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 1996

1996 – Newbery Honor

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963
by Christopher Paul Curtis

Publication Date:
List Price: $7.99
Format: Paperback, 224 pages
Classification: Fiction
Target Age Group: Middle Grade
ISBN13: 9780385382946
Imprint: Yearling
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann
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Read a Description of The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963


Book Description: 
A wonderful middle-grade novel narrated by Kenny, 9, about his middle-class black family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Kenny’s 13-year-old brother, Byron, gets to be too much trouble, they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the one person who can shape him up. And they happen to be in Birmingham when Grandma’s church is blown up.