Of the 95 Newbery winners, these are my 15 favorite Newbery award winners chosen by a committee of librarians as the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children for the previous year
I meant this list of my favorite Newbery winners to only have 10 books on it. But then it was just impossible for me to get it that low.
Since 1922, 95 books have won the Newbery Medal and I’ve read 66 of them, so narrowing it to 15 seems fairly reasonable in my mind.
(When I did my favorite Caldecott books, I picked twelve. Apparently I love novels more than I love picture books).
My 15 favorite Newbery Winners
- The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (2013). I pretty much don’t care for animals (I know) and I STILL think this is one of the best kids books ever, Newbery winner or not. When a book is this sweet, funny, and well-written, who cares if it’s narrated by a gorilla? Not me. (Full review here)
- Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool (2011). I thought this was just a ridiculously fine piece of historical fiction. Funny, clever, surprising, and smart. (Full review here)
- A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (2002). I didn’t know I had any interest in 12th century Korea until I read this. Then I made everyone I know read it. (Full Review here)
- A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck (2001). Do you wish to laugh your head off? This is the book for you. (Full review here)
- Holes by Louis Sachar (1999). I seriously think this book is just the cleverest, weirdest book ever. I’m not a fan of most of his books (Wayside School is not for me), but this one is fantastic every time I read it.
- The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg (1997). This is one of the first books I ever remember reading where I thought, “Whoa, this is a well-written book.” And just fun.
- Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (1995). Road trip books and quirky books are both not my things. But this book is terrific. (Full review here)
- The Giver by Lois Lowry (1994). I didn’t read this Newbery winner until I was an adult, and then I immediately read the entire thing aloud to Bart. Can’t wait to see the movie!
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (1990). This was one of the first chapter books I read on my own (apparently my mom didn’t believe I actually had understood any of it and then I recapped the entire book for her).
- Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt (1983). I’d heard of this for years, but didn’t get around to reading it until I checked the first book, Homecoming, and then this one out from the library on audio when my library was going to be closed for a month and I had plenty of time to get through some 25 CDs. It was one of the most delightful listening experiences of my life.
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (1978). This was another one I read as an adult and it’s one of my all-time favorites now. Heart-breaking and 100% perfect. (Full review here)
- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (1977). I read this as a kid and then I reread it in grad school and sobbed my stupid eyes out.
- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien (1972). I remember the crazy excitement I felt reading it as a kid and watching the entire plot unfold.
- The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (1962). When I was really trying to make progress through the Newbery award winners a few years ago, I was prepared to suffer through this. And then I just LOVED every second of it.
- Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (1936). I love Little House on the Prairie and I really love this book too. (Full review here)