John Newbery Medal Winning and Honored Books

The Newbery Medal or Honor Seal

First awarded in 1922, The John Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year. Virginia Hamilton, in 1975, was the first African American writer to win the medal. As of 2020, five African American writers have won the medal and 26 have been honored. Approximately a third of these honors were bestowed in the last 5 years. Learn more about this award at the ALA Website.

Below are the Newbery Winning and Honored books which were written by, or about, people of African descent.


One Book Honored with The Newbery Medal or Honor in 1948

1948 – Newbery Honor

The Cow-Tail Switch and Other West African Stories
by Harold Courlander

Publication Date:
List Price: $10.99
Format: Paperback, 143 pages
Classification: Fiction
Target Age Group: Middle Grade
ISBN13: 9780312380069
Imprint: Square Fish
Publisher: Macmillan
Parent Company: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck
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Read a Description of The Cow-Tail Switch and Other West African Stories


Book Description: 

"The stories of West Africa are about men and animals, about kings, warriors, and hunters. They tell about clever people and stupid people, about good ones and bad ones, about how things and animals got to be how they are. Sometimes they are just tall tales. There are stories about Frog, Rabbit, Turtle, Guinea Fowl, and all the other animals that West Africans know. Some of the stories make you think. Some make you laugh.
Here are some of the stories of the people of the forests, the seacoast, the hills, and the plains.
The people of West Africa give them to you."