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The 2012 John Newbery Medal Winner

And the 2012 Newbery Honor Books


Cover of Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, 2012 Newbery Medal Winner

Farrar Straus Giroux
On January 23, 2012, at the Midwinter meeting of the American Library Association (ALA), the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA announced the winner of the prestigious 2012 John Newbery Medal for children's literature. Two 2012 Newbery Honor Books were also recognized.

The 2012 John Newbery Medal Winner

Jack Gantos won the John Newbery Medal for his novel Dead End in Norvelt. (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011. ISBN: 9780374379933) Compare prices. Read librarian Jennifer Kendall's book review of Dead End in Norvelt.

According to the official announcement of the award, "The importance of history and reading (so you don’t do the same 'stupid stuff' again) is at the heart of this achingly funny romp through a dying New Deal town. While mopping up epic nose bleeds, Jack narrates this screw-ball mystery in an endearing and believable voice." (Source: 1/23/12 ALA press release)

Jack Gantos was actually raised in Norvelt, Pennsylvania. "I love that little town, I love the history of that town, and I love the values that were built into that town,” he says. “I try not to over-detail the history, but I do spell out the values of that town, and of course the book is just shot through with humorous scenes, one after another after another." (Source: 1/26/12 Publishers Weekly)

Jack Gantos has also been recognized with the 2012 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction for Dead End in Norvelt. In 2010, The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) honored Jack Gantos as the ALAN award winner for his contributions to adolescent literature.

Gantos received a 2001 Newbery Honor for Joey Pigza Loses Control and 2003 Printz and Sibert Honors for Hole in My Life. Hole in My Life, Gantos's own gritty life story, is on teen librarian Jennifer Kendall's list of recommended Contemporary Biographies, Autobiographies and Memoirs for Teens.

2012 Newbery Honor Books

  • Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, 2011. ISBN: 9780061962783)

    The author was born in Vietnam and moved to Alabama in 1975 after fleeing Vietnam with her family. Her book is based on her own and her family's experiences. "[Ten-year-old] Hà and her family flee war-torn Vietnam for the American South. In spare yet vivid verse, she chronicles her year-long struggle to find her place in a new and shifting world." (Source: 1/23/12 ALA press release) Thanhha Lai also received the 2011 National Book Award for Young People's Literature for Inside Out & Back Again. Compare prices.
    Read the review of Inside Out & Back Again.

  • Breaking Stalin’s Nose written and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin (Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2011. ISBN: 9780805092165)

    "On the eve of his induction into the Young Pioneers, Sasha’s world is overturned when his father is arrested by Stalin’s guard. Yelchin deftly crafts a stark and compelling story of a child’s lost idealism." (Source: 1/23/12 ALA press release) Compare prices.

More Newbery Resources

For more information, including the selection criteria, read my article The John Newbery Medal. The Newbery award winners are generally excellent books for middle grade readers (somewhere in the grade 4-8 range). Two recent examples are Moon Over Manifest, for which Clare Vanderpool received the 2011 John Newbery Medal, and When You Reach Me, for which Rebecca Stead received the 2010 Newbery Medal. For information about all the books and authors recognized in the last few years, see All About the 2011 Newbery Medal Winner and Honor Books, All About the 2010 Newbery Medal Winner and Honor Books and All About the 2009 Newbery Medal Winner and Honor Books.

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