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 2021, five African American writers have won the medal and 27 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 1983

1983 – Newbery Honor

Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush
by Virginia Hamilton

Publication Date:
List Price: $8.99
Format: Paperback, 224 pages
Classification: Fiction
Target Age Group: Young Adult
ISBN13: 9780380651931
Imprint: Amistad
Publisher: HarperCollins
Parent Company: News Corporation
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Read a Description of Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush


Book Description: 
Why had he come to her, with his dark secrets from a long-ago past? What was the purpose of their strange, haunting journeys back into her own childhood? Was it to help Dab, her retarded older brother, wracked with mysterious pain who sometimes took more care and love than Tree had to give? Was it for her mother, Vy, who loved them the best she knew how, but wasn’t home enough to ease the terrible longing?Whatever secrets his whispered message held, Tree knew she must follow. She must follow Brother Rush through the magic mirror, and find out the truth. About all of them.

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