100 Scope Notes
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The Newbery Seal Lineup

It’s book fair time at two of the elementary schools where I work. While perusing the “Summer Reading” table (related aside: when did “summer reading” become synonymous with “Newbery winner”?) something caught my eye. There were five paperback Newbery winners on the table, and every one of them displayed their medal in a different way. Let’s take a look…

Exhibit A:

This version, on Dear Mr. Henshaw, is the one I’m most familiar with – a straight-up photo of the medal. Classy.

Exhibit B:

This variation, on Island of the Blue Dolphins, was completely new to me. While it looks like a sticker, it’s actually an embossed, plastic-coated, copper-colored number.

Exhibit C:

Number the Stars sports an illustrated re-creation of the real thing, or as I like to call it, a mock Newbery.

Exhibit D:

The parade of variants continues on Bridge to Terabithia. This, I believe, is a photo of the Newbery seal that typically appears on the hardcover. And finally…

Exhibit E:

Dang, if Newbery seals were cars, this would be a 2010 Lincoln Towncar. Fancy. Foiled out and embossed (yet smaller than the others) this one is trying to make a statement.

Any to add to this list?

For further examination, I suggest these two Newbery seal must-reads:

Sunday Brunch with Multicolored Medals at Collecting Children’s Books. A history of the seal.

How do Caldecott and Newbery winning books get their shiny stickers? at Wizards Wireless. The seal from a booksellers perspective.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Great post, Travis and thanks for the shout out. I know you and I are both obsessed with the stickers. =)
    Here’s another thing to try. Pull all the different versions of a single book… Wrinkle in Time for example, and see how they’ve done the Newbery in each edition.
    Personally, I think the real sticker for at least a few years, and then after that, a great photograph (some are really bad quality). The publishers have to pay people to stick on the stickers, and it’s silly for them to do that if the book remains in print forever (as all Newbery winners do.)

  2. At work we received a new copy of Island of the Blue Dolphins. The Newbery sticker was lovely and embossed, but it was smacked on wily-nily and upside down! Not cool.

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