The Newbery Medal for Best Children’s Book

From a Washington Post story by Christina Barron headlined “‘The Last Cuentista’ wins Newbery Medal for best children’s book”:

The Last Cuentista,” by Donna Barba Higuera, won the John Newbery Medal for Children’s Literature on Monday. The book, which blends science fiction and Mexican folklore, is the 100th book to receive the honor, considered the highest in children’s literature.

Runners-up, called Newbery Honor books, were “Red, White and Whole,” by Rajani LaRocca; “A Snake Falls to Earth,” by Darcie Little Badger; “Too Bright to See,” by Kyle Lukoff; and “Watercress,” written by Andrea Wang.

“The Last Cuentista” follows a girl named Petra Peña who flees Earth with a few hundred others as a comet is about to destroy the planet. The passengers sleep during the 300-year journey to a new planet. When Petra awakes, she discovers that those in charge have erased the travelers’ memories of Earth. Somehow she missed the reprogramming and aims to share the stories of the past to help the surviving humans move forward.

The book also won the Pura Belpré Award for the best book by a Latinx author.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal, given to the best picture book, was awarded to “Watercress,” illustrated by Jason Chin. The book is about a family stopping by the side of a road to pick an edible weed. It also won the Asian/Pacific American Award for best picture book. KidsPost chose “Watercress” as one of its top picture books for 2021.

The American Library Association, which sponsors or coordinates several youth media honors, made the announcements.

Among the other winners:

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre,” written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Floyd Cooper, won author and illustrator Coretta Scott King awards for books by African Americans.

“¡Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge,” by Raul the Third, won the Pura Belpré illustrator award. He won the award last year for “¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat.”

The Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature went to “Amina’s Song,” by Hena Khan.

The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal for best nonfiction book was awarded to “The People’s Painter: How Ben Sahn Fought for Justice With Art,” written by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Evan Turk.

Fox at Night,” by Corey Tabor, won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, the prize for most-engaging beginning reader’s book.

Find more of this year’s youth literature winners at the website,

Christina Barron is the editor of KidsPost, a section of The Washington Post for ages 7 to 13. She joined The Post in 2001 as a copy editor on the National Copy Desk. She later worked on the Features Copy Desk and was a reporter for KidsPost.

Also see the New York Times story by Elizabeth A. Harris headlined “Donna Barba Higuera Wins Newbery Medal for ‘The Last Cuentista'”

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