus. by Qin Leng.  – Canadian
Beck by Mal Peet with Meg Rosoff  – UK
Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan – Chinese
Deep in the Woods by Christopher Corr – UK
A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge  – UK
The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson, illus. by Helen Oxenbury – UK
Harry Miller’s Run by David Almond, illus. by Salvatore Rubbino – UK
Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs, and Stories from an African American Childhood ed. by Patricia C. McKissack, illus. by Brian Pinkney. (3 stars) – compilation; includes previously published materials
Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin – nearly wordless picture book
The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wegelius – Swedish
Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez – Colombian
One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes – contains previously published poems
Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen – Canadian
Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, illus. by Ekua Holmes – Chris Colderley Canadian
Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce – UK
Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees by Mary Beth Leatherdale, illus. by Eleanor Shakespeare – Canadian

Town Is By the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, illus. by Sydney Smith – Canadian
Walk With Me by Jairo Buitrago, illus. by Rafael Yockteng – Colombian
Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell – nearly wordless picture book
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley – Australian
Yours Sincerely, Giraffe by Megumi Iwasa, illus. by Jun Takabatake – Japanese

Looking at that second list, I think Real Friends could be one to watch since Hale has received an honor before and this style of graphic novel has been gaining traction in recent years (see: El Deafo and Roller Girl), but I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. Anyone else have an opinion?

Happy reading!



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