Newbery Medal

There was a debate on Neil Gaiman’s website last year, as to whether Neil would be eligible for the Newbery medal. Seeing as they’ve just given it to him, I’d guess Neil was correct in his assumption that he fulfilled the criteria. Resident in the US, I believe, but no need for citizenship.

Philip Pullman was asking about this on the Rutgers’ Child Lit list yesterday, but I assume without any expectation that he would ever be Newbery medalled. Apparently Philip is a fan of The Graveyard Book, so I’m in good company.

Another debate seems to be over giving the Newbery to someone as high profile as Neil, but you can’t always seek out the obscure and penalise the successful. Even JKR was awarded the odd prize in her time.

2 responses to “Newbery Medal

  1. Last fall, children’s literature specialist, Anita Silvey, wrote an article in School Library Journal, questioning the popularity of recent Newbery winners; later a number of newspapers, including the Guardian, had articles about this too. So understandably there is speculation given the book’s best seller status and Neil being a celebrity. Now I’m over the moon with happiness that The Graveyard Book was selected, but having served on the Newbery committee myself I can confidently state that neither had anything to do with it winning, only literary excellence. In fact, I’m delighted because in the US I suspect the book has been largely read by Neil’s adult and teen fans and the Newbery will (as it always does) draw younger readers in. (Of course, as it always does, some will be too young, but most will be like my fourth graders — it will be just right for them and they will adore it too).

  2. I hoped you’d be able to shed some inside light, Monica. Thank you.

    It’s funny how when authors are rich and famous there is an automatic assumption that their writing will not have merit on its own. Glad to hear you say that Neil will get new and younger readers after the medal. He and Terry Pratchett have so many adult fans that their children’s books get sort of hi-jacked.

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