Newbery Predictions: What will win? What do you wish will win?
The announcement of the Newbery Medal and other ALA awards is one week away, so it’s a good time to share our predictions about what the winners might be. This process is always a good reminder of how the confidentiality nature of ALSC awards committees works. We truly have no idea what the actual 15 Newbery Committee members are thinking. They could be looking long and hard at books that might be barely touched on (or completely neglected) in a Mock Newbery setting like this one. Or maybe they’re wrestling with some of the same titles and issues we’ve discussed most on Heavy Medal.
For example: the 2020 winner was Jerry Craft’s NEW KID, a front-runner most of the year on this blog. On the other hand MERCI SUAREZ CHANGES GEARS, the 2019 Medal book, received one write-in vote (of 287 votes cast) in our Reader’s Poll. So no, we really don’t have a clue. Still, it’s fun to take a guess:
I’m going with a long-shot Medal pick this year: SKUNK AND BADGER by Amy Timberlake. Maybe this will be the year that a book for younger readers breaks through. This one is very strong in the literary elements and so different from most everything else this year.
FIGHTING WORDS by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley might be a safer bet, and I’m guessing it will earn on Honor at least. I’ll add Kacen Callender’s KING AND THE DRAGONFLIES (already the National Book Award winner) as another Honor pick. And finally, though this may be more my regular wishful thinking for nonfiction, ALL THIRTEEN by Christina Soontornvat.
As usual, I expect to be all or mostly wrong with all of these. I’ll pass on sharing what I hope will win for now. I want to hear how our Live Zoom Discussion on January 22nd goes first. I’d love to hear what others are thinking. Please share your own predictions below, and you can include the books you hope will win as well (even if you think they’re chances aren’t great).
About Steven Engelfried
Steven Engelfried was the Library Services Manager at the Wilsonville Public Library in Oregon until he retired in 2022 after 35 years as a full-time librarian. He served on the 2010 Newbery committee, chaired the 2013 Newbery Committee, and also served on the 2002 Caldecott committee. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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