Marblehead Librarian Helps Decide 2022 Newbery Award Winning Books

Photo: Brooke McCarthy / WBZ NewsRadio

MARBLEHEAD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Though its programs are on hiatus while renovations get underway, one of the employees at the Abbot Public Library in Marblehead participated in the 15-member selection committee to pick 2022's Newbery Honor and John Newbery Medal winners.

Director of Abbot Public Library Kimberly Grad sat on the committee and told WBZ's Brooke McCarthy that this year's winner of the John Newbery Medal was Donna Barba Higuera's The Last Cuentista, a dystopian novel about a 12-year-old's odyssey to a new planet, who's carrying her grandmother's Mexican folklore to share with the future of humanity.

"The Newbery Award is designed to be selecting the most distinguished piece of children's literature, I think anytime you see the gold or silver seals on a book you know you can trust it's been well selected and that it's worth reading," Grad said.

According to the American Library Association, the Newbery Award originated in 1921 when Frederic Melcher proposed an annual award be created for children books published the preceding year, something he suggested be named after the eighteenth-century English bookseller John Newbery.

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Grad says she read over 300 books last year, sifting through all types of children's literature to find the best selections for the awards. Grad says she looked for stories that were well-rounded, not just at the plot and characters, when considering which book should receive the award.

"It was incredibly rewarding to be able to do that, and to just have a year's worth of literature to consider— I always had something to read," Grad said.

Grad says The Last Cuentista hit all the marks, and made for the "most distinguished" children's book of 2022.

"With immersive world building, this novel explores what it means to be human and has the staying power to inspire long after we are gone," Grad said.

WBZ's Brooke McCarthy (@BrookeWBZ) reports.

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