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Jan 24 2022 - 01:18 PM
Newbery: Collection of a Century

Imagine one hundred books alongside each other on a shelf. What do they look like? What are they about? Why these books? Some may even be curious how they smell! But with one hundred books for young readers, there is much exploration to be had.

A photograph of colorful library-bound editions of Newbery award winning books lined up on a shelf with their spines out, showing their titles.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Newbery Medal, awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children, was first granted in 1922 by a panel of children's librarians. Over the years, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) was founded and grew to include children's and youth librarians from public and school libraries. As the award panels changed, the world changed - for children and teens, authors and publishers, teachers and librarians. Taken together, the books lauded with a Newbery Medal alone can tell of these changes.

A head-on photograph of a golden embossed Newbery Medal.Many outlets have turned their focus towards understanding the history of this particular award. Betsy Bird's comprehensive timeline of notable years over the last hundred years contextualizes these books and the selection process itself (The Hits! The Misses! A Time Line of Newbery Highs and Lows). It can be easy to forget the importance of committees, connections, and social constructs in the excitement that swells at awards ceremonies. Reflection is just as necessary as celebration.

But, in the timeless words of Levar Burton, you don't have to take my word for it! The Gottesman Libraries is home to almost all of the Newbery winners and many of the honors, so all Teachers College community members can find these titles in our catalog, Educat+. A chronological list of all Newbery medalists and honorees can be found on the Newbery Medal Wikipedia page, and all American Library Association Youth Media Award lists can be browsed on the ALSC Book & Media Awards Shelf.

More Learning at the Library posts about children's book awards are also available. Library services associates are here to help anyone who needs in searching for these texts, and for curriculum resources or other research to supplement them. The conversation around children's books is ongoing. With more to read comes more to know, and more to discuss.

Happy reading!

Image above courtesy of Carol VanHook on Flickr under Creative Commons License

Posted in: Learning at the Library|By: Rachel Altvater|703 Reads