A committee of 15 people, reading more books than any of us, and reading them more carefully, may emerge with a surprising choice.
Neil Gaiman is a British citizen, but also a U. S. Resident, so he is eligible. J. K. Rowling is a British citizen and U. K. resident, so is not eligible.
Works from previous years and lifetime achievement are not relevant. Jacqueline Woodson’s three Honor Awards have no impact on whether or not she should receive a Medal or Honor.
Examples of Newbery winning fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, plus Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! which combines fiction, essay, fact, and monologue.
Age levels can go as low as beginning readers like Frog and Toad Together to books that have appeal to young adults as well as children, such as The House of the Scorpion , which won a Printz Honor Award and a Newbery Honor. The Newbery committee has no knowledge of what other committees (Printz, Sibert, Geisel…) are considering.
The theme of noticing the beauty in the everyday world runs through Kira-Kira . Consider how the author conveys it through characters, dialogue, and plot.
A non-fiction author has to stick to the facts, but the choices he makes in how they are arranged and the language he uses to describe them can grip a reader, create suspense, engage curiosity, and inform real learning.
A seemingly small event, like skipping a pill, can serve as the turning point of a novel. Besides affecting the plot, Jonas’ choice further establishes his character and addresses the book’s theme of the importance (and danger) of free choice.
Dialogue conveys the personalities of individual characters and how they react to one another. In this passage, the dialogue also neatly sets up the next plot segment.
Descriptions of setting can invoke the senses, like this passage that uses strong aural and textual imagery. While conveying the feel and mood of the rainstorm, a key plot element is also revealed: it’s finally raining.
Writing style doesn’t need to be eloquent or poetic to be effective. The language used in Holes helps to establish the slightly bizarre and arbitrary world of Camp Green Lake and also reflects Stanley’s resigned perspective, with a hint of sarcasm.
Creating a checklist for narrative elements is not especially helpful. The elements emerge in unison, not through isolated moments. And not every book needs to be strong in all areas. A fiction book like Charlotte’s Web may not need to be distinguished in the area of information. Plot and setting are not relevant to a poetry book such as Joyful Noise .
A Visit to William Blake’s Inn earned a Caldecott Honor for illustrations, but the Newbery Committee focused only Nancy Willard’s text when it awarded the Medal. The same is true for an illustrated chapter book, like A Tale of Despereux.
One 2001 Honor book featured an inspiring, positive teen who gets involved in local politics to save her community ( Hope Was Here ); another starred an out of control boy who pierces his dog’s ear with a dart. The Newbery committee looked for literary excellence, not ideal role models.
One library’s circulation status on December 2009. The Newbery Committee looks for distinguished quality, not anticipated popularity, sales, or circulation.
Mock Newbery Criteria Power Point
Mock Newbery Workshop Exploring the Newbery Criteria
Newbery Terms and Criteria <ul><li>“ The Medal shall be awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished contribution to American literature…” </li></ul>
Newbery Terms and Criteria <ul><li>“ Committee members need to consider the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Interpretation of the theme or concept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presentation of information including accuracy, clarity, and organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development of a plot </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Delineation of characters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Delineation of a setting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appropriateness of style .” </li></ul></ul>
2005 Newbery Medal Interpretation of the Theme or Concept “ My sister had taught me to look at the world that way, as a place that glitters, as a place where the calls of the crickets and the crows are everyday occurrences that also happen to be magic.”
2004 Newbery Honor Presentation of Information “ No one knew that a killer was already moving through their streets with them, an invisible stalker that would go house to house until it had touched everyone, rich or poor, in some terrible way.”
1994 Newbery Medal Development of a Plot The next morning, for the first time, Jonas did not take his pill. Something within him, something that had grown there through the memories, told him to throw the pill away .
1997 Newbery Honor Delineation of Characters “‘ And what do you suggest, O oracle of the gutter?’” ‘ I suggest that you should have brought food for five people with this miserable traveling circus of yours…How do you propose to get food?’ But the magus had had a moment to think and had arrived at the obvious solution. ‘You,’ he said, ‘are going to steal it.’ I threw up my hands.”
1998 Newbery Medal Delineation of a Setting I hear the first drops. Like the tapping of a stranger at the door of a dream, the rain changes everything. It strokes the roof, streaking the dusty tin, ponging, a concert of rain notes, spilling from gutters, gushing through gullies, soaking into the thirsty earth outside
1999 Newbery Medal Appropriateness of Style “ The reader is probably asking: Why would anyone go to Camp Green Lake? Most campers weren’t given a choice. Camp Green Lake is a camp for bad boys. If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy. That was what some people thought. Stanley Yelnats was given a choice. The judge said, ‘You may go to jail, or you may go to Camp Green Lake.’ Stanley was from a poor family. He had never been to camp before.”
Newbery Terms and Criteria <ul><li>“ 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 .” </li></ul>
Theme: A Information: ?? Plot: A Characters: A Setting: A Style: A Theme: A Information: A Plot: ?? Characters: A Setting: ?? Style: A
Newbery Terms and Criteria <ul><li>“ The committee is to make its decision primarily on the text . Other components of a book, such as illustrations, overall design of the book, etc., may be considered when they make the book less effective .” </li></ul>
Newbery Terms and Criteria <ul><li>“… The award is not for…popularity .” </li></ul>
2008 Newbery Medal 2008 Newbery Honor 13% of copies checked out 86% of copies checked out No Newbery Recognition 100% of copies checked out
Newbery Terms and Criteria <ul><li>Six basic elements </li></ul><ul><li>Theme or Concept </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation of Information </li></ul><ul><li>Plot </li></ul><ul><li>Characters </li></ul><ul><li>Setting </li></ul><ul><li>Style </li></ul>
Newbery Terms and Criteria <ul><li>Another way to look at the elements: </li></ul><ul><li>What’s the book like? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information + Plot + Characters + Setting + </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What does it make us think about? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theme or Concept </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How does the author do that? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Style </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If all of these come together excellently… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The book just might be a “Distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” </li></ul></ul>