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Book Awards: Newbery Medal

Newbery Criteria

  1. In identifying distinguished writing in a book for children:
    • Committee members need to consider:
      • Interpretation of the theme or concept.
      • Presentation of information including accuracy, clarity and organization.
      • Development of plot.
      • Delineation of characters.
      • Delineation of setting.
      • Appropriateness of style.

      Note: 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.

    • Committee members must consider excellence of presentation for a child audience.
  2. Each book is to be considered as a contribution to literature. The committee is to make its decision primarily on the text. Other aspects of a book are to be considered only if they distract from the text. Such other aspects might include illustrations, overall design of the book, etc.

Note: The committee should keep in mind that the award is for literary quality and quality of presentation for children. The award is not for didactic intent or for popularity.

The preceding is adapted from the official Newbery terms and criteria from ALSC.

Comments and suggestions can be sent to Mary R. Voors, Manager, Children's Services at

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