1997 Newbery Medal and Honor Books

Medal Winner

the view from saturdayThe 1997 Newbery Medal winner is The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg (Jean Karl/Atheneum).

This is the second Newbery Medal for Konigsburg, who received both the Newbery Medal for From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and an honor book award for Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth in 1968.

She is the only author to have received both the medal and an honor book award in the same year.

In The View from Saturday , a special bond develops among the four sixth graders who, along with their teacher/coach, Mrs. Olinski, comprise a surprisingly--in fact amazingly--successful Academic Bowl team. "In no other book this year were the potentials of both heart and mind in children laid out with such persuasive clarity, and by an author displaying such total command of every tool in the writer's cabinet....a unique, jubilant tour de force" characterized by "good humor, positive relationships, distinctive personalities, and brilliant storytelling." --John Edward Peters, 1997 Newbery Committee Chair


Honor Books

a girl named disasterA Girl Named Disaster
by Nancy Farmer (Richard Jackson/Orchard Books)

When eleven-year-old Nhamo (Disaster) flees her native village in Mozambique, searching for her father in Zimbabwe, she is lost on the vast Lake Cabora Bassa. Alone except for the stories and spirits she carries in her heart, she survives harsh weather, wild animals, and near starvation before building a new life in the strikingly different world of her father's people.

"Farmer's brilliant insight into both the soul of a young woman and the soul of her Shona culture will open readers' eyes to the possibility of different ways of seeing."

  moorchild Moorchild
by Eloise McGraw (Margaret McElderry, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)

Moorchild Moql becomes the changeling Saaski, half-human, half-Folk, an outcast in both worlds. The readers is drawn into the lives of the moorfolk who fear Saaski; of Tam, who tries to understand her; and of Saaski's parents, who try to defend her from superstitious villagers.

"An exploration of the growing-up feeling of being different in the world. What sets this novel apart from so many others is the unique setting of Saaski's journey of self-discovery....lyrical in the depiction of the joys of the moor."

  the thief The Thief
by Megan Whalen Turner (Greenwillow Books, a division of William Morrow & Company)

Freed from the royal dungeons and commanded to steal an ancient talisman from supernatural guardians, boastful young Gen pulls off an astonishing scam, and in the process rescues his own small country from a threatened invasion.

"Just as Gen skillfully keeps his captors in the dark as he carries out his schemes, Turner leads the reader along with subtly placed clues and artful misdirection, culminating in a stunningly clever climactic twist."

  belle prater's boy Belle Prater's Boy
by Ruth White (Farrar Straus Giroux)

Gypsy's cousin Woodrow comes to live next door in Coal Station, Virginia, bringing with him the mystery of his mother's curious disappearance and, somehow, the key to a secret that Gypsy keeps from herself. Caring grandparents, Gypsy's supportive mother and concerned stepfather create a warm, loving environment in which the children can safely come to grips with their losses.

"The greatest strengths of this novel are the skillful character development and rich handling of the theme--initial impressions based on physical appearances often deceive...Rich with humor and warmth, an authentic first person narrative explores the mysterious place between childhood and adulthood."

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