Category Archives: Newbery

Newbery Contender Update graphic

2020 Newbery Possibilities through January Stars

The dust may have barely settled from this year’s American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards, but I’m already looking towards next year. With January reviews in the books, we have several contenders so let’s review the criteria. The Newbery Award is given by the Association for Library Service to Children to

“the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published by an American publisher in the United States in English during the preceding year.” – Newbery Medal Terms and Criteria

That’s a pretty broad charge for the committee, so here’s a few more details:

  • 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.

The 2019 Newbery committee named three middle grade novels – a much more traditional slate than has appeared in awhile. It will be interesting to see what the 2020 committee feels is distinguished. I liked breaking the contenders down by format, so I’m keeping that this year. However, I’m adding the publication date to entries this year to make it easy to see what’s accessible to the general public when. The lists will be pretty much the same as last year: Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Comics, Non-Fiction, Picture Books (Fiction and Non-Fiction), and Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books.

The final list is books that I think are ineligible – usually it’s because the author isn’t a U.S. citizen or resident, but wordless picture books and titles with previously published content could appear here as well. 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.

The 2019 winner and honors did all have three or more stars (you can see more about that on my YMA Results post). For those who follow the Newbery Award and enjoy trying to guess contenders, starred reviews are just one way to identify possible contenders. Each journal has a different criteria for what becomes a starred review and none of those criteria match the criteria for the Newbery Award. Heavy Medal’s feature where readers can nominate titles will be returning in March. Their blog is a great place to see more in depth discussion of how titles meet or don’t meet the Newbery criteria. As always remember that however many books we on the sidelines read, it’s a rare mock participant who will have read as widely as the actual committee members.

As of the end of January there were 22 titles with three or more starred reviews. Lists are after the jump. Continue reading 2020 Newbery Possibilities through January Stars

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2019 ALA Youth Media Award Results

On Monday, January 28 various sections and affiliates of the American Library Association gave out some of the biggest awards for children’s and young adult books from the previous year at the Youth Media Awards. Due to some unfortunate weather here in the Midwest, my program that was originally scheduled during the Youth Media Awards presentation was rescheduled and I got to watch live after all!

Some new awards were added this year – the American Indian Youth Literature Award (awarded only in even years so no new announcement this year); the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award, and the Sydney Taylor Book Award. When this was announced last year, I started adding these awards to my Award Winners spreadsheet so I knew they traditionally had named honor books. To my surprise, during the ceremony only winners were named and when I went to the links mentioned in the live webcast, I found the Sydney Taylor Awards had indeed named honors and notables as usual. I couldn’t locate the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award information for this year (it’s up now), but eventually found the honors via Twitter later in the day. I was disappointed to not see the honors included in the ceremony. An ALA representative has since responded to the criticism citing time constraints as the issue and noting the involvement of representatives from the affiliate organizations in the choice to only recognize the winners in the ceremony, but I still think it was the wrong decision. These awards deserve equal recognition – if they’re including honors for other awards, include the honors for these and trim time from the opening remarks or call for shorter blurbs or make the ceremony longer and adjust the conference schedule accordingly. I understand that some of these aren’t easy changes to make, but doing the right thing here is worth the effort.

Here’s a link to the press release with winners for all of the many awards named and the honors for most. My spreadsheet has been updated with this year’s information. Much gratitude goes towards the many, many committee members for each of these awards who serve without compensation and dedicate uncounted hours to reading and evaluating and discussing the books.

I’ve also added a link on the right to my spreadsheet of the 2018 Best Books lists from the six journals I track. Some year, I’ll finish that in time to help predict award chances, but this was not that year. Since I track Newbery and Printz contenders based on starred reviews, let’s see how the 2019 winners and honors fared with stars and best book lists.

