Dust Off the Gold Medal: Rediscovering Children's Literature at the Newbery Centennial

Sara L. Schwebel (Editor), Jocelyn Van Tuyl (Editor)

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


The oldest and most prestigious children’s literature award, the Newbery Medal has since 1922 been granted annually by the American Library Association to the children’s book it deems "most distinguished." Medal books enjoy an outsized influence on American children’s literature, figuring perennially on publishers’ lists, on library and bookstore shelves, and in school curricula. As such, they offer a compelling window into the history of US children’s literature and publishing, as well as into changing societal attitudes about which books are "best" for America’s schoolchildren. Yet literary scholars have disproportionately ignored the Medal winners in their research. This volume provides a critically- and historically-grounded scholarly analysis of representative but understudied Newbery Medal books from the 1920s through the 2010s, interrogating the disjunction between the books’ omnipresence and influence, on the one hand, and the critical silence surrounding them, on the other. Dust Off the Gold Medal makes a case for closing these scholarly gaps by revealing neglected texts’ insights into the politics of children’s literature prizing and by demonstrating how neglected titles illuminate critical debates currently central to the field of children’s literature. In particular, the essays shed light on the hidden elements of diversity apparent in the neglected Newbery canon while illustrating how the books respond—sometimes in quite subtle ways—to contemporaneous concerns around race, class, gender, disability, nationalism, and globalism.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages280
ISBN (Electronic)9780367337223
ISBN (Print)9780367337216, 9781032048093
StatePublished - Aug 21 2021

Publication series

NameChildren's Literature and Culture


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