Birbery Awards

  • Welcome to the 2018 Birbery!  We are excited to launch the 2018 Birbery and reveal the 10 Birbery books during the second week of November.   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's Faire in Middle School

    by Victoria Jamieson Year Published: 2017 Graphic Novel

    Homeschooled by Renaissance Fair enthusiasts, eleven-year-old Imogene has a hard time fitting in when her wish to enroll in public school is granted.

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  • Beyond the Bright Sea

    by Lauren Wolk Year Published: 2017 Mystery, Historical Fiction

    Crow has lived her entire on the Elizabeth Islands off the coast of Massachusetts. It isn’t until the night when a mysterious fire appears across the water that an unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart and an unstoppable chain of events is triggered.

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  • The Ethan I Was Before

    by Ali Standish Year Published: 2017 Realistic Fiction

    Ethan just wants to escape from painful memories of the accident that cost him everything. When he and his family move from Boston to Georgia, the last thing he expects is to make a new friend. That is, until he meets Coralee, a girl who may just give Ethan the second chance he needs. But Ethan isn’t the only one with secrets, and Coralee’s are catching up with her.

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  • Her Right Foot

    by Dave Eggers Year Published: 2017 Picture Book, Nonfiction

    In this fascinating and fun take on nonfiction, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris investigate a seemingly small trait of America’s most emblematic statue. What they find is about more than history, more than art. What they find in the Statue of Liberty’s right foot is the powerful message of acceptance that is essential of an entire country’s creation

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  • Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

    by Dusti Bowling Year Published: 2017 Realistic Fiction

    Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again. 

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    Last Day on Mars

    by Kevin Emerson Year Published: 2017 Science Fiction

    While waiting to leave Mars before it burns up just like the Earth before it, Liam and Phoebe will make a series of profound discoveries about the nature of time and space and find out that the human race is just one of many in our universe locked in a dangerous struggle for survival. 

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  • Refugee

    by Alan Gratz Year Published: 2017 Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction

    Although separated by continents and decades, Josef, a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany; Isabel, a Cuban girl trying to escape the riots and unrest plaguing her country in 1994; and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015 whose homeland is torn apart by violence and destruction, embark on harrowing journeys in search of refuge, discovering shocking connections that tie their stories together. 

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  • Scar Island

    by Dan Gemeinhart Year Published: 2017 Adventure

    Twelve-year-old Jonathan Grisby has been sent to the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys, a former lunatic asylum which is currently run by a warden who enjoys punishing the boys and setting them against each other; but when a lightning strike kills all the adults the boys find themselves suddenly free—and trapped on Scar Island, which seems to be sinking into the ocean. 

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  • See You in the Cosmos

    by Jack Cheng Year Published: 2017 Science Fiction

    Eleven-year-old Alex Petroski, along with his dog, Carl Sagan, makes big discoveries about his family on a road trip and he records it all on a golden iPod he intends to launch into space. 

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  • Tumble & Blue

    by Cassie Beasley Year Published: 2017 Fantasy

    I order for Tumble Wilson and Blue Montgomery to fix their ancestors’ mistakes and banish the bad luck that has followed them around for all of their lives, they must face Munch, the mysterious golden alligator who cast the curse centuries ago.

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  • Calendar

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    November 10
    Book checkout begins

    January 3
    Book Club: Her Right Foot and Refugee

    January 10
    Book Club: All's Faire in Middle School and Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

    January 17
    Book Club: The Ethan I Was Before and Scar Island

    January 24
    Book Club: See You in the Cosmos and Last Day on Mars

    February 7
    Book Club: Beyond the Bright Sea and Tumble & Blue

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

    February 13
    Quiz Bowl at BCS

    February 16
    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 November 6th through November 9th during an assembly and/or academic labs.

    Then, students can begin to check out the books beginning at 8am on Friday, November 10th.

    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 requirements 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 11.
    3. Attend 2 or more book clubs during lunch.


    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 11.
    3. Attend 2 or more book clubs during lunch.
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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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