The John Newbery Medal has celebrated the most distinguished contributions to American literature for children since 1922. Named after 18th century British bookseller John Newbery, the Newbery Medal, or just Newbery, was proposed by the editor of Publisher's Weekly magazine, Frederic G. Melcher, in 1921. The medal's purpose is:
"To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children. To emphasize to the public that contributions to the literature for children deserve similar recognition to poetry, plays, or novels. To give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children's reading interests, an opportunity to encourage good writing in this field."
The Newbery Medal was the world's first children's book award, and it continues to be awarded annually. Notable past winners include The Giver by Lois Lowry (1994), A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle (1963), and The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (1923). Numerous winning books are now collectable. Many famous children's books didn't win including Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.
The 2023 winner is Amina Luqman-Dawson for Freewater. Amina's novel is about two enslaved children, Homer and Ada, who escape from a plantation. They discover a secret community in the swamp. It's a story of survival, adventure, friendship, and courage.