The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British children’s book publisher John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Beside the Newbery Medal, the committee usually awards Newbery Honors to other books worthy of attention.
This year, the Newbery Medal was awarded to Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson.
Newbery Honors went to Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango, The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat, and Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee.
Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson
Under the cover of night, twelve-year-old Homer flees Southerland Plantation with his little sister Ada, unwillingly leaving their beloved mother behind. Much as he adores her and fears for her life, Homer knows there’s no turning back, not with the overseer on their trail. Through tangled vines, secret doorways, and over a sky bridge, the two find a secret community called Freewater, deep in the swamp.
In this society created by formerly enslaved people and some freeborn children, Homer finds new friends, almost forgetting where he came from. But when he learns of a threat that could destroy Freewater, he crafts a plan to find his mother and help his new home.
Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango
Seventh grade is going to be Iveliz’s year. She’s going to make a new friend, help her abuela Mimi get settled after moving from Puerto Rico, and she is not going to get into any more trouble at school . . .
Except is that what happens? Of course not. Because no matter how hard Iveliz tries, sometimes people say things that just make her so mad. And worse, Mimi keeps saying Iveliz’s medicine is unnecessary–even though it helps Iveliz feel less sad. But how do you explain your feelings to others when you’re not even sure what’s going on yourself?
The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat
As assistant to Mangkon’s most celebrated mapmaker, twelve-year-old Sai plays the part of a well-bred young lady with a glittering future. In reality, her father is a conman—and in a kingdom where the status of one’s ancestors dictates their social position, the truth could ruin her. Sai seizes the chance to join an expedition to chart the southern seas, but she isn’t the only one aboard with secrets. When Sai learns that the ship might be heading for the fabled Sunderlands—a land of dragons, dangers, and riches beyond imagining—she must weigh the cost of her dreams.
Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee
Maizy has never been to Last Chance, Minnesota. . . until now. Her Mom’s plan is just to stay for a couple weeks, until her grandfather gets better. But plans change, and as Maizy spends more time in Last Chance (where she and her family are the only Asian-Americans) and at The Golden Palace—the restaurant that’s been in her family for generations—she makes some discoveries. For instance: You can tell a LOT about someone by the way they order food. And people can surprise you. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes in disappointing ways. And the Golden Palace has Secrets.
But the more Maizy discovers, the more questions she has. Like, why are her mom and her grandmother always fighting? Who are the people in the photographs on the office wall? And when she discovers that a beloved family treasure has gone missing—and someone has left a racist note—Maizy decides it’s time find the answers.