Newbery Medalist Kelly Barnhill

My heart is happy for Kelly Barnhill, Ashley Bryan, Adam Gidwitz, and Lauren Wolk. I have not stopped smiling for them since the ALA Youth Media Awards press conference ended last week. 

Click here to watch the ALA Youth Media Awards webcast. 
I asked Kelly Barnhill, Ashley Bryan, Adam Gidwitz, and Lauren Wolk to answer two questions and finish two sentence starters.

Today is Newbery Medalist Kelly Barnhill's turn to shine. Many, many, many thanks, Kelly! 

Congratulations, Kelly! 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 clapping and cheering for you?  

Kelly Barnhill: First thought: "I think they have the wrong number." Honest to god. I don't know how long I talked to the librarians, though I do remember that they were all super nice. I know for sure that I was utterly incoherent and just uttered a bunch of sounds and syllables that only vaguely resembled English (to be fair, they did wake me up from a very, very deep, deep sleep). What I do remember saying and thinking was the following: "How is this possible?" over and over and over again. And it's what I still am thinking now. How is this possible? I still don't rightly know the answer.

What does the Newbery mean to you? 

Kelly Barnhill: For me, the Newbery is not the award itself, but rather it's the people in that room, who, for the months prior and for those hours and hours during the conference, pour their hearts and souls and minds into vigorous analysis, careful criticism, and the intellectual rigor of evaluating and discussing each precious book, point by point by point. That, for me, is the highest kind of praise — that assertion that children's literature matters, that childhood matters, that the stories that carry us through childhood to adulthood matter, and we can demonstrate that level of honor by bringing to it the fullness of Mind and Intellect and Critical Thinking.

Please finish these sentence starters: 

Reading is… I've said this before and I'll say it again: Reading is an act of radical empathy — by shedding my skin and bones and experience and taking on the skin and bones and experience of another, I am forced to confront the limitations of my own point of view. And even more, I am offered an opportunity to see, for once and for all, that each one of us is more than ourselves: we are creatures of Earth, and creatures of Mind, and creatures of Spirit, and creatures of Ideas. The soul, while immutable, is also transferable —and the mechanism for that transfer is through Story. It's a pretty neat trick, when you think about it.

School libraries are part sanctuary, part laboratory, part university, part launch pad; every library on earth is a multiverse — truth inside of truth, story inside of story, idea inside of idea —which is to say, infinite.

Borrow The Girl Who Drank the Moon from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


  1. She does beautiful interviews, too . . .xx

  2. This book had me at the cover and title, then the story held my heart and hasn't let go :) It is SO deserving of the Newbery :D :D :D


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