2003 Newbery Medal and Honor Books

2003 Medal Winner

Crispin: The Cross of Lead - book cover

The 2003 Newbery Medal winner is Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi  (Hyperion).

 “Crispin: The Cross of Lead,”published by Hyperion Books for Children, is an action-filled page-turner set in 14th-century England. “Asta’s son” is the only name the 13-year-old title character has ever known when he is suddenly orphaned and stripped of home and possessions. Accused of murder and wanted dead or alive, Crispin flees his village and falls in with a juggler, Bear, who becomes his protector and teacher. Relentlessly pursued by Crispin’s enemies, the pair flees to solve the mystery of his identity and fight the injustices of feudalism.

“Avi masterfully creates a plot that sustains tension and suspense from beginning to end, while seamlessly weaving in details of daily medieval life,” said Starr LaTronica, chair of the 2003 Newbery Award Selection Committee. “Readers experience Crispin’s surroundings through Avi’s sensory descriptions; they see, hear, smell, taste and feel his world. In the hands of a superb craftsman, ‘Crispin’is a fascinating coming-of-age novel that brings to readers a riveting adventure and invites them to consider how life hundreds of years ago echoes our contemporary search for freedom.”



2003 Honor Books

The House of the Scorpion - book coverThe House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (Atheneum)

Farmer tackles the provocative topics of cloning, the value of life, illegal immigration and the drug trade in a coming-of-age novel set in a desolate futuristic desert.


Pictures of Hollis Woods - book cover
Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff
(Random House/Wendy Lamb Books)

In “Pictures of Hollis Woods," the 12-year-old title character unfolds her story of foster care and a search for family in images from her sketchbook, which reveal both her memories and her artistic soul.


Hoot - book coverHoot by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf)

Hiaasen’s wildly funny satire features the new kid, Roy, joining forces with tough Beatrice and the elusive Mullet Fingers to defeat a bully, thwart an avaricious corporation and save a colony of burrowing owls.
A Corner of the Universe - book cover
A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin (Scholastic)

With the surprising arrival of a mentally disabled uncle, 12-year-old Hattie Owen’s world is turned upside down in “A Corner of the Universe.”
Surviving the Applewhites - book cover Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan (HarperCollins)

Tolan features pierced and spike-haired Jake, who has been expelled from every possible public school before his unwilling arrival at Wit’s End, N.C. and the homeschool run by the chaotic and outrageous Applewhite family.


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