Thursday, July 4, 2013

Newbery Award

This week's review book, Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, is a Newbery Award winner, so I'm going to tell you what exactly that means.

The Newbery Medal was started in 1921, and was the first children's book award in the world. The medal is above on the left. In 1971, the Newbery Honor (on the right) was instituted, to be given to runners-up.

The award was named for John Newbery, who published children's books in the 18th century. (The reason that was a huge deal is a topic for another day, but suffice it to say that children's literature didn't get the respect it deserves back then.)

The Newbery is awarded to the author of "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children" each year by the American Library Association's Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). The Newbery and the Caldecott are the two most prestigious awards for children's literature, and are widely celebrated yearly when announced at the ALA Midwinter meeting.

In its first year, the Newbery was awarded to six books. It has been given to anywhere between one and eight books every year since.

There is an equivalent British award called the Carnegie Medal, pictured on the right (and two authors have won both a Newbery and a Carnegie: Sharon Creech and Neil Gaiman). There is an equivalent German award too, called the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, on the left (and two authors have won a Newbery and a DJ: Scott O'Dell and Jean Craighead George).

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