Mock Newbery Awards


2022 Anderson's Mock Newbery Votes Are In!

Chunky Cover

Chosen by our Mock Newbery Student Readers 

by Yehudi Mercado


Honor Books

1. Born Behind Bars, Padma Venkatraman
2. Starfish, Lisa Fipps
3. Amari and the Night Brothers, B.B. Alston
4. The Last Cuentista, Donna Barba Higuera
5. The Insiders, Mark Oshiro


Congratulations to all our Mock Newbery student readers. Students at all 8 participating schools read nearly 1500 books. Thank you to the educators, staff, and volunteers at our participating schools.




The 2022 Mock Newbery List - Reviewed and chosen by our amazing YA/Childrens team.


Every fall, we create a list of the 25 books we think should be considered as candidates for the Newbery Award, the highest honor in American literature for young people.The real Newbery Award was chosen and announced on January 24, 2022, and every year we love to see how our list compares to the list chosen by the Newbery Committee!

We use our knowledge of the books and that of all the many educators, publishers, authors, and reviewers to develop our annual list. The Mock Newbery List of 2022 will be the program’s 26th year.  



Anderson's Mock Newbery Candidates 2022


Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston.  Thirteen-year-old Amari, a poor African American girl from the projects, gets an invitation from her missing brother to join the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs and join in the fight against an evil magician. Grades 3-6. 

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda P. Dobbs. Based on a true story, the tale of one girl's perilous journey to cross the U.S. border and lead her family to safety during the Mexican Revolution. Grades 5-8.

Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo.  From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo and two-time Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall comes a fantastical meditation on fate, love, and the power of words to spell the world. Grades 3-6.

Born Behind Bars by Padma Venkatraman. Gripping novel set in Chennai, India, featuring a boy who’s unexpectedly released into the world after spending his whole life in jail with his mom.  Grades 5-8.

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera.  When a powerful desert spirit kidnaps her sister, Cece Rios must learn forbidden magic to get her back. Grades 5-8.

Chunky by Yehudi Mercado.  In this own voices, middle grade graphic memoir, Yehudi Mercado draws inspiration from his childhood struggle with his weight while finding friendship with his imaginary mascot, Chunky, as he navigates growing up in a working-class Mexican-Jewish family. Grades 3-6.

Cuba in My Pocket by Adrianna Cuevas. A sweeping, emotional middle grade historical novel about a twelve-year-old boy who leaves his family in Cuba to immigrate to the U.S. by himself. Grades 3-6.

Da Vinci’s Cat by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. Using a mysterious wardrobe that allows them to travel through time, two eleven-year-olds, Federico, a boy from the Italian Renaissance, and Bee, a girl from present-day New Jersey, work together to prevent two great artists from changing the future. Grades 3-6.

Healer of the Water Monster by Brian Young.  A novel inspired by Navajo culture follows the experiences of a boy whose summer at his grandmother's reservation home is shaped by his uncle's addictions and an encounter with a sacred being from the Navajo creation story. Grades 5-8.

The Insiders by Mark Oshiro.  Fleeing from bullies, twelve-year-old Hector Munoz discovers a magical closet that not only provides him sanctuary but also unites him with two other kids facing similar problems at their own schools, helping them find friendship and strength in each other.  Grades 3-6.

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera.  Pura Belpré Honor-winning author Donna Barba Higuera presents a brilliant journey through the stars to the very heart of what makes us human.  Grades 5-8.

The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor.  Part historical fiction, part magical realism, and 100 percent adventure. Thirteen-year-old Mei reimagines the myths of Paul Bunyan as starring a Chinese heroine as she works in a Sierra Nevada logging camp in 1885. Grades 5-8. 

Linked by Gordan Korman.  When swastikas begin appearing all over town, Link, Michael, and Dana, the only Jewish girl in town, must face crimes both past and present to find the truth.  Grades 5-8.

Loteria by Karla Arenas Valenti.  While searching for her missing cousin, a young girl is transported to a mythical kingdom, becoming entangled in a perilous game of chance. Based on the Loteria card game.   Grades 3-6.

Maya and the Robot by Eve L. Ewing. An illustrated middle grade novel about a forgotten homemade robot who comes to life just when aspiring fifth-grade scientist Maya needs a friend—and a science fair project. Grades 3-6.

Once Upon a Camel by Kathi Appelt.  In 1910, Zada the camel treks across the West Texas desert to save two baby kestrels from an approaching haboob, a mountain-sized storm, sharing adventures from her youth in Turkey to keep them calm. Perfect for fans of One and Only Ivan.  Grades 3-6.

Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland. In her middle grade debut, Ireland writes a sweeping tale of the ghosts of our past that won’t stay buried, starring an unforgettable girl named Ophie. Grades 3-6.

Playing the Cards You’re Dealt by Varian Johnson. Award winning author, Varian Johnson, explores themes of toxic masculinity and family legacy in this heartfelt, hopeful story of one boy discovering what it really means to be a man. Grades 3-6.

Sea in Winter by Christine Day.  In this evocative and heartwarming novel, the author of I Can Make This Promise tells the story of a Makah/Piscataway girl struggling to find her joy again and the family who will protect her no matter what happens.  Grades 3-6.

The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga.  Estranged from the best friend whose brother killed her sister in a school shooting, a grieving Cora receives a message on her twelfth birthday from her friend, asking for her help with creating a time portal to prevent the tragedy. Grades 5-8. 

Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia L. Smith.  In this magical, modern twist on Peter Pan, stepsisters Lily and Wendy are spirited away to Neverland by a mysterious boy and must find a way back to the family they love.  Grades 3-6.

Starfish by Lisa Fipps. Bullied and shamed her whole life for being fat, twelve-year-old Ellie finally gains the confidence to stand up for herself, with the help of some wonderful new allies. Grades 5-8. 

Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff. A haunting ghost story about navigating grief, growing up, and growing into a new gender identity. Grades 5-8.

Unsettled by Reem Faruqi. A stirring, hopeful immigration story of Nurah and her family, who move from Karachi, Pakistan, to Peachtree City, Georgia. Grades 5-8.

Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero by Saadia Faruqi.  A powerful and relevant story from the author of A Thousand Questions, about friendship, pride, grief, and standing up for what is right.  Grades 5-8.

Participation and Voting Information

To participate in voting, schools must purchase the complete mock set or partial set (15 books) from Anderson’s. Special discounts apply. 
Our voting will take place in January, prior to the Newbery Award announcement at ALA’s LibLearnX Conference. Voting instructions and ballots to follow. 

Please contact us for more information or to place your order.


Naperville: Lorie Barber ,

Downers Grove:  Kathleen March,  




Anderson's Bookshops Mock Newbery Award Choices That Became Actual Newbery Winners in January 2021:

The 2021 Newbery Winner: 

Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Honor Books (in winning order)

1. Wink, Rob Harrell
2. When Stars are Scattered, Victoria Jamieson
3. From the Desk of Zoe Washington, Janae Marks
4. Black Brother, Black Brother, Jewell Parker Rhodes
5. Ways to Make Sunshine, Renee Watson


Congratulations to all our Mock Newbery student readers. Students at all 8 participating schools read nearly 1500 books. Thank you to the educators, staff, and volunteers at our participating schools.