Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A picture book won the Newbery?

While unusual, this is not the first time this has happened (remember Millions of Cats?), however I was rather surprised given the number of excellent novels that have been published this year.  But, let's remember the criteria for the Newbery Award.

(as taken from the ALA website)


In identifying “distinguished contribution to American literature,” defined as text, in a book for children,
a. Committee members need to consider the following:

  • Interpretation of the theme or concept
  • Presentation of information including accuracy, clarity, and organization
  • Development of a plot
  • Delineation of characters
  • Delineation of a setting
  • Appropriateness of style
Note: Because the literary qualities to be considered will vary depending on content, the committee need not expect to find excellence in each of the named elements. The book should, however, have distinguished qualities in all of the elements pertinent to it.

b.Committee members must consider excellence of presentation for a child audience.

2. Each book is to be considered as a contribution to American literature. The committee is to make its decision primarily on the text. Other components of a book, such as illustrations, overall design of the book, etc., may be considered when they make the book less effective. 

3. The book must be a self-contained entity, not dependent on other media (i.e., sound or film equipment) for its enjoyment.

Note: The committee should keep in mind that the award is for literary quality and quality presentation for children. The award is not for didactic content or popularity. Adopted by the ALSC Board, January 1978. Revised, Midwinter 1987. Revised, Annual 2008.

Nowhere does it state that the winner must be a novel, even though traditionally a novel does win.  I really loved Last Stop on Market Street, but I felt there were a number of fantastic novels that deserved the grand prize.
So here is my list if I had any say in what would win the Newbery.
The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

 2015 had so many fantastic titles, I can't wait to see what 2016 brings!

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