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Everyone who writes children’s or YA lit wants to win a Newbery. That’s the pearl. But what’s the formula?

Of course we know there isn’t one. Not exactly. And we also know we need to write the story we want to write, not the story some algorithm tells us should be written.

Even so, length is a pretty standard tool to compare books. We shouldn’t compare this way, but we do. I’ve wasted hours upon hours looking up word counts. I made a list a while ago with word counts for some of the classics and some of my favorite fantasy and sci-fi books.

Now I’ve done the same thing again, this time with the word counts of nearly 100 winners of the Newbery Medal. I want to share what I’ve found so that you won’t waste time looking yourself. Here are the numbers all in one place (I’ve bolded some of the most famous). Now you won’t need to scour the web to find them again.

Word Counts of Newbery Medal Winners

  • The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds – 5,700
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan – 8,400
  • The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth – 11,100
  • Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz – 12,500
  • The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman – 13,300
  • The White Stag by Kate Seredy – 14,400
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander – 16,900
  • Missing May by Cynthia Rylant – 17,500
  • Dear Mr. Henshaw by Bevery Cleary – 18,100
  • Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry – 19,300
  • Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse – 19,800
  • Daniel Boone by James Daugherty – 19,900
  • Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson – 20,500
  • The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman – 21,600
  • Sounder by William H. Armstrong – 22,700
  • Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey – 24,000
  • The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars – 25,200
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate – 26,300
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry – 27,200
  • The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli – 27,600
  • Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman – 28,200
  • A Gathering of Days by Joan W. Blos – 28,800
  • Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor – 29,600
  • A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck – 29,800
  • The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron – 30,000
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg – 30,100
  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo – 32,400
  • Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates – 32,700
  • Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wajciechowska – 32,700
  • Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo – 32,800
  • Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark – 32,800
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson – 32,900
  • King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry – 33,000
  • It’s Like This, Cat by Emily Cheney Neville – 33,600
  • The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois – 33,600
  • A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park – 33,700
  • Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright – 34,200
  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli – 35,400
  • Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George – 36,000
  • Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski – 37,300
  • Gay-Neck: The Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji – 38,700
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead – 39,300
  • The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox – 40,200
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George – 40,400
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell – 40,500
  • The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg – 42,700
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry – 43,600
  • Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata – 44,300
  • I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino – 44,500
  • Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer – 46,200
  • Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson – 46,900
  • Holes by Louis Sachar – 47,100
  • Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi – 48,200
  • Criss Cross by Lynne Rae – 48,200
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – 50,000
  • Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt – 50,600
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – 51,000
  • Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink – 51,700
  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis – 52,200
  • Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson – 52,600
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien – 53,800
  • Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs – 55,200
  • The Grey King by Susan Cooper – 55,800
  • And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold – 56,000
  • Carry on, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham – 56,700
  • Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes – 56,900
  • Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray – 57,400
  • Onion John by Joseph Krumgold – 58,400
  • The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric Kelly – 59,300
  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech – 59,400
  • Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis – 59,700
  • Tales from Silver Lands by Charles J. Finger – 59,800
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare – 60,000
  • Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field – 63,400
  • The High King by Lloyd Alexander – 65,500
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor – 65,600
  • The Wheel on the School by Meindert De Jong – 66,500
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – 67,400
  • The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare – 68,200
  • M.C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton – 69,500
  • The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting – 73,100
  • Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt – 73,500
  • Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos – 73,600
  • Smoky the Cow Horse by Will James – 78,600
  • Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool – 81,400
  • Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes – 83,100
  • Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith – 86,300
  • The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley – 87,400
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