Dead Ends and Stalin's Nose: The 2012 Newbery Medal Winners

The 2012 Newbery Medal winner and other honored books were announced last week. The American Library Association awards the Newbery Medal in recognition of what it deems the most distinguished contribution to children's literature each year. 'Dead End in Norvelt' is this year's winner, while 'Inside Out & Back Again' and 'Breaking Stalin's Nose' are the runners-up.

Find available tutors

Jack Gantos dead end in norvelt newberry

Dead End in Norvelt Wins the Medal

Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos, won the 2012 Newbery Medal, which was announced on January 23rd. The book, which blends fact and fiction, describes an adventurous two months in the life of a boy named Jack Gantos. Jack is loaned out by his parents to an elderly neighbor and expects nothing more than boring chores. Instead, he is pulled into a bizarre world of Hells Angels, Girl Scout cookies, Eleanor Roosevelt and, maybe, murder.

Gantos was previously a finalist for the National Book Award for Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key. His memoir Hole in My Life won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert honors. He credits his interest in a writing career to reading his sister's diary when he was in sixth grade and believing he could writer better than her.

thanhha lai inside out and back again newberry

Inside Out & Back Again Honored

Inside Out & Back Again, by Thanhha Lai, was named as a runner up for the Newbery Medal. Based on the author's own experiences, this novel begins as the Vietnam War forces Ha's family to flee Saigon. They end up in Alabama, where the cultural differences are shocking to the girl. Over the course of a year, Ha struggles to find her way in the strange, new world.

Inside Out & Back Again also won the 2011 National Book Award. It's told in a series of short, free-verse poems that are highly accessible to young readers. Despite the harrowing aspects of the story, it contains unexpected humor that will entertain and captivate readers.

Eugene Yelchin Breaking Stalin

Breaking Stalin's Nose an Additional Honoree

Eugene Yelchin's Breaking Stalin's Nose is also a runner-up for the Newbery Medal. The story follows Sasha Zaichik, a loyal 10-year-old Communist in the Soviet Union during Stalin's reign. Sasha is excited to join the Soviet Young Pioneers, but the day he's eagerly waited for since age six goes horribly awry.

Sasha throws a snowball that breaks a classmate's glasses. Then he breaks a bust of Stalin at his school. Even worse, his father gets arrested despite being an exemplary Communist in Sasha's eyes.

The book, which includes black and white illustrations, is not Russian-born Yelchin's first award winner. In 2010, a picture book he illustrated, Rooster Prince of Breslov, won the National Jewish Book Award. Yelchin also received a Tomie de Paola award for his illustrations.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    Why Do Parents Prefer Paper Books Over E-Books?

    In most cases, sales of e-books for the iPad, Kindle, Nook and other digital platforms are skyrocketing. In some categories for adult books, e-books comprise a full 25% of sales. Yet this isn't the case with children's books. E-books aimed at children under eight years old have stagnated at just five percent. Here's a look at...

  • More Blog Articles
    Unbanning Books, Sort Of

    Banning books that are deemed controversial is a practice that school libraries can't seem to move past. Among others, Kurt Vonnegut's 'Slaughterhouse-Five' is no stranger to such bans. Yet a Missouri school board recently voted to unban the book after banning it just months before, raising the question of whether the bans are...

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth