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Newberry Books and Summaries

Newberry Books and Summaries

The book Literature and the Child gives a concise overview of juvenile literature’s contribution and how it contributes to the development of literature in the classroom. According to the authors Galda et al. (2016), juvenile books contribute to the growth of literature because they are used to teach literature to young children. These books are developed to attract the child’s attention; therefore, the language used is straightforward to maintain the child’s interests. As such, Newberry books aim to persuade, inform, and entertain the child while helping them learn literature. Children’s literature comprises books, stories, magazines, and poems created for children. Today, these books have greatly improved in incorporating learners’ individual differences by differentiating the needs of varied children based on age and level of the child, hence incorporating picture books for very young children to young adult fiction. Juvenile literature books are critical for children’s development, especially among those in preschool age. This is because, at this stage of life, children have limited engagements in social contexts. Therefore, reading books acts as a way to prepare young children for future interactions in real-life situations. They learn language, cognitive and social skills, and emotional development by reading books. Additionally, Newberry books help children develop their vocabulary and increase their skills in language development, hence understanding how language is applied in varied contexts. Therefore, this paper aims to review five Newberry Award Books by summarizing their content.

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A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger, 2021

A Snake Falls to Earth is a Newberry Award Book for children aged 12 years and above. The book was authored in 2021 by Darcie Little Badger and published by Amazon Publishers. This indigenous futurism book uses the traditional Lipan Apache storytelling structure to weave stories about monsters, magic, and family. The story revolves around the book’s main character, Nina, a Lipan girl. She always felt like there was something more out there and, therefore, decided to quench her curiosity (Badger, 2021). Another child, Oli, is a cottonmouth child from the world of spirits and monsters. Just like Cottonmouths, he has been cast out from his home. As he loiters out there, he finds his new home on the banks of the bottomless lake. Nina and Oli have yet to learn that the other exists. As they continue their adventures, a strange sickness falls on earth, taking a toll on Oli’s best friend. As a result of the sickness, Oli and his best friend meet. The story revolves around two worlds that draw into fairy tales and folklore, helping to draw the child’s nostalgia while reading the story. This gives a chance for the reader to delve into exciting fantasy and get the connection between the two separate worlds.

Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff, 2021

Too Bright to See is another standard Newberry Award Book for children aged ten and above. The book was authored by Kyle Lukoff in 2021 and published by Dian Books Publishers. The book has won various awards, with Newberry Honor being one of the awards the author has received for his exemplary work. It tells the story of Bug, a transgender boy who lives in a haunted house, and he tries to understand the message of a ghost who tries to send him messages. The story begins when the boy is grieving after losing his uncle, grappling with grief, friendship, and identity. Bug lives in a haunted house, but the ghosts did not bother him when his uncle was alive (Lukoff, 2021). When the ghost begins haunting Bug, he experiences nightmares, which gives him a reason to search for answers on who is haunting him. The story sheds light on the plight of gendered stereotypes as young people strive to illuminate how to identify with the existing discomfort.

Watch Out for the Crocodile by Louise Ellis-Barrett, 2014

The Newberry Award-winning book Watch Out for the Crocodile by Louise Ellis-Barrett was published in 2014 by The School Librarian. This is a delightful story about a father and daughter’s trip into the wilderness. The story aims to shed light on how children can create adventurous opportunities, hence helping parents see the world differently. Little Tora goes on a trip with her father, and the goal of this trip is to trek, camp, and view animal-spotting areas. Before starting the journey, Tora had to lay down specific rules for her dad. One such rule was that ‘no drinking coffee or talking on mobile phones would be allowed during this adventure’ (Ellis-Barrett, 2014). At the beginning of the trip, Tora and her father buy supplies at a local supermarket to sustain them during the journey to the forest. All along, Tora and her dad sink into their imagination, thinking about when they will see wild animals and make memorable adventures. Ellis-Barrett won the Newberry Award following the book Watch Out for Crocodile because he delivered a lovely narrative that parents and their children could use as bonding literature during outings and other trips. The books help children to grow their imagination. For example, the author narrates how Tora saved her dad from their encounter with the crocodile. The more children read this book, the more creative they become by growing their curiosity about knowing more, helping shape their language acquisition.

The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat, 2022

The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat is a Newberry Award-winning book recommended for children aged nine and above. Unlike the other family members, the story revolves around Cordelia Hatmaker’s father, who is missing at the sea. This is a story about geography and explorers. The author recalls her encounter with space exploration as she seeks information about her unknown identity and the truth about her past. Twelve-year-old Sai is from the Marshy Fens, an area whose residents are looked down upon (Soontornvat, 2022). People like Sai constantly come into contact with deadly situations in their quest for livelihood. They are discriminated against in the society due to their low financial status. However, they still work hard and become successful in life. The book, therefore, creates awareness in children of the importance of hard work and determination. Despite one coming from a humble background, that does not mean they will remain the same forever.

The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sís, 2014

The Pilot and the Little Prince is a beautiful children’s story with valuable life lessons. It is a story that recounts the life of an aviator and a little boy from a distant planet. Both the characters are stranded in the desert, finding ways to get back home. The book revolves around topics surrounding the essence of humanity and grabs the reader’s attention by arousing their curiosity and imagination to see the meaning of life. At the story’s beginning, the narrator complains about how adults fail to understand what is essential in life. To test their understanding, he shows them a picture of a boa that has eaten an elephant. However, when they claim the image looks like a hat, they understand that they have lost their imagination. The narrator, an aviator, experiences difficulties in life when his plane crashes in the Sahara Desert (Stevenson, 2014). While there, he meets the prince, a young boy with golden hair and a sense of curiosity. Surprisingly, when the narrator shows the prince the same picture, he can interpret the elephant devouring boa correctly. The book teaches children to apply their senses to find meaning in life experiences. According to the narrator, imagination is more important than knowledge, and it is only through imagination that people find meaning in life experiences. The story is also valuable because it warns children against bad habits. For example, the narrator says, “Ego, vanity, bad habits, and mindless following lead to people succumbing to these challenges” (Stevenson, 2014). On the contrary, he urges children to stay humble and curious and constantly reflect on their lives. The prince and the fox formed an incredible bond, and when it was time to leave, the fox cried (Stevenson, 2014). Therefore, this is to teach people that it is only with the heart that we can see rightly what is invisible to the eye.


In summary, all these Newberry Award-winning books are important in helping children develop their literature-reading skills. By engaging learners in reading these books, teachers can help them break into new realms of creativity with their personal writing, reading, and thinking skills. Additionally, since these books utilize a variety of skills, including pictures and colors, they attract the child’s curiosity, helping them develop their reading skills while still young. Lastly, these books are important sources of information for children because they empower them with life lessons and warnings, shaping their behavior patterns as they grow up.


Badger, D. L. (2021). A Snake falls to earth. Chronicle Books.

Ellis-Barrett, L. (2014). Watch out for the crocodile. The School Librarian62(2), 105.

Galda, L., Liang, L. A., & Cullinan, B. E. (2016). Literature and the child. Cengage Learning.

Lukoff, K. (2022). Too bright to see. Penguin.

Stevenson, D. (2014). The pilot and the little prince: The life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sís. Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books67(11), 596-596.

Soontornvat, C. (2022). The Last Mapmaker. Candlewick.


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Newberry Books and Summaries

Newberry Books and Summaries

Select 5 Newberry Award Books and read them. For each selection, include the title, author, and publication date (if you have it). Below that provide a simple one paragraph summary of the book.

Put together a simple title page (name, date, course number). Begin your summaries on a separate page. Make sure that your assignment is typed, using 12 size Times New Roman font.

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