Newbery Honor Book Award

2009 Newbery Honor Book

One of the oldest and most distinguished awards presented to a children's author is the Newbery Honor Book award. Formerly known as a "runner-up" to the prestigious Newbery Medal winner, the Newbery Honor Book bestowal is given to authors whose children's books are worthy of attention, but were not given the Newbery Medal.

History of the Newbery Medal and Honor Book Awards

In 1922, the Association for Library Service to Children began honoring American authors for their outstanding contributions to children's literature. Named the Newbery Medal, this honor was given in the form of a bronze medal designed by American sculptor Rene Paul Chambellan. It was named after 18th century English publisher John Newbery and along with the prestigious Cadecott Medal, was one of the first children's literary awards in the world.

Books that do not receive a Newbery Medal but are still worthy of a citation receive a silver Newbery Honor Seal, which is of the same design as the Newbery Medal and given to several authors each year.

Newbery Medal and Honor Criteria

To be eligible for a Newbery Medal or Honor, potential recipients must meet numerous criteria:

  • Authors must be U.S. citizens
  • Book must be published the year preceding the award
  • All work must be original and reprints and compilations are not accepted
  • The book must be geared toward children up to age of 14
  • Must be published in English
  • Must not be dependent on other media such as film or sound
  • Should have distinguishable characters, plot, setting, theme and style

Newbery Honor Books Award Recipients

You can find a complete list of Newbery Honor Book award winners at the American Library Association's website. Children's authors who received the honor during the 21st century include:

  • 2000
    • Getting Near to Baby by Audrey Couloumbis
    • Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm
    • 26 Fairmount Avenue by Tomie dePaola
  • 2001
    • Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
    • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
    • Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos
    • The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
  • 2002
    • Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
    • Carver: A Life In Poems by Marilyn Nelson
  • 2003
    • The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
    • Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff
    • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
    • A Corner of The Universe by Ann M. Martin
    • Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan
  • 2004
    • Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes
    • An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphy
  • 2005
    • Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
    • ''The Voice that Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights" by Russell Freedman
    • Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
  • 2006
    • Whittington by Alan Armstrong, illustrated by S.D. Schindler
    • Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
    • Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
    • Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Hudson Talbott
  • 2007
    • Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm,
    • Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
    • Rules by Cynthia Lord
  • 2008
    • Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
    • The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
    • Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
  • 2009
    • The Underneath by Kathi Appelt, illus. by David Small
    • The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle
    • Savvy by Ingrid Law
    • After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson

    Final Note on the Newbery Honor Book Award

    Being awarded a Newbery Honor is not a popularity contest. Only the most distinguished authors are given this honor, and they can receive it more than once. Each January, when the Newbery Medal and Honor books are named, book stores quickly sell out of them. Libraries also put the books on back order and having waiting lists readily available.
Newbery Honor Book Award