Five Newbery Predictions

My five-year record is slightly better for Newbery than Caldecott: five out of 25 predictions. I love the title of my post in 2018: “Five books I’d like to get a Newbery–and why I am probably wrong about just about all of them” (I should have left out the “just about”). With all these lists, I always enjoy hearing your ideas in the comments!

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender

Published by Scholastic

King and the Dragonflies: Callender, Kacen: 9781338129335: Books

Having already won a Boston Globe/Horn Book Award and the National Book Award, King and the Dragonflies is likely to pick up a few more awards in January, including possibly the Newbery. It wasn’t a top favorite of mine, but I understand the book’s importance (middle grade novel with a gay black male protagonist), and I’d be remiss not to put it on my predictions list.

Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros

Published by Quill Tree Books

Efrén Divided: Cisneros, Ernesto: 9780062881687: Books

Ernesto Cisneros really hit one out of the park with his debut novel. Efrén is such a likeable, believable character, and his situation (undocumented parents, mom deported) is one all American kids should be aware of. I know this won’t influence the Newbery committee, but I love that cover! Also a likely contender for the Pura Belpré award.

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

Published by Dial Books

When Stars Are Scattered: Jamieson, Victoria, Mohamed, Omar, Jamieson,  Victoria, Geddy, Iman: 9780525553908: Books

The graphic memoir of two Somali brothers who spent much of their childhood in a Kenyan refugee camp…okay, I’ll admit it’s a long shot (especially when a graphic novel won the Newbery last year), but if I had to pick a favorite book from 2020, this would probably be it. And it was a National Book Award finalist, so one never knows.

We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly

Published by Greenwillow Books

We Dream Of Space: 9780063057807: Books

Erin Entrada Kelly masterfully weaves together the three third-person voices of siblings Bird, Fitch, and Cash during the weeks leading up to the 1986 Challenger explosion. Kelly won the 2018 Newbery for Hello, Universe; personally I enjoyed We Dream of Space even more.

A Game of Fox & Squirrels by Jenn Reese

Published by Henry Holt and Co.

A Game of Fox & Squirrels: Reese, Jenn: 9781250243010: Books

There were quite a few books dealing with child abuse this year, and if I’m being completely honest, probably Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is a more likely winner. But there was something about Jenn Reese’s book that really won me over. Her approach to the subject was so unique, and the way she let the horror unfold, so subtle, that I’m choosing her for a place on my list.

One thought on “Five Newbery Predictions

  1. Excellent predictions! I, too, hope that A Game of Fox & Squirrels wins. Fighting Words is a wonderful book, but Reese’s book resonated with me the most and was very unique. I also loved how she seamlessly blends fantasy and reality in such a seamless way.
    I also loved Everything Sad is Untrue, by Daniel Nayeri.


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