Best Children's Books About Newbery

The 57 Best Newbery Medal Books

Updated Apr. 24, 2019

As one of the two most prestigious awards given for children's literature in the United States, the John Newbery Medal is given to the author of "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." (Newbery Medal Home Page) By way of that introduction this list of books is surely one that cannot be passed by. These books will inspire and enlighten young minds. Our favorites are here and we hope you will enjoy discovering your own favorites as well.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler book
#1
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Written by E.L. Konigsburg
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Having run away with her younger brother to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, twelve-year-old Claudia strives to keep things in order in their new home and to become a changed person and a heroine to herself.

Number the Stars book
#2
Number the Stars
Written by Lois Lowry
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I read this for the first time in a mother-daughter book club and it's a phenomenal introduction to the Holocaust, and a beautiful story about friendship. There are enough details to help younger readers understand some of what was going on and convey the seriousness of the situation, but without the more gory details that are important to remember but are more appropriate for an older audience. It's also a quick read!

In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.

Holes book
#3
Holes
Written by Louis Sachar
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
Thoughts from Mr. Stacatto

Holes has been a longtime favorite of mine ever since Mrs. Jeffs read it to me in the 6th grade. The fun characters, the exhaustion of digging 5-foot holes in the desert day-after-day, and a refreshing gulp of sploosh. Just watch out for those poisonous lizards.

As further evidence of his family's bad fortune which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself.

The Tale of Despereaux book
#4
The Tale of Despereaux
Written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

"The Tale of Despereaux" is a well-loved favorite, and for good reason! Kate DiCamillo is a wonderful author, and I loved this book and "Because of Winn-Dixie" growing up. This is a tale of love, adventure, and forgiveness that you'll want to read again and again!

The adventures of Desperaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual talents, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who longs to be a princess, and a devious rat determined to bring them all to ruin.

The Wheel on the School book
#5
The Wheel on the School
Written by Meindert DeJong and illustrated by Maurice Sendak
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Goodfather

The Wheel on the School is a favorite of mine from my days as a young reader. The curiosity of the school children and the introduction to life in Holland made a lasting impression on me. I love how the children set out to learn more about their question then work to find answers and a solution.

Dutch schoolgirl Lina's composition about storks began the children's campaign to bring storks back to their village.

Last Stop on Market Street book
#6
Last Stop on Market Street
Written by Matt De La Pena and illustrated by Christian Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This is a book that makes me think everyone needs a grandmother like Nana. She sees the positive in all of the hard things in life. Her grandson has so many questions about why they don't have certain things, like a car, and she has the perfect answer of how to see that what they have is enough. She also shows him how to find beauty when life doesn't seem beautiful.

A young boy rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things. By the author of the celebrated picture book A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis.

A Wrinkle in Time book
#7
A Wrinkle in Time
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-14

Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg's father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond book
#8
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

In 1687 in Connecticut, Kit Tyler, feeling out of place in the Puritan household of her aunt, befriends an old woman considered a witch by the community and suddenly finds herself standing trial for witchcraft.

Dear Mr. Henshaw book
#9
Dear Mr. Henshaw
Written by Beverly Cleary and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Dear Mr. Henshaw, I wish somebody would stop stealing the good stuff out of my lunchbag. I guess I wish a lot of other things, too. I wish someday Dad and Bandit would pull up in front in the rig ... Dad would yell out of the cab, "Come on, Leigh. Hop in and I'll give you a lift to school." Leigh Botts has been author Boyd Henshaw's number one fan ever since he was in second grade. Now in sixth grade, Leigh lives with his mother and is the new kid at school. He's lonely, troubled by the absence of his father, a cross-country trucker, and angry because a mysterious thief steals from his lunchbag. Then Leigh's teacher assigns a letter-writing project. Naturally Leigh chooses to write to Mr. Henshaw, whose surprising answer changes Leigh's life.

Rabbit Hill book
#10
Rabbit Hill
Written by Robert Lawson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

New folks are coming to live in the Big House. The animals of Rabbit Hill wonder if they will plant a garden and thus be good providers.

A Visit to William Blake's Inn book
#11
A Visit to William Blake's Inn
Written by Nancy Willard and illustrated by Martin Provensen, Alice Provensen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Inspired by William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, this delightful collection of poetry for children brings to life Blake’s imaginary inn and its unusual guests.

The Grey King book
#12
The Grey King
Written by Susan Cooper
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-14

There is a Welsh legend about a harp of gold, hidden within a certain hill, that will be found by a boy and a white dog with silver eyes -- a dog that can see the wind. Will Stanton knew nothing of this when he came to Wales to recover from a severe illness. But when he met Bran, a strange boy who owned a white dog, he began to remember. For Will is the last-born of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to saving the world from the forces of evil, the Dark. And it is Will's task to wake-with the golden harp -- the six who must be roused from their long slumber in the Welsh hills to prepare for the last battle between the Dark and the Light.

The Crossover book
#13
The Crossover
Written by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12

Kwame Alexander's NYT Bestseller and Newbery Medal winning The Crossover is vividly brought to life as a graphic novel with stunning illustrations by star talent Dawud Anyabwile.

