Best children’s book? Butler County school librarian had inside scoop

“The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barnhill won the 2017 Newbery Medal.

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“The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barnhill won the 2017 Newbery Medal.

A Butler County school librarian read more than 700 books last year as part of research to award a prestigious literary honor.

Elaine Fultz, a media specialist for Madison Local Schools, served on the Newbery Award Selection Committee for the 2017 awards. The committee annually determines the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

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Fultz was one of 15 people nationwide who decided “The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barnhill was the best children’s book of the year.

As part of her role, Fultz read more than 700 books in 2016, many of which will be added to the Butler County school district’s libraries for free.

MORE: Author’s journey to Newbery Medal took several detours

“This compassionate, hopeful novel invites children everywhere to harness their power, and ask important questions about what keeps us apart and what brings us together,” said Newbery Medal Committee Chair Thom Barthelmess in a statement.

Prior to working in Madison Local Schools, Fultz taught English in Centerville. She is a graduate of Wright State University and The University of Pittsburgh.

One of her all-time favorite books is "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll, according to her Madison Schools profile.

Previous Newbery winners include some classic books taught in local students such as:

  • "Holes" by Louis Sachar (1999)
  • "The Giver" by Lois Lawry (1994)
  • "Number the Stars" by Lois Lawry (1990)
  • "Sarah, Plain and Tall" by Patricia MacLachlan (1986)
  • "Jacob Have I Loved" by Katherine Paterson (1981)
  • "Bridge to Terabithia" by Katherine Paterson (1978)
  • "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" by Mildred D. Taylor (1977)
  • "Summer of the Swans" by Betsy Byars (1971)
  • "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle (1963)
  • "Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell (1961)

The Newbery Medal was named for 18th-century British bookseller John Newbery and has been awarded annually since 1922.