Welcome to the first post for the 2015 Newbery Through the Decades challenge! If you’re new to the challenge, please check out this post for more details.
I thought it might be interesting and helpful to share a bit of background information about the Newbery Medal, especially since January is the month for the 1920s decade, which is the decade in which the Newbery awards began. This is from the ALA website:
The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year. On June 22, 1921, Frederic G. Melcher proposed the award to the American Library Association meeting of the Children’s Librarians’ Section and suggested that it be named for the eighteenth-century English bookseller John Newbery. The idea was enthusiastically accepted by the children’s librarians, and Melcher’s official proposal was approved by the ALA Executive Board in 1922. In Melcher’s formal agreement with the board, the purpose of the Newbery Medal was stated as follows: “To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children. To emphasize to the public that contributions to the literature for children deserve similar recognition to poetry, plays, or novels. To give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children’s reading interests, an opportunity to encourage good writing in this field.”
The Newbery Award thus became the first children’s book award in the world. Its terms, as well as its long history, continue to make it the best known and most discussed children’s book award in this country.
From the beginning of the awarding of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, committees could, and usually did, cite other books as worthy of attention. Such books were referred to as Newbery or Caldecott “runners-up.” In 1971 the term “runners-up” was changed to “honor books.” The new terminology was made retroactive so that all former runners-up are now referred to as Newbery or Caldecott Honor Books.
January’s Newbery Through the Decades Challenge book list is as follows:
1929 Medal Winner: The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly (Macmillan)
- Pigtail of Ah Lee Ben Loo by John Bennett (Longmans)
- Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág (Coward)–reviewed here at Hope Is the Word
- The Boy Who Was by Grace Hallock (Dutton)
- Clearing Weather by Cornelia Meigs (Little, Brown)
- Runaway Papoose by Grace Moon (Doubleday)
- Tod of the Fens by Elinor Whitney (Macmillan)
1928 Medal Winner: Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji (Dutton)–reviwed by Sherry at Semicolon
- The Wonder Smith and His Son by Ella Young (Longmans)
- Downright Dencey by Caroline Snedeker (Doubleday)
1927 Medal Winner: Smoky, the Cowhorse by Will James (Scribner)
- [None recorded]
1926 Medal Winner: Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman (Dutton)
- The Voyagers: Being Legends and Romances of Atlantic Discovery by Padraic Colum (Macmillan)
1925 Medal Winner: Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger (Doubleday)
- Nicholas: A Manhattan Christmas Story by Annie Carroll Moore (Putnam)
- The Dream Coach by Anne Parrish (Macmillan)
1924 Medal Winner: The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes (Little, Brown)–reviewed by Sherry at Semicolon
- [None recorded]
1923 Medal Winner: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (Stokes)
- [None recorded]
1922 Medal Winner: The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon (Liveright)
- The Great Quest by Charles Hawes (Little, Brown)
- Cedric the Forester by Bernard Marshall (Appleton)
- The Old Tobacco Shop: A True Account of What Befell a Little Boy in Search of Adventure by William Bowen (Macmillan)
- The Golden Fleece and The Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles by Padraic Colum (Macmillan)–reviewed by Sherry at Semicolon
- The Windy Hill by Cornelia Meigs (Macmillan)–reviewed by Sherry at Semicolon
The field is wide open for me because I’ve never read a single title from the 1920s. My priority title is going to be The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly, the 1929 Newbery Medal winner. I’ve wanted to read this one for a long time. If I have more time to devote to the challenge, I will also try to read The Windy Hill by Cornelia Meigs, a 1922 honor book.
If you’re looking for book reviews to decide which 1920s title you’d like to read, may I recommend The Newbery Project blog? On the righthand sidebar are links to Newberys listed by date. Also, Sherry’s Newbery Project posts are a good place to start. I also have a nice collection of Newbery reviews here at Hope Is the Word, but alas, none from the 1920s. (Edited to add: I’ve gone back and added in posts from both Semicolon and Hope Is the Word, since it turns out I have actually read one of these books after all.)
Link up your Newbery Through the Decades blog post below in the comments, or simply share what you’re planning to read in the comments.
Happy Newberying! 🙂