• The Newbery Medal

    Information takes from site:  http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/newberymedal/newberymedal

    Click here to view a list of the Newbery Medal Award Winners!

    In 1921, Frederic G. Melcher had the Newbery Medal designed by René Paul Chambellan. The bronze medal has the winner's name and the date engraved on the back. The ALA Executive Board in 1922 delegated to the Children's Librarians' Section the responsibility for selecting the book to receive the Newbery Medal.

    The inscription on the Newbery Medal still reads "Children's Librarians' Section," although the section has changed its name four times and its membership now includes both school and public library children's librarians in contrast to the years 1922-58, when the section, under three different names, included only public library children's librarians.


    Origin of the Newbery Medal

    Each year the Newbery Medal is awarded by the American Library Association for the most distinguished American children's books published the previous year. On June 21, 1921, Frederic G. Melcher proposed to the American Library Association meeting of the children's Librarians' Section that a medal be given for the most distinguished children's book of the year.

    He suggested that it be named for the eighteenth-century English book- seller John Newbery. The idea was enthusiastically accepted by the children's librarians, and Melcher's official proposal was approved by the ALA Executive Board in 1922. In Melcher's formal agreement with the board, the purpose of the Newbery Medal was stated as follow: "To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children. To emphasize to the public that contributions to the literature for children deserve similar recognition to poetry, plays, or novels. To give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children's reading interests, and opportunity to encourage good writing in this field." The Newbery Award thus became the first children's book award in the world. Its terms, as well as its long history, continue to make it the best known and most discussed children's book award in this country.

    Award Criteria for the Newbery Medal


    1. In identifying distinguished writing in a book for children:
      1. Committee members need to consider:
        • Interpretation of the theme or concept.
        • Presentation of information including accuracy, clarity and organization.
        • Development of plot.
        • Delineation of characters.
        • Delineation of 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.



      2. Committee members must consider excellence of presentation for a child audience.
    2. Each book is to be considered as a contribution to literature. The committee is to make its decision primarily on the text. Other aspects of a book are to be considered only if they distract from the text. Such other aspects might include illustrations, overall design of the book, etc.


Last Modified on October 15, 2018