Newbery Contender Update graphic

2020 Newbery Possibilities through February Stars

A nasty cold knocked me out for half of March so this post is much later than I had hoped. On the bright side – Heavy Medal has its first set of suggestions up ! Go see what their readers have recommended should be on your radar for the Newbery this year and watch for their next post soliciting suggestions – it should be up very soon .

For this blog’s purposes, contenders have three or more starred reviews and are broken down into these lists: Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Comics, Non-Fiction, Picture Books (Fiction and Non-Fiction), Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books, and Ineligibles.

Two titles have me in a bit of a quandary over eligibility – The Iliad adapted by Gareth Hinds and The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander. Neither is a super likely contender – The Iliad is a graphic adaptation and only barely hits the upper limit of the Newbery age range while The Undefeated is a picture book. My question on both rests on Newbery Definition #5 which regards “original work.” The Iliad might not be eligible depending on how much the text has been rewritten or adapted (From Newbery Definition #5: “Original work” means that the text was created by this writer and no one else. It may include original retellings of traditional literature, provided the words are the author’s own.). The Undefeated looks like it was originally presented as spoken word poetry in a video for ESPN’s The Undefeated website. Newbery Definition #5 continues: “Further, “original work” means that the text is presented here for the first time and has not been previously published elsewhere in this or any other form.  Text reprinted or compiled from other sources are not eligible. Abridgements are not eligible.” Where do video and performance fit in this criteria? The definition specifically says text – does that mean only the written word? Right now I lean toward The Iliad being ineligible and The Undefeated being eligible and they are noted as such below, but if anyone has any insight into whether they are eligible or not, please share in the comments!

Standard 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. For a more thorough breakdown of the criteria you can see my first Newbery post of the year or just go read the official word from ALSC.

As of the end of February there were 41 titles with three or more starred reviews which means there are 19 new books listed here. Lists are after the jump.

Middle Grade Fiction: 11 books – 8 new

Because of the Rabbit book coverThe Bridge Home book coverDragon Pearl book coverEventown book coverGenesis Begins Again book coverA Good Kind of Trouble book coverThe Lost Girl book coverThe Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James book coverThe Next Great Paulie Fink book coverPay Attention, Carter Jones book coverSal & Gabi Break the Universe book cover

*NEW* Because of the Rabbit. Cynthia Lord. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 9780545914246. 3/26/19 (3 stars)
*NEW* The Bridge Home. 
Padma Venkatraman. Penguin Random House/Nancy Paulsen. 9781524738112. 2/5/19 (4 stars)
Dragon Pearl.
 Yoon Ha Lee. Hachette/DIsney-Hyperion/Rick Riordan. 9781368013352. 1/15/19. (3 stars)
Eventown. Corey Ann Haydu. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. 9780062689801. 2/12/19. (3 stars)
*NEW* Genesis Begins Again. Alicia D. Williams. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy. 9781481465809. 1/15/19. (3 stars)
*NEW* A Good Kind of Trouble. Lisa Moore Ramée. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. 9780062836687. 3/12/19 (3 stars)
*NEW* The Lost Girl. Anne Ursu. HarperCollins/Walden Pond. 9780062275097. 2/12/19 (3 stars)
*NEW* The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James. Ashley Herring Blake. Hachette/Little, Brown. 9780316515535. 3/26/19 (3 stars)
*NEW* The Next Great Paulie Fink. Ali Benjamin. Hachette/Little, Brown. 9780316380881. 4/16/19. (3 stars)
Pay Attention, Carter Jones. 
Gary D. Schmidt. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion. 9780544790858. 2/19/19. (5 stars)
*NEW* Sal & Gabi Break the Universe. Carlos Hernandez. Hachette/Disney-Hyperion/Rick Riordan. 9781368022828. 3/5/19 (4 stars)

Young Adult Fiction:  13 books – 5 new

Black Enough book coverCourting Darkness book coverFear of Missing Out book coverThe Gilded Wolves book coverInternment book coverOn the Come Up book coverOnce & Future book coverSpin book coverVoices book coverThe Waning Age book coverWe Set the Dark on Fire book coverThe Weight of Our Sky book coverThe Wicked King book cover

