Birbery Awards

  • Welcome to the 2017 Birbery!  We are excited to launch the 2017 Birbery and reveal the 10 Birbery books on December 15, 2016.   On this page, you can view summaries of the books, learn a little more about the program, and scroll way down to submit your reviews to qualify for exciting program opportunities!
  • All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

    by Leslie Connor Year Published: 2016
    Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth--and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. 
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  • Freedom Over Me

    by Ashley Bryan Year Published: 2016
    Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Bryan’s poems contrast the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.
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  • Ghost

    by Jason Reynolds Year Published: 2016
    Ghost has a crazy natural talent, but no formal training. If he can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all starting with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who is determined to keep kids from blowing their shots at life.
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  • Ghosts

    by Raina Telgemeier Year Published: 2016
    Catrina and her family have moved to the coast of Northern California for the sake of her little sister, Maya, who has cystic fibrosis--and Cat is even less happy about the move when she is told that her new town is inhabited by ghosts, and Maya sets her heart on meeting one.
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  • It Ain't So Awful, Falafel

    by Firoozeh Dumas Year Published: 2016
    Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block . . . for the fourth time. California's Newport Beach is her family's latest perch, and she's determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name--Cindy. It's the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces can't distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home. 
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  • Pax

    by Sara Pennypacker Year Published: 2016
    Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter's dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.  At his grandfather's house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn't where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.  Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own.
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  • Secret Keepers

    by Trenton Lee Stewart Year Published: 2016
    When Reuben discovers an extraordinary antique watch, he soon learns it has a secret power and his life takes an intriguing turn. At first he is thrilled with his new treasure, but as one secret leads to another, Reuben finds himself torn between his innately honest nature and the lure to be a hero.  Now he is on a dangerous adventure as he races to solve the mystery before it is too late. 
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  • The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle

    by Janet Fox Year Published: 2016
    Twelve-year-old Kat and her siblings are sent to live at Rookskill Castle, a drafty old Scottish castle-turned-school where she and her siblings have been sent to escape the London Blitz. What's making those mechanical shrieks at night? Why do the castle's walls seem to have a mind of their own? And who are the silent children who seem to haunt Rookskill's grounds? Kat believes Lady Eleanor, who rules the castle, is harboring a Nazi spy. But when her classmates begin to vanish, one by one, Kat must face the truth about what the castle actually harbors--and what Lady Eleanor is--before it's too late.
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  • The Wild Robot

    by Peter Brown Year Published: 2016
    Roz the robot discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island with no memory of where she is from or why she is there, and her only hope of survival is to try to learn about her new environment from the island's hostile inhabitants.
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  • Wolf Hollow

    by Lauren Wolk Year Published: 2016
    Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby's strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.
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  • Calendar

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    December 16 
    Book checkout begins

    January 24
    Book Club: "The Importance of Illustrations" featuring Freedom Over Me and Ghosts

    January 31
    Book Club: "I Survived: Wilderness Edition" featuring Wild Robot and Pax

    February 8
    Book Club: "Not So Long Ago..." featuring It Ain't So Awful, Falafel and Wolf Hollow

    February 14
    Book Club: "Courage to be Me" featuring Ghost and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

    February 15
    Book Club: "Magical Adventures" featuring Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle and Secret Keepers

    February 24
    Requirements for participation must be met by 11:59pm

    March 1 
    Quiz Bowl at BCS

    March 10
    Committee Meeting at Baldwin Library

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  • What is the Birbery?

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    The Birbery is a reading program designed by Birmingham Media Specialists for all Birmingham Public School 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.  It is a “Mock Newbery” program. The real Newbery is an award given each year in January for “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children in the preceding year.” The BPS Media Specialists chose ten books that they believe are front-runners for the real Newbery Award. 

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  • How does the program work?

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    We begin by introducing the program and the  books to students on Thursday, December 15, during an assembly or academic labs.

    Then, students can begin to check out the books beginning at 8am on Friday, December 16.

    This is an optional program where students can read and review as many of the 10 Birbery books as they choose.  Students who meet the reuirements detailed below come to the Quiz Bowl on March 1 during school, where the 10 book readers answer game-show style questions about the books. Students who are 5+ book readers get to watch.  Everyone votes on BCS’s favorite Birbery book.  Plus, everyone gets fed lunch and snacks, too!

    Finally, the top 5 scorers of the Quiz Bowl form the BCS branch of the Birbery Committee. The committee members from each middle school are picked up by a limo from school on March 10 and taken to Baldwin Library to meet.  They eat a catered lunch and discuss the books to decide on the Birbery Award winning book of the year.

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  • What are the requirements to participate?

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    To compete in the Quiz Bowl (and enjoy a delicious lunch):

    1. Read all 10 Birbery books.
    2. Review all 10 books on the Media Center website by February 24.
    3. Attend 2 or more book clubs during lunch (schedule coming in January).


    To watch the Quiz Bowl (and eat the food, too!):

    1. Read 5 or more Birbery books.
    2. Review those 5+ books on the Media Center website by February 24.
    3. Attend 2 or more book clubs during lunch (schedule coming in January).
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  • When are the book clubs?

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    The book clubs will be held during lunches in January and February.  The exact dates for the bookclubs are listed in the calendar above.  Remember, students who wish to participate as an audience member or a contestant in the Quiz Bowl must attend at least 2 of the 10 book clubs!

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  • Contact

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    If you have any additional questions, please contact Ann Truesdell at

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