Amos Fortune, Free Man book
#14
Amos Fortune, Free Man
Written by Elizabeth Yates
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The life of the eighteenth-century African prince who, after being captured by slave traders, was brought to Massachusetts where he was a slave until he was able to buy his freedom at the age of sixty.

Maniac Magee book
#15
Maniac Magee
Written by Jerry Spinelli
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-11

A Newbery Medal winning modern classic about a racially divided small town and a boy who runs. Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn't made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run--and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.

A Single Shard book
#16
A Single Shard
Written by Linda Sue Park
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12

In this Newbery Medal-winning book set in 12th century Korea, Tree-ear, a 13-year-old orphan, lives under a bridge in Ch’ulp’o, a potters' village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potter’s craft; he wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated — until he finds obstacles in his path: the backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Min’s irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself — even if it means taking a long, solitary journey on foot to present Min’s work in the hope of a royal commission . . . even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard.

A Year Down Yonder book
#17
A Year Down Yonder
Written by Richard Peck
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

During the recession of 1937, fifteen-year-old Mary Alice is sent to live with her feisty, larger-than-life grandmother in rural Illinois and comes to a better understanding of this fearsome woman. A Newbery Medal Winner & ALA Notable Book. Reprint.

The Westing Game book
#18
The Westing Game
Written and illustrated by Ellen Raskin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, on things for sure: Sam Westing may be dead…but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!

The High King book
#19
The High King
Written by Lloyd Alexander
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In this final part of the chronicle of Prydain, the forces of good and evil meet in an ultimate confrontation, which determines the fate of Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper who wanted to be a hero.

Dead End in Norvelt book
#20
Dead End in Norvelt
Written by Jack Gantos
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Dead End in Norvelt is the winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal for the year's best contribution to children's literature and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction! Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional, Dead End in Norvelt is a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is "grounded for life" by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets. But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack's way once his mom loans him out to help a feisty old neighbor with a most unusual chore—typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his utopian town. As one obituary leads to another, Jack is launched on a strange adventure involving molten wax, Eleanor Roosevelt, twisted promises, a homemade airplane, Girl Scout cookies, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, voices from the past, Hells Angels . . . and possibly murder. Endlessly surprising, this sly, sharp-edged narrative is the author at his very best, making readers laugh out loud at the most unexpected things in a dead-funny depiction of growing up in a slightly off-kilter place where the past is present, the present is confusing, and the future is completely up in the air.

Shiloh book
#21
Shiloh
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

When he finds a lost beagle in the hills behind his West Virginia home, Marty tries to hide it from his family and the dog's real owner, a mean-spirited man known to shoot deer out of season and to mistreat his dogs.

Strawberry Girl book
#22
Strawberry Girl
Written by Lois Lenski
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The land was theirs, but so were its hardships Strawberries -- big, ripe, and juicy. Ten-year-old Birdie Boyer can hardly wait to start picking them. But her family has just moved to the Florida backwoods, and they haven′t even begun their planting. ";Don′t count your biddies ′fore they′re hatched, gal young un!"; her father tells her. Making the new farm prosper is not easy. There is heat to suffer through, and droughts, and cold snaps. And, perhaps most worrisome of all for the Boyers, there are rowdy neighbors, just itching to start a feud.

Adam of the Road  book
#23
Adam of the Road
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Eleven-year-old Adam loved to travel throughout thirteenthcentury England with his father, a wandering minstrel, and his dog, Nick. But when Nick is stolen and his father disappears, Adam suddenly finds himself alone. He searches the same roads he traveled with his father, meeting various people along the way. But will Adam ever find his father and dog and end his desperate search?

The View from Saturday book
#24
The View from Saturday
Written by E.L. Konigsburg
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

HOW HAD MRS. OLINSKI CHOSEN her sixth-grade Academic Bowl team? She had a number of answers. But were any of them true? How had she really chosen Noah and Nadia and Ethan and Julian? And why did they make such a good team? It was a surprise to a lot of people when Mrs. Olinski's team won the sixth-grade Academic Bowl contest at Epiphany Middle School. It was an even bigger surprise when they beat the seventh grade and the eighth grade, too. And when they went on to even greater victories, everyone began to ask: How did it happen? It happened at least partly because Noah had been the best man (quite by accident) at the wedding of Ethan's grandmother and Nadia's grandfather. It happened because Nadia discovered that she could not let a lot of baby turtles die. It happened when Ethan could not let Julian face disaster alone. And it happened because Julian valued something important in himself and saw in the other three something he also valued. Mrs. Olinski, returning to teaching after having been injured in an automobile accident, found that her Academic Bowl team became her answer to finding confidence and success. What she did not know, at least at first, was that her team knew more than she did the answer to why they had been chosen. This is a tale about a team, a class, a school, a series of contests and, set in the midst of this, four jewel-like short stories -- one for each of the team members -- that ask questions and demonstrate surprising answers.

The Door in the Wall book
#25
The Door in the Wall
Written and illustrated by Marguerite de Angeli
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

The crippled son of a powerful nobleman sets out to prove his courage and his right to be recognized by the king.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.