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. 9780062698728. 1/8/19 (4 stars)
Courting Darkness. Robin LaFevers. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9780544991194. 2/5/19. (4 stars)
*NEW* Fear of Missing Out. Kate McGovern. Macmillan/Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 9780374305475. 3/19/19. (3 stars)
The Gilded Wolves. Roshani Chokshi. Macmillan/St. Martin’s/Wednesday Books. 9781250144546. 1/15/19. (4 stars)
*NEW* Internment. Samira Ahmed. Hachette/Little, Brown. 9780316522694. 3/19/19. (3 stars)
*NEW* On the Come Up. Angie Thomas. HaperCollins/Balzer + Bray. 9780062498564. 2/5/19. (5 stars)
*NEW* Once & Future. Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy. Hachette/Little, Brown/Jimmy Patterson. 9780316449274. 3/26/19. (3 stars)
Spin. Lamar Giles. Scholastic. 9781338219210. 1/29/19. (3 stars)
Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc. David Elliott. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9781328987594. 3/26/19. (3 stars)
*NEW* The Waning Age. S.E. Grove. Penguin Random House/Viking. 9780451479853. 2/5/19. (3 stars)
We Set the Dark on Fire. Tehlor Kay Mejia. HaperCollins/Katherine Tegen. 9780062691316. 2/26/19. (4 stars)
The Weight of Our Sky. Hanna Alkaf. Simon & Schuster/Salaam Reads. 9781534426085. 2/5/19. (3 stars)
The Wicked King. Holly Black. Hachette/Little, Brown. 9780316310352. 1/8/19. (3 stars)

Graphic Novels/Comics:  1 book

New Kid book cover

New Kid. Jerry Craft. HarperCollins/Harper. 9780062691194. 2/5/19. (4 stars)

Non-Fiction:  2 books

Shout book coverThis Promise of Change book cover

Shout. Laurie Halse Anderson. Penguin Random House/Viking. 9780670012107. 3/12/19. (3 stars)
This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality. Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy. Bloomsbury. 9781681198521. 1/8/19. (3 stars)

Picture Books: 12 books – 5 new

Another book coverThe Bell Rang book coverBloom Boom book coverGittel's Journey book coverGood Boy book coverLet 'Er Buck! book coverNine Months book coverA Ray of Light book coverThe Roots of Rap book coverTwo Brothers, Four Hands book coverThe Undefeated book coverWhat Is Given From the Heart book cover

Another. Christian Robinson. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum. 9781534421677. 3/5/19. (3 stars)
The Bell Rang. 
James E. Ransome. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy. 9781442421134. 1/15/19. (4 stars)
Bloom Boom! April Pulley Sayre. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane. 9781481494724. 2/5/19. (3 stars)
Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story. Lesléa Newman, illus. by Amy June Bates. Abrams. 9781419727474. 2/5/19. (3 stars)
Good Boy. Sergio Ruzzier. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum. 9781481499064. 2/12/19. (4 stars)
Let ‘Er Buck!: George Fletcher, the People’s Champion. Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illus. by Gordon C. James. Lerner/Carolrhoda. 9781512498080. 2/5/19. (4 stars)
*NEW* Nine Months: Before a Baby is Born. Miranda Paul, illus. by Jason Chin. Holiday House/Neal Porter. 9780823441617. 4/23/19 (3 stars)
*NEW* A Ray of Light. Walter Wick. Scholastic. 9780439165877. 2/26/19 (3 stars)
The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop. Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Frank Morrison. Bonnier/Little Bee. 9781499804119. 1/15/19. (4 stars)
*NEW* Two Brothers, Four Hands: The Artists Alberto and Diego Giacometti. Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, illus. by Hadley Hooper. Holiday House/Neal Porter. 9780823441709. 4/23/19 (3 stars)
*NEW* The Undefeated. Kwame Alexander, illus. by Kadir Nelson. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Versify. 9781328780966. 4/2/19. (3 stars)
*NEW* What Is Given From the Heart. Patricia C. McKissack, illus. by April Harrison. Penguin Random House/Schwartz & Wade. 9780375836152. 1/8/19. (3 stars)

Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books:  0 books

Question mark drawn in chalk on a blackboard

None yet – easy readers and early chapter books still aren’t reviewed at the same rate as some other formats. Hopefully something will show up later this year.

Ineligible: 2 books – 1 new
*NEW* The Iliad. Gareth Hinds, adapter. Candlewick. 9780763681135. – per the Newbery Definitions #5 regarding original work
Never Caught, The Story of Ona Judge: George and Martha Washington’s Courageous Slave Who Dared to Run Away; Young Reader’s Edition. 
Erica Armstrong Dunbar, illus. by Kathleen Van Cleve. Simon & Schuster/Aladdin. 9781534416178. – per the Newbery Definitions #5 regarding original work

Happy reading!

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