Newbery Roundup! The 1960s

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.


The Newbery Medal has been given out annually since 1922, and many of the recipients have been favorites ever since!


Here is the fourth set of winners, from 1960-1969. Have you read any of them?

1960 — "Onion John" by Joseph Krumgold

The story of a friendship between a 12-year-old boy and an immigrant handyman, almost wrecked by the good intentions of the townspeople.


1961 — "Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell

In the Pacific there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea. Around it, blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea elephants and sea birds abound. Once, Indians also lived on the island. And when they left and sailed to the east, one young girl was left behind. This is the story of Karana, the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Year after year, she watched one season pass into another and waited for a ship to take her away. But while she waited, she kept herself alive by building shelter, making weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs. It is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery.


1962 — "The Bronze Bow" by Elizabeth George Speare

He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. —from the Song of David (2 Samuel 22:35)

This gripping, action-packed novel tells the story of eighteen-year-old Daniel bar Jamin — a fierce, hotheaded young man bent on revenging his father’s death by forcing the Romans from his land of Israel. Daniel’s palpable hatred for Romans wanes only when he starts to hear the gentle lessons of the traveling carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth. A fast-paced, suspenseful, vividly wrought tale of friendship, loyalty, the idea of home, community... and ultimately, as Jesus says to Daniel: “Can’t you see, Daniel, it is hate that is the enemy? Not men. Hate does not die with killing. It only springs up a hundredfold. The only thing stronger than hate is love.” A powerful, relevant read in turbulent times.


1963 — "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle

It was a dark and stormy night. Out of this wild night, a strange visitor comes to the Murry house and beckons Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O'Keefe on a most dangerous and extraordinary adventure — one that will threaten their lives and our universe.


1964 — "It's Like This, Cat" by Emily Neville

Dave Mitchell and his father disagree on almost everything — and every time their fighting sets off his mother’s asthma, Dave ends up storming out of the house. But when Dave meets a big, handsome tomcat, he decides to bring him home, no matter what his father has to say about it. With adventure-loving Cat around, Dave meets lots of new people — like Tom, a young dropout on his own in the city, and Mary, the first girl he can talk to like a real person. And as his eyes open to those around him, Dave starts to understand his father a little better. They still don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, but there is one thing they can both agree on: Having a cat can be very educational — especially when it’s one like Cat.


1965 — "Shadow of a Bull" by Maia Wojciechowska

Manolo Olivar was the son of his father. Which may not seem like a necessary thing to say. But in Manolo's case it is. For his father had been Juan Olivar, the greatest bullfighter in all Spain. And Manolo was his son in two special ways: one, he looked just like his father; and two, everyone expected that he, Manolo Olivar, would repeat the success of his father, would be just what his father had been — a fighter of bulls and a killer of death


1966 — "I, Juan de Pareja" by Elizabeth Borton de Treviño

Told through the eyes of Velazquez's slave and assistant, this vibrant novel depicts both the beauty and the cruelty of 17th century Spain and tells the story of Juan, who was born a slave and died a respected artist.


1967 — "Up a Road Slowly" by Irene Hunt

After her mother's death, Julie goes to live with Aunt Cordelia, a spinster schoolteacher, where she experiences many emotions and changes as she grows from seven to eighteen.


1968 — "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" by E.L. Konigsburg

When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere — to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing her younger brother Jamie has money and thus can help her with a serious cash-flow problem, she invites him along. Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at auction for a bargain price of $225. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master, Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn’t it? Claudia is determined to find out. Her quest leads her to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue, and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself.


1969 — "The High King" by Lloyd Alexander

When the sword of Dyrnwyn, the most powerful weapon in the kingdom of Prydain, falls into the hands of Arawn-Death-Lord, Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, and Prince Gwydion raise an army to march against Arawn's terrible cohorts. After a winter expedition filled with danger, Taran's army arrives at Mount Dragon, Arawn's stronghold. There, in a thrilling confrontation with Arawn and the evil enchantress Achren, Taran is forced to make the most crucial decision of his life. Book 5 of The Chronicles of Prydain.

Some of these books are available at the Swanton Public Library. If you are interested in reading one that we don't have, we can definitely order a copy!

We'll continue rounding up the Newbery Medal winners by decade until we reach today. Stay tuned!

Descriptions adapted from GoodReads.

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