Every January, lovers of children’s literature eagerly await the announcement of the year’s John Newbery Medal. Given to the best book published for children aged 0-14 that year, winning the Newbery Medal can change an author’s life. It also builds them an audience of expectant readers awaiting their next book! To quench your thirst until the next Newbery ceremony in January 2024, here are five books out in 2022 or early 2023 by Newbery Medal winning authors.
The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill
Barnhill captured readers and hearts with The Girl Who Drank the Moon, and her lyrical style is equally on display in The Ogress and the Orphans, an allegorical tale about a village, Stone-in-the-Glen, beset by a dragon, the ogress who is just trying to mind her own business, and the orphans who help change the trajectory of the village forever. If you love fantastical stories that aren’t pure fantasy, you’ll love this fairy tale-esque land.
The Windeby Puzzle by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry, the beloved author of The Giver and Number the Stars, returns to historical fiction with The Windeby Puzzle, a middle grade novel set in Germany during the Iron Age. Estrid and Verick are two of Lowry’s classic characters–ones who draw you in with their bravery and bring you breathlessly along their journey for what is right and who they want to be.
American Story by Kwame Alexander
Kwame Alexander is known for his transportive writing, which can take you from the African coast to the basketball field, through history and back to the present. His new non-fiction book focuses on the ways slavery is and isn’t taught in schools, and weaves a narratively beautiful look at centuries of pain and resilience. American Story isn’t like Alexander’s Newbery medal winning The Crossover on the surface, but the heart beats the same rhythm.
Those Kids from Fawn Creek by Erin Entrada Kelly
Erin Entrada Kelly’s tales of friendship are winners, and not just of the Newbery and Newbery Honor kind. She continues this success with Those Kids from Fawn Creek, which follows a group of seventh graders whose world is turned upside down when a fancy new kid joins their class. What happens to the status quo when someone new enters the mix? Kelly’s signature school stories shine!
Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson
The world watched with bated breath when Matt de la Pena won his Newbery medal for the picture book Last Stop on Market Street. De la Pena has continued to put out a steady stream of strong picture books that capture the emotion of the young reader and leave audiences with a lot to think about. In Milo Imagines the World, a young boy rides the train to visit his mom and learns that even though using his imagination to think about who others might be seems fun, making assumptions about people based on their appearance often hurts. Christian Robinson returns as illustrator.
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About the Author
Aryssa is a youth services librarian who loves listening to non-fiction audiobooks, crying over middle grade novels, and eagerly anticipating the next Caldecott Medal announcement. When she's not reading, she can be found 3D printing in the MLK Maker Labs, hanging out with her cat Koshka, or taking in local theater. Her favorite book of 2022 was Babel by R.F. Kuang.