"The Crossover" by Kwame Alexander was awarded the Newbery Medal for 2015. Almost a century earlier, in 1922, "The Story of Mankind" by Hendrik Willem van Loon won the very first Newbery Medal.
In the U.S., the Newbery and the Caldecott Medals are regarded as the two most prestigious awards in children's literature. Awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, the John Newbery Medal is given to the author of "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." Named for an 18th century English publisher, the Newbery Medal is the oldest children's book award in the world.
In 1934, "Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women" by Cornelia Meigs was awarded the Newbery Medal. This was a biography of the illustrious 19th century author Louisa May Alcott.
"The Door in the Wall" by Philadelphia-area author Marguerite de Angeli was given the Newbery Medal in 1950.
"Sounder," the young adult novel by William H. Armstrong, tells the tale of an African-American boy living with his sharecropper family. The book gained the Newbery Medal in 1970. "Sounder" was adapted into a major motion picture in 1972 starring Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield.
"Summer of the Swans" by Betsy Byars won the Newbery award in 1971. The story covers a girl's desperate search to find her missing, mentally-handicapped brother.
"Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" by Mildred D. Taylor captured the 1977 Newbery Medal. A sequel to Taylor's 1975 novella "Song of the Trees," "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" addressed racism in America during the Great Depression years.
"Maniac Magee" by Jerry Spinelli won the award in 1991. This young adult book explores the themes of racism and homelessness.