Newbery Award:

Merci Suárez Changes Gears book cover

Winner: Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 4: Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ

Honors:
book of boy book coverThe Night Diary book cover
The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Starred reviews – 3: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus
Best lists – 4: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
Starred reviews – 3: Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 2: Kirkus, SLJ

Printz Award

the poet x book cover

Winner: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Starred reviews – 4: Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 4: Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ

Honors:
Damsel book covera heart in a body in the world book coverI, Claudia book cover

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold
Starred reviews – 2: Booklist, SLJ
Best lists – 1: Booklist

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti
Starred reviews – 4: Booklist, Bulletin, Kirkus, PW
Best lists – none

I, Claudia by Mary McCoy
Starred reviews – 2: Booklist, Kirkus
Best lists – 2: Booklist, Kirkus

Some notes of interest:

  • I feel like I heard a fair amount of surprise online for Merci winning, but with 5 starred reviews, 4 best lists and being named a Kirkus Prize Finalist, this shouldn’t have been that big of a shock.
  • No one was surprised when The Poet X was announced – it’s been rolling through awards season picking up more and more acclaim. It was already the Teen Walter Award Winner, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Fiction Winner, the National Book Award Winner, and a Kirkus Prize Finalist. On Monday it not only picked up the Printz medal, but was also named an Odyssey Honor and the Pura Belpré Author Winner. That book is going to be covered in award stickers!
  • For only the second time, the Printz committee didn’t pick a full slate of honor books (they’re allowed up to 4) and what they did pick were some under the radar titles that hadn’t been getting tons of chatter. Booklist was the only journal to give stars to all three honors, but interestingly they didn’t star The Poet X!
  • As of the end of December there were 196 books with 3 starred reviews  or more. Not all of those 196 were eligible for either award, but even reducing that number based on eligiblity, I would never be able to read all of those in year and keep up with other pleasure reading. So, assuming you’re choosing from those 196 books to try and predict awards, combined with buzz, chances are that you would have read the Newbery books. For the Printz though, you would only be at half of the books named. I’m in awe of the number of books committee members must read (and re-read for the final discussions!) to come to these decisions.

I haven’t read any of the 2019 Newbery and Printz books yet although The Poet X is currently on my bedside table and Merci Suárez Changes Gears will be my next audiobook listen. I have read a smattering of the books honored by other committees. The award I was most delighted with was Sadie winning the Odyssey. That audiobook was amazing and destroyed me in the best possible way. When they had named the Odyssey honors, I sat at my desk quietly chanting “Sadie, Sadie, come on, be Sadie” and actually cheered when it was announced.

So that’s a wrap on this year’s awards. Stay tuned, 2020 contender talk will be coming soon!

Newbery Contender Update graphic

2019 Newbery Possibilities through December Stars

The 2019 Newbery Award season is racing to its close. Over at Heavy Medal, there’s intense discussion happening around their shortlist. Their mock committee will be wrapping things up this week and voting on Thursday and Friday. Other Mock results have been rolling in – to see a roundup check out the ALSC blog.

To see what the Newbery committee itself picks, tune in live  on Monday, January 28 at 8am PST. I can only imagine how excited the committee members must be as they prep this one last week for their official deliberations and decision!

With December stars entered, there were 196 titles with three or more starred reviews which means there’s 57 new titles. I’ve noted the number of starred reviews each title received and those  which have been named to the following Award lists: the Walter Award from We Need Diverse Books; the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction; the Gryphon Award; the Boston-Globe Horn Book Award; the Kirkus Prize; the National Book Award, the Morris Award shortlist and the YALSA Excellence in Non-Fiction shortlist. Criteria for these awards are really all over the place, so while being named by another award means another committee found a book excellent there’s no guarantee the Newbery committee will find it equally distinguished.

For a reminder of the criteria please visit the official Newbery page or you can get a brief overview at my previous Newbery post.

This year my Newbery contender lists are broken down by format: Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Graphic Novels/Comics, Non-Fiction, Picture Books (Fiction and Non-Fiction), and Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books.

I have also included a list of books that I think are ineligible with a brief note of why, but here’s your regular reminder that I am not a member of the Newbery committee and have no information on official committee rulings. For anthologies I’m currently only looking up editors. If the editors meet the nationality/residence requirements I’m putting them on the contender lists; if they don’t I’m putting them on the ineligible list. If anyone has additional info on eligibility for any of the titles I’ve got on the ineligible list, please let me know in the comments!

