Two-Time Newbery Honor Author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Happy Friday! I am launching my eighth annual Newbery series today. Hooray! 

Click here to watch the 2021 ALA Youth Media Awards press conference. 

I asked Tae Keller, Christina Soontornvat, Carole Boston Weatherford, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, and Erin Entrada Kelly to answer two questions and finish two sentence starters. First up is Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. 

Hello, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley!  Congratulations on winning a Newbery Honor for Fighting Words. As you know, I love hearing about the CALL. What was running through your heart when the Newbery committee was clapping and cheering for you?

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley: The call came on Sunday night. I didn't think the Newbery committee would call then (for TWTSML it was early Monday morning). We were watching the football playoffs and a call from Chicago popped up on my cell. Since my son lives in Chicago, and was over at a friend's house watching the game, I thought it was him using his friend's phone. The person on the other end said, "Kimberly?" which no one ever calls me, and when I said yes said, "This is NOT spam. This is the American Library Association." Turns out that's because Erin Entrada's spam filter wasn't letting their call through!

What does receiving a Newbery Honor for Fighting Words mean to you?

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley: So I had a moment of being completely stunned that it wasn't my son on the phone. And then all I felt was gratitude. Overwhelming gratitude, and joy. This book is about a topic many people are afraid to talk about, and I'm convinced that we must start talking about it. Recognition from the ALA and the Newbery Committee gives my book a wider and more lasting audience. Whatever impact Fighting Words might have has been magnified by this award. That means everything to me.

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Story is how we make sense of the world.

Librarians are radical keepers and speakers of the truth. I love them.

Thank you, Kimberly! 

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley lives on a forty-two-acre farm in Bristol, Tennessee. She is the author of several middle grade novels, including the widely acclaimed Jefferson’s Sons and the New York Times bestsellers The War I Finally Won and The War That Saved My Life, the latter of which earned a Newbery Honor and a Schneider Award.

Borrow Fighting Words from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

Penguin's Description:

Ten-tear-old Della has always had her older sister, Suki: When their mom went to prison, Della had Suki. When their mom’s boyfriend took them in, Della had Suki. When that same boyfriend did something so awful they had to run fast, Della had Suki. Suki is Della’s own wolf—her protector. But who has been protecting Suki? Della might get told off for swearing at school, but she has always known how to keep quiet where it counts. Then Suki tries to kill herself, and Della’s world turns so far upside down, it feels like it’s shaking her by the ankles. Maybe she’s been quiet about the wrong things. Maybe it’s time to be loud.

In this powerful novel that explodes the stigma around child sexual abuse and leavens an intense tale with compassion and humor, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley tells a story about two sisters, linked by love and trauma, who must find their own voices before they can find their way back to each other.


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