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The Newbery Medal is given yearly by the Association for Library Service for Children, a division of the American Library Assocation. It is named for eighteenth century British bookseller John Newbery, and is given to the author of the book the group determines has made the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
The Newbery Award was the first children's book award in the world, and has been awarded since 1922. The purpose of the medal was stated: "To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children. To emphasize to the public that contributions to the literature for children deserve similar recognition to poetry, plays, or novels. To give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children's reading interests, an opportunity to encourage good writing in this field."
The ALSC also sometimes recognizes other books. These books are termed Newbury Honor Books.