Young Reader Adapted versions are an interesting question for the non-fiction. Are they original? Or because it’s adapted from a version previously published are they not? Looking at Just Mercy this month, I’m fairly certain it would be ineligible because the original was published several years ago so it clearly was adapted. Proud looks like it may have been published simultaneously with the adult version? So I lean on the side of that being eligible? But I really don’t know. Neither seems like a particularly likely contender given other non-fiction titles in the field, but the committee may feel differently.

Contender lists are after the jump! Continue reading 2019 Newbery Possibilities through December Stars

2019 Newbery Possibilities through August Stars

There’s a ton of new titles to check into with this update because it’s covering three moths of added reviews: June, July and August. Heavy Medal is back in full swing and they actually do some in-depth analysis to identify contenders, so I encourage everyone to check in on the discussions over there – especially if you’re overwhelmed by the amount of titles listed here and want to narrow your reading focus.

For a reminder of the criteria please visit the official Newbery page or you can get a brief overview at my previous Newbery post.

This year my Newbery contender lists are broken down by format: Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Graphic Novels/Comics, Non-Fiction, Picture Books (Fiction and Non-Fiction), and Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books.

I have also included a list of books that I think are ineligible with a brief note of why, but here’s your regular reminder that I am not a member of the Newbery committee and have no information on official committee rulings. A few notes on titles that were added this month: I think  Check, Please!: # Hockey is ineligible because it was originally published as a webcomic, but I’m not at all sure of that. Also, for anthologies I’m currently only looking up editors. If the editors meet the nationality/residence requirements I’m putting them on the contender lists; if they don’t (with some basic searching, I think Elsie Chapman is neither a U.S. citizen nor a U.S. resident sadly knocking out A Thousand Beginnings and Endings) I’m putting them on the ineligible list. If anyone has additional info on eligibility for any of the titles I’ve got on the ineligible list, please let me know in the comments!

With August stars entered, there were 139 titles with three or more starred reviews which means there’s 47 new titles . I’ve noted next to titles if they made the National Book Longlist or were named Kirkus Prize Finalists since that adds a little extra weight to their chances. See where everything ends up after the jump! Continue reading 2019 Newbery Possibilities through August Stars

2019 Newbery Possibilities through May Stars

As of May starred reviews, here’s my lists of books with three or more stars that are eligible for the Newbery. For a reminder of the criteria please visit the official Newbery page or you can get a brief overview at my previous Newbery post. This year my Newbery contender lists are broken down by format: Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Graphic Novels/Comics, Non-Fiction, Picture Books (Fiction and Non-Fiction), and Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books. I have also included a list of books that I think are ineligible with a brief note of why, but here’s your regular reminder that I am not a member of the Newbery committee and have no information on official committee rulings.

With May stars entered, there were 92 titles with three or more starred reviews which means there’s 12 new titles . Lots of new picture books this month, but not a ton of other stuff. See where everything ends up after the jump! Continue reading 2019 Newbery Possibilities through May Stars

2019 Newbery Possibilities through April Stars

As of April starred reviews, here’s my lists of books with three or more stars that are eligible for the Newbery. For a reminder of the criteria please visit the official Newbery page or you can get a brief overview at my previous Newbery post. This year my Newbery contender lists are broken down by format: Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Graphic Novels/Comics, Non-Fiction, Picture Books (Fiction and Non-Fiction), and Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books. I have also included a list of books that I think are ineligible with a brief note of why, but here’s your regular reminder that I am not a member of the Newbery committee and have no information on official committee rulings.

As of the end of April there were 80 titles with three or more starred reviews which means there’s 36 new titles . See which lists they ended up on after the jump. Continue reading 2019 Newbery Possibilities through April Stars

2019 Newbery Possibilities through February Stars

Another year, another crop of Newbery contenders to consider! The Newbery Award is given by the Association for Library Service to Children to

“the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published by an American publisher in the United States in English during the preceding year.” – Newbery Medal Terms and Criteria

That’s a pretty broad charge for the committee, so here’s a few more details:

  • 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.

