Newbery Honor Author Amy Timberlake

What an amazing week this has been for children's literature. I don't think I have stopped smiling since Monday morning.

I asked two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo (Flora and Ulysses) and Newbery Honor authors Holly Black (Doll Bones), Kevin Henkes (The Year of Billy Miller), Amy Timberlake (One Came Home), and Vince Vawter (Paperboy) the same three questions. I shared Kate's responses yesterday. 

Today's special guest is Amy Timberlake. Congratulations, Amy! 

One Came Home by Amy Timberlake | Knopf | 2014 Newbery Honor Book 

Mr. Schu: Everyone loves hearing about THE CALL. What ran through your head when the phone rang? What were you thinking about when the Newbery committee was laughing and clapping?  What did you do after you hung up the phone?

Amy Timberlake: Oh I am so excited about this honor for ONE CAME HOME. YAY!!!

I’m writing this on Day Four – yes, I’ve been counting days since it happened – and it’s STILL sinking in. Let’s ignore what this says about my psyche. (I solemnly promise to make an appointment with a therapist if it continues for a full two weeks.)

About the call: I can’t believe I nearly said, “But I didn’t write a science book.”

Since I’ve already posted my experience with the call on my website – and since I won’t be able to tell the story any better, I’ll send you there. It’s the story of a robust and healthy mental condition known as “Denial.” (And with photos!) Here’s the link

Mr. Schu: What does the Newbery mean to you? 

Amy Timberlake: The first thing that popped in my head? “A good book.” I guess I’m answering that question as if I were still a kid. I have clear, childhood memories of going into my library – the public one and the one in my elementary school – and coming across those medals on the covers of books. When I did, I’d think ‘This is going to be a good book.’ What I meant was that it was a good story, and good stories were the ones that you got lost in, where whole chunks of days were simply gone.

My brother hated it when I was reading books because he couldn’t get my attention. He’d stand right in front of me, call my name again and again and again, and I wouldn’t hear him. Okay, I was probably ignoring him. But it wasn’t hard work to ignore my brother if I was reading a Newbery book, a.k.a. “a good book.”

(By the way, I need to say that even as a kid I knew that there were many, many, MANY non-Newbery books that were “good books.” I read lots and lots and lots of them! It’s just that the Newbery medal helped me spot “a good book” across the room. If I saw the medal, I didn’t even care what the cover looked like.)

I cannot believe ONE CAME HOME gets one of those medals. That’s NUTS. (There’s that denial again…)

Wow! Thank you to you and the committee, John! You’ve given ONE CAME HOME quite an honor. Because of that medal, more kids will read the book. Every writer hopes to find readers, so I’m very grateful. Thank you! 

Mr. Schu: Please finish this sentence starter:

Reading is fun. I love to read -- there’s nothing better!

Thank you, Amy! 

 Leigh Courtney created a discussion guide for One Came Home. 

I highly recommend spending a few hours exploring Amy's website

"How to Make Passenger Pigeon Pie Like Someone From 1871" by Amy Timberlake

Amy Timberlake wrote a guest post for Colby Sharp's blog

I am giving away a copy of One Came Home

Rules for the Giveaway 

1. It will run from 2/2 to 11:59 p.m. on 2/3. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 

Borrow One Came Home from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


  1. Hooray for this award winning book, totally thrilled, a favorite of mine this past year!


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