It's that time of year for cheering on our favorite children's books—the 2018 ALA Youth Media Awards are upon us. On February 12, the best of the best books, videos, and other media for children and teens are announced at the American Library Association's annual conference, and we'll be here at the Library watching. Among the popular and prestigious awards given at the event are the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the Randolph Caldecott Medal, and others.

Let's take a closer look at perhaps the most famous award for children's literature: the John Newbery Medal, awarded to the most distinguished American children's book published in the previous year.

Did you know:

  • The Newbery is the first award for children's books in the world
  • The very first Newbery Medal was awarded in 1922 to a The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon.
  • Not many picture books win Newbery Medals—but 2016's winner is a picture book called Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña. 

Find out more about the Newbery Medal, and check out some of these favorite winners from the past:

 (2016) Last Stop on Market Street Matt de la Peña

This beautiful picture book follows little CJ and his grandma on a Sunday bus ride through their neighborhood. CJ isn't too excited about their outing, but luckily Nana knows just how to show him the hidden beauty and joy in everyday life.
Suggested for ages 3–5


(2015) The Crossover Kwame Alexander

Twin junior high students Junior and Josh have skills on the basketball court—thanks in part to their supportive parents. But for the first time in their lives, the brothers start to drift apart and family tension lead to problems on and off the court. This quick read is a great pick for those looking for a realistic fiction novel in verse with heart.
Suggested for ages 9–12


(2009) The Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman

After the grisly murder of his entire family, young Nobody Owens takes up residence in a local graveyard. Raised under the protection of the charming ghosts who live there, Bod grows into a normal young boy and has all kinds of adventures in this odd place. But, as he grows, so does the danger—he will never stop being hunted. This dark but often humorous novel is a wonderful coming-of-age tale with a supernatural twist.
Suggested for ages 8–12