Bestselling Book Wins the Newbery!

The Newbery and Caldecott Awards are known for making best sellers, but this year’s Newbery winner achieved that status months before the award. Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, went to #1 on the NYT Children’s Hardcover list in September and, as of the 2/1 list, is at #7 after 16 weeks.

Nonetheless, the Newbery announcement caused an immediate jump in sales rankings for the book, lifting it from #222 to #15, the book’s best ranking on Amazon to date.

Even though he’s already a bestselling author, Gaiman was hardly blasé about the win (cue Meryl Streep at the SAG Awards), as reflected on his blog.

If you haven’t already read The Graveyard Book, you don’t want to fight your customers for it, so check out Gaiman’s wonderful reading of the entire book on his Web site. 

The Graveyard Book
Gaiman, Neil 
  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: $17.99; 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (September 30, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0060530928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060530921
  • eBook Download: OverDrive
  • Audio: $29.95; Unabridged, 7 CDs
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • ISBN-13: 9780061551895


On the other hand, the Caldecott winner, The House in the Night, was at a lowly #56,289 on Amazon before the announcement and rose to #31 immediately after. It was well-reviewed prepub (SLJ said, presciently, “It…has all the hallmarks of a classic that will be loved for generations to come”) and is owned in modest quantities (2 copies per largest branches) in large library systems. Many libraries are ordering additional copies.


The House in the Night
Swanson, Susan Marie

Illustrator —  Krommes, Beth

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover: $17; 40 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children; (May 5, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0618862447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618862443


The Printz winner, Jellicoe Road, experienced an even more dramatic jump, from from #157,589 to #209 on Amazon. The prepub reviews were admiring, but a common theme is that it will not appeal to all YA’s. SLJ says it’s for “patient, thoughtful” teens; VOYA for “sophisticated teens.” Booklist thinks it might be “offputting to younger teens” and Kirkus fears it may leave many “dizzy and disoriented.” 

Significantly, the only unequivocal recommendation comes from the Best Teen Fiction for Adults, by Angelina Benedetti, in Library Journal, (Benedetti also recommended The Graveyard Book in the same story).

Jellicoe Road
Marchetta, Melina 
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: $17.99; 432 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (August 26, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0061431834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061431838
A full list of all the winners and honorees is available at the ALSC Web site.
The awards will be featured on the Today Show tomorrow morning.

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