The Newbery committee over the last few years has been making a lot of really exciting choices outside middle grade novels which for a long time were the typical Newbery fodder. The 2018 honors alone included a picture book (Crown) and two titles at the upper end of the age range (Long Way Down and Piecing Me Together). Every year I tweak how I put my lists of Newbery contenders together. Given the continued stretching of the Newbery boundaries, this year I considered just listing titles by the number of starred reviews and pulling out the ineligible titles, but in the end I decided to go with breaking things down by format. The lists will be (at least to start with – we’ll see how this works): Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Graphic Novels/Comics, Non-Fiction, Picture Books (Fiction and Non-Fiction), and Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books.

The final list will be books that I think are ineligible – usually it’s because the author isn’t a U.S. citizen or resident, but wordless picture books and titles with previously published content could appear here as well. 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.

Overall, I cast a pretty wide net here – I’m just looking at books with three or more starred reviews and whether they are eligible. For a more directed list of titles to consider, check in with Heavy Medal. They are running a new feature this year where readers can nominate titles to consider each month. You can see the March list and the April nominations opened up this week. You’ll note that there are several titles on the March list that don’t appear here – a good reminder that as wide a net as I cast? It’s likely the Newbery committee members themselves are looking even further afield and have probably read and put aside some of the titles I’m listing.

As of the end of February there were 44 titles with three or more starred reviews. Let’s take a look at how they break down after the jump. Continue reading 2019 Newbery Possibilities through February Stars

Newbery Possibilities Wrap-Up

Mock Award groups all over the country are reading their final books and preparing for their decisions; Heavy Medal is getting ready to vote online and the Oakland results are in! The actual ALA Youth Media Awards ceremony will be on Monday, February 12 beginning at 8 a.m. MT (woohoo! I can actually get up at a normal time this year!) and can be viewed here. Here’s my last round-up of titles that meet the Newbery criteria.

One note: some people clearly feel that One Last Word by Nikki Grimes could indeed be eligible. I still lean on the ineligible side due to the inclusion of previously published poems, but would be happy to be incorrect and wanted to recognize the varied opinions out there. Final decisions on eligibility are made by the Newbery Committee Chair and the Priority Group Consultant.

The usual disclaimer: I have no official connection to the Newbery Award or Committee – nothing I say here has any bearing on the Committee’s deliberations. I’m merely an avid fan and data nerd.

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.

Of course, this list is just considering titles via the lens of starred reviews. There are many more ways to find worthy titles and I encourage you all to explore them as much as possible. Some years are like last year and The Girl Who Drank the Moon (5 starred reviews) takes home the medal, but you never know when it’s going to be a Moon Over Manifest year (2 starred reviews) or a Last Stop on Market Street (3 starred reviews and a picture book to boot) year!

As of the end of December there were 214 titles with three or more starred reviews. New titles are marked in bold.
Continue reading Newbery Possibilities Wrap-Up

Newbery Possibilities Updated for August Stars

I’m back! It’s been awhile – between family things and preparing for and attending the Illinois Library Association’s annual conference (where I was on a panel discussion for the first time – slightly terrifying, but mostly fun!), my nerdy book stat stuff had to take a back seat.

I didn’t have a chance to update my list of possible Newbery contenders over the summer at all which means this is four months of added titles. Unfortunately, since that meant adding over 70 books it took me so long that the data is immediately out of date because it does not account for any September or October starred reviews (entering September reviews is next on my blog/spreadsheet list of to-dos). I will try to post another update once the September data is in since hopefully that will be a smaller task.

Please note that I have no official connection to the Newbery Award or Committee – nothing I say here has any bearing on the Committee’s deliberations. I’m merely an avid fan and data nerd. For people with far more experience who have actually served on the Newbery Committee I encourage you to check out SLJ’s Heavy Medal blog.

Also, welcome to my new readers; I’ve been seeing a significant increase in views this fall which is great! I would encourage you to read the Starred Reviews page for a list of which journals I track (there are many entities that give starred reviews out and I do not follow all of them) and an explanation of my notation system.

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: My eligibility rulings are far from final – 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 list is just one way to focus your reading, I encourage you to seek out excellent children’s literature in other places as well!

As of the end of August there were 161 titles with three or more starred reviews. New titles are marked in bold.
Continue reading Newbery Possibilities Updated for August Stars

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.
Continue reading Newbery Possibilities Updated for April Stars