Saturday, November 17, 2012

Newbery Medal and Honor Books 1931

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The first Newbery Medal and Honor Books were named in 1922.

Following are the winners of the Medal and the books honored from 1931. I've included the synopsis of each just in case it's a book you've been looking for and didn't remember the title.

Images from wikipedia unless otherwise noted.

1931 Medal Winner

Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth (Macmillan)
The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth
A poor artist in ancient Japan gets a commission to paint a masterwork for a temple. He is aided and inspired by a strange cat that his housekeeper brings home. He decides to break Buddha's prescription and add cat to mural. Monks go nuts, cat works miracle and restores reputation of cats.

Honor Books:

Floating Island by Anne Parrish (Harper)
Floating Island by Anne Parrish
A family of dolls is stranded on a deserted island where every member has a small-scale adventure. The dolls are en route by boat to a little girl when the ship they are being transported on hits rough seas and sinks. One by one, the family is washed up on various parts of the islands. They interact with the flora and fauna in the oddest ways. Parrish uses this tactic to throw in italicized type on the bottom of the page to explain to kids what is happening and to share the real names of plants and animals.

The Dark Star of Itza: The Story of a Pagan Princess by Alida Malkus (Harcourt)
The Dark Star of Itza the Story of a Pagan Princess by Alida Malkus
Source: google
A Mayan maiden whose father is the high priest in 12th century Chitzen Itza becomes involved in romantic and political intrigue as warring kings attack each other.

Queer Person by Ralph Hubbard (Doubleday)
Queer Person by Ralph Hubbard
Source: goodreads
A 4-year-old Indian boy wanders into a village of Plains Indians who take years to accept him because he is deaf and mute, thus the name Queer Person. The boy is assumed to have been marked by evil spirits so no one is willing to adopt the child. Eventually, an old medicine woman who has fallen upon hard times lets the boy live with her. She raises him to manhood after predicting greatness which she uses all her powers to ensure. The boy is a fit recipient for her attention because he becomes both brave and wise, winning the hand of the chief's daughter through an extraordinary act of courage.

Mountains Are Free by Julie Davis Adams (Dutton)
Mountains are Free by Julie Davis Adams
Source: goodreads
A Swiss boy comes of age as his country attempts to free itself in the 14th century from the harsh reign of the Hapsburg emperor. Bruno is adopted by William Tell, an icon in the Swiss independence movement. The lad realizes what a burden he will be to his new family so he sells his services to a cruel knight, who takes the boy into the heart of the Hapsburg empire. The boy makes a few good friends, including a minstrel and princess who escape with him back to Switzerland, where they participate in the rebellion.

Spice and the Devil's Cave by Agnes Danforth Hewes (Knopf)
Spice and the Devil's Cave by Agnes Danforth Hewes
Source: goodreads
The incredible, lethal rivalry between Arab traders, the city-state of Venice and struggling nation of Portugal to dominate the spice trade in Asia is brought to melodramatic life by the author. It seems remarkable to modern ears, but Diaz, de Gama and Magellan were all tooling around Lisbon at the same time. They all had their eyes on eternal fame, and if it took a trip to the unknown (a voyage around the tip of Africa and into the Indian Ocean) and a hold full of spice to earn the golden ring, so much the better. Hewes brings these fellows to life even though they often take a backseat to the relationship between a lovely lost girl and the transplanted Venetian who loves her. Hewes also throws in a rather pointed subplot about the Jewish contributions to European culture and finance and the shoddy treatment Jews received from the leaders of Portugal and Spain.

Meggy MacIntosh: a Highland Girl in the Carolina Colony by Elizabeth Janet Gray (Doubleday)
Meggy MacIntosh by Elizabeth Janet Gray
Source: goodreads
Meggy MacIntosh had a gentle manner and an adventurous spirit inherited from her father who had fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie. But there was no adventure in Edinburgh where Meggy was the neglected ward of her titled uncle, so she ran away to North Carolina to find her heroine, the celebrated Flora MacDonald. Meggy reached the Carolinas in March 1775 where she finally meets the Highlanders of her dreams.

Garram the Hunter: A Boy of the Hill Tribes by Herbert Best (Doubleday)
Garram the Hunter: a boy of the Hill Tribe by Herbert Best
Source: goodreads
A taciturn boy living among an African highland tribe grows to manhood under harsh conditions.  Garram is the son of his tribe's chief and show great promise in a variety of survival skills, but his road to success is anything but easy. Garram is universally respected because he says very little, but when he does talk or act, he does so with bravery and extreme honesty.

Ood-Le-Uk the Wanderer by Alice Lide; Margaret Johansen (Little, Brown)
Ood-Le-Uk the Wanderer by Alice Lide; Margaret Johansen
Source: goodreads
A timid Eskimo boy with a yearning for adventure develops courage as he wanders around land and water near the Bering Strait. Ook-Le-Uk is the son of a chief who runs a coastal village in Alaska, circa 1600. He approaches every task with equal amounts of fear and resignation but rises to the occasion time and again. Bad luck sends him across the strait to Siberia, where he has many adventures while becoming a confident young man. Eventually he returns to his village as a great success, but the wanderlust never fades.

Newbery Medal and Honor Books 1922

Newbery Medal and Honor Books 1923 -1928

Newbery Medal and Honor Books 1929 -1930

Have a terrific weekend.
Talk to you soon,


  1. I haven't read any of these- but they sound interesting. I will have to check them out! Thanks!

    1. My pleasure, Stephanie. Thank you for coming by :)

  2. I really enjoyed this post, thank you.

    1. You're very welcome, Barbara. It's so nice to see you.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...