100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Breakdown: The National Book Award/Newbery Overlap

I had a good time last week looking at the Best Illustrated/Caldecott overlap (tip o’ the hat to @muellerspace). I thought it would make sense to look at the Newbery side of things – specifically how finalists in the Young People’s Literature category of the National Book Award (NBA) fare in the Newbery race. I perused the last 10 years of data and here’s what I saw:

The above chart is a chart of the overall number of National Book Award Young People’s Literature finalists, by year*, that went on to win either a Newbery Honor or Newbery Medal. Below is a list of the titles of those books.

Honor | Medal

2004: None

2005: None

2006: None

2007: None

2008: The Underneath

2009: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

2010: One Crazy Summer

2011: Inside Out and Back Again

2012: Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

2013: None (Note: While not named a NBA finalist, Newbery Medal winner Flora & Ulysses was on the NBA long list)

2014: ???

Some observations on the last 10 years of data:

  • 0 NBA finalists have gone on to win the Newbery Medal in the last decade. The last NBA finalist to win the Newbery Medal was Holes by Louis Sachar, published in 1998
  • 50% of the time, a NBA finalist has gone on to win a Newbery honor.
  • Perhaps the NBA list is becoming a better predictor of Newbery? In the last six years five NBA finalists have won a Newbery Honor.
  • The new NBA long list will likely increase the overlap – last year’s long list contained the book that went on to win the Newbery Medal (Flora & Ulysses)

Looking at this year’s National Book Award finalists in Young People’s Literature, Brown Girl Dreaming, Revolution, and Port Chicago 50 seem to all have a solid shot at Newbery. The 2014 National Book Awards will be announced on November 19.

(*Due to the fact that the Newbery Medal is always awarded in January for the previous year’s books, it doesn’t match up with the year of the National Book Award. For example, The Underneath was a 2008 NBA finalist, but won a 2009 Newbery Honor.)

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. It’s interesting that, even if you go back to the previous iterations of the award, there have only been two books besides HOLES that won both the NBA and the Newbery: A GATHERING OF DAYS, and M.C. HIGGINS THE GREAT (which also won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and is the only book ever to take that particular triple crown). It’s almost surreal how little overlap there is in terms of winners — Katherine Paterson won two Newbery Awards and two NBAs — for four separate titles.