BLOG > ‘A Big Responsibility’: Tommy Greenwald On Not Winning The 2016 Newbery Medal (Or Any Other Medal, For That Matter)

‘A Big Responsibility’: Tommy Greenwald On Not Winning The 2016 Newbery Medal (Or Any Other Medal, For That Matter)

Author Tommy Greenwald was just going about his morning routine, brushing his left lower molars, when the phone rang. “Honestly, I wasn’t really thinking about the Newbury at that point,” Greenwald explained over the phone. “In fact, I totally forgot it was being given out.” It wasn’t until he heard the voice on the other end of the phone – an old friend named Brian Newberry, asking him if he wanted to come over to watch the NFL playoffs – that Greenwald realized it was really true. He had just not won the Newbury Medal. “It took a while to sink in, believe it or not,” said Greenwald. “About two or three seconds. The first thing I did was tell my wife. She shrugged. Then I texted my agent, of course, to share the non-news, but I haven’t heard back.” There was a pause, while Greenwald checked his phone. “Hmmm. Still nothing. Oh, well.” When asked if he realized the significance of being the 48,384,852,585th author to not receive the coveted award, Greenwald let out a deep breath. “Of course I do,” he said. “It’s a big responsibility. I just hope I can live up to all those who came before me.” Before hanging up the phone, we asked the semi-successful author what he planned on tackling next. “I’m going to get right back to work,” Greenwald said, sounding up for the challenge. “If I play my cards right, we might be right back here next year, having the same conversation.”


  1. January 12th, 2016

    Joe Finkelstein

    You are up for the ’16 Finkelstein Award. Congrats

  2. January 13th, 2016

    Ms. Yingling

    The Newbery is never a reflection of what middle grade readers enjoy reading. Would you rather be the author of something that makes them enthusiastic about reading, or the author of something teachers love to foist on students? The shiny medal is nice, but I think you should feel better about the effect your books have on students.

  3. January 21st, 2016


    Congratulations on your non-win! Great idea for a library display, and I will, of course, continue to feature multiple copies of Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading in my Purrfect Picks collection! Keep the good stuff coming! Newbery is nice, but it’s rarely about books kids love. Kids love YOUR books!

  4. February 1st, 2017


    i just wanna say thanks! my kid was so impossible
    that when it was story time, he hid from me. now he will only read if it’ s about charlie joe. when he read the last book he wanted more. so in favor can you write more? and congrats! i think you were awsome!

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