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.


2 Books Honored with The Newbery Medal or Honor in 1989

1989 – Newbery Honor

Scorpions (Anniversary)
by Walter Dean Myers

Publication Date:
List Price: $10.99
Format: Paperback, 224 pages
Classification: Fiction
Target Age Group: Young Adult
ISBN13: 9780064406239
Imprint: Amistad
Publisher: HarperCollins
Parent Company: News Corporation
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Read a Description of Scorpions (Anniversary)


Book Description: 

Now with extra material to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Scorpions!

Everyone is getting on Jamal’ss case. The kids at school are bugging him, his teachers won’st leave him alone, and the principal’ss always giving him a hard time. Even his mama yells at him, upset because Jamal’ss brother, Randy, is in jail. The only person he can count on now is his best friend, Tito.

But Crazy Mack wants Jamal to take over as the Scorpions’s leader and run crack. Jamal doesn’st want anything to do with gang life, but he doesn’st have a choice—it’ss the only way to get money for Randy’ss appeal. And as long as he’ss got Tito on his side, Jamal knows everything will be okay… .

When it was first published in 1988, Scorpions blew readers away. It continues to do so today. This special 25th anniversary edition contains the original Scorpions story, plus an extra Q&A with New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers.


1989 – Newbery Honor

In The Beginning: Creation Stories From Around The World
by Virginia Hamilton

Publication Date:
List Price: $20.00
Format: Paperback, 176 pages
Classification: Nonfiction
Target Age Group: Young Adult
ISBN13: 9780152387426
Imprint: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Parent Company: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Read a Description of In The Beginning: Creation Stories From Around The World


Book Description: 
A thought-provoking collection of twenty-five stories that reflect the wonder and glory of the origins of the world and humankind. With commentary by the author. “A must for mythology shelves.”—Booklist