There are so many books that have received awards that it was very hard to choose the ones to recommend. I wanted to do all of them but there are hundreds. I’m sure all the authors were extremely excited and grateful to receive the awards granted them. I hope it encouraged them to keep writing, keep writing, keep writing! Here are my top picks that you can find on our shelves.
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
Winner of the 1968 John Newbery Medal
Claudia Kincaid is in 6th grade, a very good organizer, very good planner, and running away from home to live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Yes! Well, if you don’t like camping in the wilderness with bugs, I think a museum would be perfect! She will be gone long enough to give her parents just the right amount of time for a much-needed Claudia appreciation lesson.
She convinces Jamie, her second youngest, most bearable, of three brothers to go along since he has money and is a total miser. The two make themselves right at home in the museum. Spoiler – I would so love to take a bath in a giant indoor fountain! Are there problems during their fantastic museum campout? Yes, there are. Which means BIG time adventure! Claudia and Jamie become experts on how to avoid security and be invisible. I can’t give away too much of their adventures although even if I did, I bet you would read it straight through. It is really good.
On top of all their experiences at the museum, Claudia becomes fascinated with a beautiful statue that may have been carved by Michelangelo. Even the experts don’t know who the artist is for sure. It is a mystery and Claudia is not going home until she discovers the truth. She thinks the previous owner Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler knows who the artist is. Does she? Have fun reading this book! You will feel like you’re right there with them. You’ll also enjoy reading about how much everything cost in the mid-1960s
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Winner of the John Newbery Medal, Scott Odell Award, Coretta Scott King Award, and a National Book Award Finalist
Delphine, 11, Venetta, 9, and little 7-year-old Fern are three African American sisters from Brooklyn. It is 1968 and their Papa is sending the girls to stay with their mom for 28 days in Oakland, California. They haven’t seen their mom, Cecile since she walked out when Fern was a baby. Why did she leave? It is a puzzle big sis Delphine is going to solve. Cecile doesn’t spend much time with the girls. No surfing the waves or picking oranges and apples off fruit trees, like they dreamed. No filling autograph books with signatures from movie stars and no Disneyland.
Cecile sends them off to a summer camp sponsored by the revolutionary group, the Black Panthers. This is a crazy time in American history. Delphine, Venetta and Fern handle it all with courage and humor. They are such spirited brave little girls, proud of who they are. Just like their mom.
It is one crazy heartbreaking, funny and unforgettable summer!
Pura Belpre Award – This award is presented to a Latino or Latina author or illustrator who best portrays the Latino cultural experience in a work of literature for children or youth.
Efrén Nava is a bright, kind 12-year-old who loves his Ama, Apa and his younger siblings Max and Mia. His parents work hard to make a good home that is loving and safe for Efrén, his little brother and his sister.
Efrén is American born but his parents are undocumented. He worries they might be taken away. There is talk in the neighborhood of deportation, which tears families like his apart. What would he do? It is his worst nightmare. Then the nightmare comes true, his Ama is deported to Tijuana, Mexico, during an ICE raid. Oh No! My heart broke for Efren and his family.
But he is brave and strong in spirit. Efrén takes on the task of looking after his brother and sister while his Apa works another job to earn the money needed to get his Ama back. It is a hard, hard job for Efrén to take care of Max and Mia, keep up on schoolwork, help his friends, and do many of the tasks his Ama did. She made it look so easy.
What else could happen? Efrén must cross the border alone to see Ama. It is less risky than his Apa, who is not American born. If Apa went he may not be able to get back and then Efrén and his brother and sister would truly be alone. So, he goes. He meets good people and definitely not so good people. Efrén is brave, braver than any 12-year-old should have to be.
Well done Mr. Cisneros, well done.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
John Newbery Medal & Coretta Scott King Award
This book is told entirely through verse. Josh Bell and his brother Jordan are twins and kings on the basketball court. They are identical and share a love of basketball hoping to someday follow in their dad’s footsteps and play professionally. The brothers are also very different, in pretty much everything else. At one point Jordan meets the new girl and he and his brother drift apart, temporarily. “Life doesn’t come with a play book.”
This book moves with a smooth flow, and you will want to read it all right away. It is an entire story written in verse that grabs you for a ride down the river of life. It pushes you onto shore and says, “Now you try.”
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This is the only book ever to win the John Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal.
Ah yes, a nice spooky, sometimes charming, definitely creepy book for future camping or weekend sleepovers. With the right amount of “Oh No, that didn’t just happen!”
Bod, full name Nobody Owens, is a normal boy who lives in a graveyard. The magical, evil Jack murdered his family but Nobody, only a young toddler at the time, escaped to the nearby graveyard. His mother’s spirit begs the elderly Owens ghosts to adopt and protect him. They agree.
There are many graveyard adventures for Nobody and he meets a young living friend. The non-living graveyard dwellers include the ancient Indigo Man and the weird and creepy Sleer.
Excellent story. Sweet dreams campers.😊