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PBS 4th-graders pre-empt today’s Newbery Medal presentation with their own awards

Michael Lavigne Jr., Communications Manager

The American Library Association today announced the winners of the John Newbery Medal, the Randolph Caldecott Medal, and a host of other annual awards at its Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado. 

Congratulations to Erin Entrada Kelly, the author of Newbery Medal winner Hello, Universe – as well as to Newbery Honor Book authors Derrick Barnes (Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut), Jason Reynolds (Long Way Down) and Reneé Watson (Piecing Me Together). You can read about all of the awards presented today on the ALA’s website.

Covers of the 2018 Newbery Medal-winning book and the three Newbery Honor Books

Covers of the 2018 Newbery Medal-winning book and the three Newbery Honor Books

This fall and winter, our 4th-grade reading club, led by PBS Librarian Maeve Knoth, undertook the process of awarding their own version of the Newbery Medal. During their lunchtime meetings, they discussed a slate of ten books selected by Ms. Knoth; their discussions culminated in an award process that mirrored the exacting process by which the actual Newbery Medal is awarded.

After rounds and rounds of voting and persuading – including a stretch during which it seemed like no medal would be awarded – the 4th-graders ultimately awarded their mock-Newbery Medal for 2018 to Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. They also named two mock-Newbery Honor Books for 2018: A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold and Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder.

Covers of the 4th-graders’ mock-Newbery Medal-winning book and their two mock-Newbery Honor Books

Covers of the 4th-graders’ mock-Newbery Medal-winning book and their two mock-Newbery Honor Books

At lunch on Friday, February 2, the 4th-grade reading club held a celebration honoring their selected winners and the full slate of amazing books they’d read. During their celebration, which featured snacks made by some of the club members, students completed their reading chart, showing which of the nominated books they’d read.

The 4th-grade’s 2018 mock-Newbery Medal nominee slate is below:

Michael Lavigne Jr. joined the PBS team as Communications Manager in 2016 after serving in a similar role at St. James’ Episcopal School in Los Angeles. He cut his professional teeth at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Conn., his high school alma mater. Michael is also a karaoke and musical theater enthusiast. (Musical-theater karaoke might be his favorite.)

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